Heather Kirkconnell is an organist and music pedagogue based in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is currently the Children’s Music Director at The Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green (PCUSA) where she also directs the handbell choir.
Before relocating, Heather was the Director of Music and Organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Newton, Massachusetts. While at Grace, she introduced new music and liturgical practices and helped shape the welcoming and engaging service. Drawing from many different sources, Heather believes in weaving tradition in with the congregation’s experience of new music and genres, paying attention to the theology, accessibility, aesthetics, and message in every service. Leading a choir of volunteers and professionals, Heather directed such diverse works as John Rutter’s Requiem, William Byrd’s Second Service, and Moses Hogan’s Wade in the Water.
In 2017, Heather was the Artistic Director for the Woods Hole Cantata Consort, a summertime community chorale and chamber orchestra founded in 1973. During her tenure, she performed a fundraising concert, hired and rehearsed the orchestra and soloists, worked with the Board to advertise, and conducted two standing-room-only performances of Bach’s Cantata 98 “Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan” and part I of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Heather began her future career as a child growing up in a large Presbyterian (USA) congregation. Through her immersion in excellent choirs, handbell ensembles, and all things “church,” as well as attendance at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference, she knew early on that she was called to be a church musician.
Her studies brought her to Oberlin, OH where she completed a B.A. in French and a B.Mus. in Organ Performance, with a minor in Historical Performance. During her time at the Oberlin College and Conservatory, Heather’s spiritual life was fed through her participation at Peace Community Church and the campus group Ecumenical Christians of Oberlin. Both of these communities offered her new ways to think about God, new music with which to praise God, and many wonderful opportunities to serve. After completion of her undergraduate degree, Heather moved to Paris, France to study with Jean-Baptiste Robin at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Versailles. While there, she undertook serious organ study, choral conducting, and harmony courses. She traveled to hear and play historical instruments in Great Britian, Sweden, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. She had many opportunities to play concerts on historical instruments in Paris and Versailles, including the Chapelle Royale in the Château de Versailles.
Heather’s musical studies were fed by participation in high caliber vocal and handbell choirs. She enjoys making music with people, whether as a participant, accompanist, or conductor. She loves teaching and supporting her students in their musical journeys. Heather is available for lessons in piano, organ, and general music, and for performances as a soloist and accompanist in services and concerts.