PARIS – The First Universalist Church on Pine Street has announced a new organist/choir director. Donna J. Hurd began to occupy the organ bench starting with the opening service on Sept. 9.
Hurd did her early organ studies with Thomas Target and Robert P. Kelly; at Boston University she studied with March Chapel organist Dr. Max Miller and Trinity Church legend George Faxon. Her principal conducting teachers were Allen C. Lannom and Leonard Bernstein.
In Massachusetts she substituted in many churches on the South Shore during her teen years and settled into a long term position at All Souls Church, Unitarian Universalist in Braintree, Mass., at 16, becoming a member there. Hurd still maintains that membership as well as her life membership at the Unitarian Universalist Conference Center at Ferry Beach in Saco.
After 15 years at All Souls, when she moved too far north to commute any longer, Hurd became organist/choir director at First United Methodist Church in South Hamilton, Mass., where she also ran her own music school. After another 14 years Hurd had the opportunity to build a home on the water in Limerick. There was a hiatus in her organ work for a few years while she established herself in the music department of Windham Public Schools, from which she retired two years ago. In 1997 Hurd became organist/choir director at Raymond Village Community Church, where she stayed until last spring.
Hurd currently maintains a home in North Baldwin where she does a lot of volunteer work on behalf of plants, animals and humans. She is an avid Taoist Tai Chi practitioner at the Bridgton Tai Chi Center. Hurd says she is looking forward to working with the First Universalist Church playing the historic Moller organ three Sundays a month from September through June.