The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania that is centered on the worship of God, the ministry of all baptized persons, and the call to be agents of Christ’s love in the world.
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Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
8000 St. Martin’s Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215.247.7466

The Rev. W. Jarrett Kerbel

St. Martin's Cloak

The Cloak is a collection of audio vignettes—stories that reveal parishioners’ faith journeys. Share your thoughts by sending us an e-mail.

She dragged my brother and I, kicking and screaming, to children’s choir ...

Erik Meyer

St. Martin's Music Director Erik Meyer credits his mother for his vocation as a musician.

My mom was my first piano teacher. I think about that a lot now because I’m preparing my 5-year old daughter to start piano. That’s something that excites and scares me at the same time. Mom was also my church organist and choir director when I was young. There are lots of stories about me misbehaving in the pews, while she would stare daggers at me from the organ console. 

Week after week she dragged my brother and I, kicking and screaming, to children’s choir and we were told we would never ever have a solo because that would look like favoritism being the sons of the choir director. The other thing about growing up in a musical household is you can’t get away with anything when you’re practicing – a wrong note, goofing off – anything like that, she knew, and she would let us know. 

When I began playing organ in churches when I was about 13, she helped find music that I was able to play for the first month or so, and she sat right by the organ, not just for moral support, but to let me know what was coming next. Something we don’t think about in liturgical churches is the flow is so important to the liturgy, and if your organist doesn’t know what’s going on, you’re in big trouble. 

The list goes on about the ways my mother has helped me.

There is one particular moment that sticks out in my mind. Mom had applied for a job when I was about 12 or 13-years-old – didn’t get the job. I believe it was a high school conducting job. As usual, I was avoiding my piano practicing. I was probably playing video games or just wasting time. She came into the room, she was red-faced; I think she had been crying. And she said that I should just quit music because it’s a worthless profession and I’d never make any money.

Needless to say, I was the dutiful son; I went right to the keyboard and started practicing as much as I could. Here I am in the end, for some ridiculous reason that probably borders on insanity, I am now a church musician.

To be honest, I haven’t given Mom the credit she deserves; nor do I realize how much she has done for me. It started to dawn on me the day that my daughter came home from spending the night at her house, and she began singing the very same lullabies that mom had sang to me. The more I think about it, those lullabies are probably the most important thing that mom has given to me. Maybe now I am just now beginning to appreciate her properly.

Lydia sings:
Bed is too small for my tiredness
Give me a hilltop with trees
Tuck a cloud up under my chin
Lord, blow the moon out, please.

Rock me to sleep in a cradle of stars
Sing me a lullaby of leaves
Tuck a cloud up under my chin
Lord, blow the moon out, please.