Dr. A. ElRay Stewart-Cook - Organist/Choirmaster
Coming to Central in 1984, ElRay and later Lindsey Henriksen Rodgers have led the music program at Central, building it into one of the fine church music programs on the West Coast. Music has been an important part of Central Lutheran since the Sanctuary was built in 1954 and found to be so compatible acoustically for music. This led to the commissioning of the Brombaugh organ twenty years later in 1976 and the acquisition of other musical instruments since then.
ElRay's undergraduate music education was at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, University of London, England. His master and doctoral degrees in music were completed at the University of Oregon. In 2012, Bushnell University awarded ElRay an honorary doctor of music for contribution to church music. For many years, ElRay has conducted the Central Chorale, Chamber Orchestra, Handbell Ensemble, and played with the Central Brass Ensemble, as well as playing the Brombaugh organ for services and concerts.
Previously ElRay led an active youth choir program for decades, which Lindsey has taken on in recent years. ElRay says "Music is in my DNA; it's a language that I love. I consider it a great privilege and blessing to work with the congregation and talented people of Central Lutheran Church, serving the greater Eugene/Springfield community."