Lakeside Welcomes New Chautauqua Worship Music Coordinator

Posted on June 12, 2013

Michael J. Shirtz joins the Lakeside Chautauqua staff as the new Chautauqua Worship Music Coordinator.                              

Originally from Marquette, Mich., Shirtz began his musical career while in high school leading everything from small house bands for dinner clubs to variations of big bands and jazz combos. He is now an active jazz singer/pianist, composer, choral conductor and music educator.

As the Chautauqua Worship Music Coordinator, Shirtz is responsible for the planning and conducting of music for Sunday Hoover Worship at 10:30 a.m. He will conduct our own Chautauqua Choir, as well as bring in guest choirs and soloists for the Hoover Worship. He will also oversee the planning of music for other worship events including Dockside Worship, Evening Prayer & Praise and Chaplain’s Hour.

“The staff and the Lakeside Chautauqua Board’s Religious Life Advisory Team feel privileged to have Michael Shirtz coordinating the music for our worship programs,” explains Shirley Stary, vice president of Programming. “He is a very talented and passionate musician himself, and has a large network of musicians and singers from which to recruit special music for Sunday Hoover Worship. We see this as the continuation of a very beneficial collaboration between Lakeside Chautauqua and Terra State Community College, not only for religious life, but in support of the arts and education programming as well.”

Lakesiders may be familiar with Michael Shirtz from Lakeside events he has led or participated with over the past few years. Craig Dieterich invited Shirtz and his jazz quartet and local musicians to present the world premiere of Shirtz’s composition “Solemn Blessings,” a cantata based on the eight beatitudes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, during Sunday Hoover Worship on August 23, 2009. The work was reprised the follow year. In 2011, the Michael Shirtz Jazz Quartet performed for an evening program in Hoover.

Shirtz currently serves as the Dean of Business & Creative Arts at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio, where he is the Music Director/Conductor for the Terra Choral Society & Chamber Arts Orchestra.

Shirtz holds a Bachelors of Music degree in jazz studies from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, and a Masters of Music in conducting from California State University, Los Angeles.

He has served on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, American Music Academy, and as a Teaching Artist for the Jazz Academy in Columbus, Ohio. 

“I’m very excited to be a part of Lakeside’s music programs and to participate in enhancing the Chautauqua experience,” Shirtz said. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful musicians at Lakeside and for my wife and I to spend time in this magnificent community.”

This season, in addition to his duties as Chautauqua Worship Music Coordinator, he will perform in Hoover Auditorium on Tuesday, July 23 in the program “As I’ve Learned It” with the Pete Ford Trio.

Shirtz resides in Sandusky, Ohio, with his wife, Pamela, a noted choreographer, performer and educator.