Music is a major part of worship at St. Michael and All Angels. Most services have some music, whether it be the full choir accompanying our Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ at the 10:30 AM mass, or the congregation singing a cappella at our Mass in Spanish. Guest musicians often accompany the choirs during Christmas and Easter celebrations. Music during the High Mass on major feast days ranges from familiar hymns to classical pieces to original music by our resident composer, the late A. F. Schultz.
The St. Michael and All Angels Choir sings at the 10:15 AM High Mass on most Sundays, at certain feast day masses, and on other selected occasions. Rehearsals are Thursdays at 7:00 PM and on Sunday mornings. We are always looking for new voices!
Our Director of Music
Our Director of Music, Douglas Leightenheimer, is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, and a 1982 graduate of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He earned his Master of Music degree in church music from Westminster Choir College in 1984. Doug served as director of music ministries for Venice Presbyterian Church in Venice, FL for more than 12 years. Then, for the fifteen years prior to his arriving in Arizona, he was director of music (organist/director) for First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, NC. At First Presbyterian, he had extensive experience playing First Presbyterian’s historic 1928 E. M. Skinner pipe organ (Op. 713), an earlier version of St. Michael’s glorious 1959 Æolian-Skinner organ. For the last three years of his tenure at First Presbyterian, he also served as music director for the Schola Cantorum of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina.
In mid-2012, Doug left Wilmington to pursue his doctorate at the University of Arizona. Upon the retirement of the church’s previous choir director, Jane Haman, in the fall of 2012, two parishioners recommended the doctoral student as an excellent candidate to fill the position. Doug served as a guest choir director at St. Michael’s, along with several other applicants. St. Michael’s was delighted to welcome Douglas Leightenheimer as its new music director, choir director and organist in late 2012.
On January 15th, 2016, Douglas Blair Leightenheimer presented his doctoral lecture recital, “From Couperin to Vierne: Liturgical and Stylistic Connections between the French Baroque and French Romantic Organ Mass,” at the University of Arizona. As of May 12, 2016, he officially became Dr. Doug Leightenheimer, obtaining his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music.
A board member of the Southern Arizona chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Douglas Leightenheimer has also served on the executive boards of the Sarasota-Manatee (Florida) and Wilmington (North Carolina) chapters of the same organization, including two terms as dean for each group. He is also a published composer and recitalist. In 2008 he was featured with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra performing Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns and Symphonie Concertante by Joseph Jongen. In both April 2013 and April 2014, he performed the Mildred Flood Mahoney Memorial Organ Series Concert at the University of Arizona. Recent solo performances include the evensong series at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, and the 2015 summer series at Catalina United Methodist Church in Tucson. During UA’s 2016 spring semester, he served as an assistant conductor with the University Community Chorus.
A composer, longtime parishioner, former St. Michael’s music director, and retired English teacher at St. Michael’s School, Alan F. Schultz assisted Douglas Leightenheimer until his death in November, 2019. A loved and respected teacher of English at St. Michael’s School for over 30 years, he trained students in writing, declamation, and public speaking; and provided music for our school masses. Years after his “unconvincing retirement,” he still filled in on the organ, sang in the choir, and occasionally provided new, original music at the High Mass. At the Christmas Eve High Mass in December, 2015, the St. Michael and All Angels Choir performed Carols of the Incarnation, a new Oratorio by A.F. Schultz.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Alan was captivated by music as a toddler, and by the age of 12 was playing music at his local church. Having moved to Tucson in 1958, he graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in English and music, and was hired to teach English at St. Michael’s School. He subsequently became the organist at choirmaster at St. Michael and All Angels Church, continuing in that role for the next two decades. Later, Alan had an important role in bringing the Æolian-Skinner organ to St. Michael and All Angels over 20 years ago. It is therefore fitting that the organ at St. Michael’s has been named in his honor.
Alan shared his talent of musical composition and performance with the wider community through the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra where he remained Conductor Emeritus, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, where he was Director of Music from 1986 to 2003, the Tucson Masterworks Chorale (formerly the Tucson Civic Chorus) beginning in 1976, and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (1980-1995).
Prayers are offered for Delores Schultz, Alan’s wife of 40 years, and their two children, Jeremy and Jennifer. Donations in Alan’s name may be made to the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the St. Michael’s Music Fund, or Clinica Amistad.
The A. F. Schultz Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ
In 2014, our Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ was renamed the A. F. Schultz Organ, in recognition of Alan F. Schultz’s many contributions to St. Michael’s and the Tucson community.
Donations to the Schultz Organ Fund and Endowment are gratefully accepted. Thank you for your generosity!
History of the A. F. Schultz Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ
Music is intimately bound with the proclamation of the Word, an opportunity for us to express through hymns, anthems and liturgy those feelings that are often difficult to express with words. The music of the Christian faith is meant to deepen and enrich our worship experience. Music has the ability to make us of one heart and voice, a natural response of a living faith. Those who are called to presenting music for worship have the important task of leading worshipers toward greater heights of inspiration and beauty, to the glory of God.
St. Michael’s has had a rich musical tradition, stretching back to the parish’s earliest years under Father John Clinton Fowler, who established the parish choir and hired St. Michael’s first organist. The present-day choir, led by Director of Music Douglas Leightenheimer, is committed to presenting music of the highest caliber on Sundays and special Feast days. Major works with orchestra are presented at Michaelmas, Christmas Eve and Easter.
The organ has long been considered the most effective musical resource for worship. Its primary function is that of accompanying congregational singing. A well-designed organ is an effective accompaniment to the human voice. Its unique timbre, even at full volume, will complement rather than cover congregational singing. An organ should also offer a variety of tone colors to give it the flexibility needed for other liturgical uses, and for use as a solo instrument.
Our Æolian-Skinner organ is an excellent representation of the “American Classic” design. It was originally built for Christ Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959. St. Michael’s purchased this instrument in 1989. Upon arrival in Arizona, its many parts were stored at a local car dealership while fundraising took place and the church building was expanded with an organ chamber to house it. In 1998, after repairs and upgrades were made, it was installed at St. Michael’s. The organ has now been completed, with the addition of the Antiphonal division, as well as changes and additions to the other divisions. To celebrate the Antiphonal division being installed and operational, the organ was rededicated on May 22nd, 2005 with a celebratory concert by nationally-acclaimed organist Todd Wilson.
In 2014, further work began to replace the organ’s termite-damaged wooden foundation with specially sealed boards, to clean the pipes and to install a few additional pieces.
Our completed instrument has been renamed the A. F. Schultz Organ, in recognition of Alan F. Schultz’s many contributions to St. Michael’s and the Tucson community. It continues to be refurbished and updated by master organ builder S. Grahame Davis, including with new electronics in 2017.
Easter Week 2014 culminated in a special concert on Saturday, April 26th with Trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden and organist Doug Leightenheiimer. (A member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, Fairfax Symphony, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, New World Symphony, Virginia Symphony and Santa Fe Opera, and at Colorado’s Breckenridge Music Festival.) The free concert was in thanksgiving to God for enabling us to retire the loan for our Æolian-Skinner organ and to establish an endowment for its upkeep in the name of Alan F. Schultz.
The Alan F Schultz Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ serves the church’s musical needs, and has the flexibility for the playing of organ literature from all periods. It can also be an outstanding recital organ and community resource. 25 years after its initial purchase, after an overall cost of over a million dollars in purchase, transport, storage, building modification, installation, repair and costs associated with two major loans, our wonderful organ is ready to live up to the potential that parishioners hoped for all those years ago. Thanks to generous donations large and small, the church was able to pay off the final loan six months early, in March, 2014. An Alan F Schultz Fund has been established to eventually create an endowment to maintain and care for the organ for years to come. Click the button below to donate, or contact the church office to make a pledge to the A F Schultz Organ Fund. Thank you for your support!
The Book of Pipes is a memorial and historical listing of loved ones, living and deceased, who have made a difference in our lives, our community, and the world. Your name, or a name of a loved one living or deceased, can be inscribed in the Book of Pipes. Please contact the parish office, 886-7292, for more information. Brochures are always available in the back of the church, or in the parish office at any time. Also to be published is The Stories Behind the Book of Pipes, telling the stories of all the people inscribed.
The name of each person so honored inscribed on a plaque listing the particular pipe that will play forever in their honor and for the glory of God. Entire sections of the organ have been named in gratitude for the larger endowments that have helped to make St. Michael’s acquisition of this wonderful instrument possible.
Proceeds from donations associated with recognition in the Book of Pipes helped us to pay for the Æolian-Skinner Pipe Organ. Now that the organ is fully paid for, Book of Pipes donations benefit the Alan F. Schultz Organ Fund, established in 2014 to defray the costs of maintaining the organ for years to come.