First Presbyterian Church Music, Arts Department celebrates Jacob Craig

VERO BEACH – On Sunday, June 9, musical groups from around Indian River County gathered together at First Presbyterian Church in Vero Beach to put on an outstanding one-of-a-kind performance in honor of Jacob Craig.

If you haven’t attended a Sunday service at First Presbyterian where Craig is the Director of Music and Arts, you’ve been missing out.

Jacob, who moved to Vero Beach in 2012, continues to delight churchgoers and crowds alike with his virtuosic skill on piano and organ. He is particularly talented at jazz piano which he frequently performs during services.

As a member of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, current Dean Andrew Galuska said of him, “Jacob Craig is an enthusiastic and multi-talented young musician who has not only revitalized the performance of sacred music in his own church, but has also had an exciting impact on music in our community at large. His success at working with and encouraging young musicians is unparalleled.”

As a result of his work with local youth, Craig was the most recent recipient of the Indian River County Cultural Council’s Laurel Award for Excellence in Education.

As the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian, Jacob directs the Chancel Choir, Handbell Ensemble, Youth String Orchestra, Youth Choir, and more. In the community, Craig directs the Silver Tones, a seniors-only community choir sponsored by the Senior Resource Association, and the ACTS Choir based out of Indian River Estates. Among all of these things, Jacob also maintains an active performing career and supports other local nonprofit organizations such as the Vero Vino Festival, Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, Treasure Coast Wind Ensemble, Space Coast Symphony, and Treasure Coast Youth Orchestra to name a few.

Not only is Jacob a great keyboardist, he is a Grade 1 (professional level) bagpiper and the Pipe Major/founder of the Vero Beach Pipes and Drums.

His newest project is a Youth Pipe Band for students in grades 4 and 5 at Beachland Elementary, which will start rehearsals beginning in August of this year.

For the last few years, Craig has been studying for his Doctorate in Sacred Music with the Graduate Theological Foundation, partnered with Oxford University in England. As part of his post-doc and culminating study, he is required to attend a two-week sabbatical on-site at Oxford University at the end of this summer, resulting in a conferred degree.

The concert featured all performing groups from the church as well as the Silver Tones, ACTS choir, and the Vero Beach Pipes and Drums. Over 400 people attended this special one-time-only performance, not including those on stage. Paul Ives, a longtime member of the church, was happy to be part of the performance. He said, “I was proud to have been able to participate in Jacob’s gala concert a few weeks ago. What a great experience! I keep playing the live stream over and over again.”

If you did not have a chance to see the concert in person, it is available via the livestream link on the church website, http://www.firstpresvero.org. Click on “Media” then “Concerts and More” and find the video titled “Celebration Concert”.

Donations toward Jacob’s sabbatical trip are still being accepted and can be sent to First Presbyterian Church, c/o Doctoral Sabbatical, 520 Royal Palm Boulevard, Vero Beach, FL, 32960.

For more information, please contact Ginger Lagemann, Music and Arts Administrator, at (772) 562-9088 or ginger@firstpresvero.org.

Leave a Comment