Dr. Patricia Wright has been Director of Music and Organist of Metropolitan United Church since September 1986 , where she plays the largest pipe organ in Canada, conducts adult and children's choirs, manages a concert series, and oversees a varied programme of arts in worship. In September of 2010, she was covenanted as the United Church's first Congregational Designated Minister of Music.
A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Dr. Wright holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale University as a student in the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Her teachers have included Donald Wilkins, Charles Krigbaum, Nadia Boulanger, Jean Langlais, and Michael Schneider.
Active as a recitalist, adjudicator, and clinician, Dr. Wright has been heard in recital in Canada, the United States, and Europe and has been broadcast on CBC. She has held positions in New Haven and Ottawa, has taught at the University of Ottawa, and has served as a judge at various organ competitions. Dr. Wright was invited to premiere the Toronto Organ Series at the International Congress of Organists in 1993 and was a featured recitalist at the 1999 national convention of the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the 2003 American Guild of Organists Region II Convention.
Dr. Wright is a founding member and national co-chair of the United Church of Canada Association of Musicians and is a past national president of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, having received an honorary Fellowship in 1997. She has released a compact disc recording, "Sounds of the Soul", marking the addition of the antiphonal division of Metropolitan's organ in 1998. Since then, she has conducted the choir for four more CDs available on this website.
Dr. Wright serves as an Adjunct Professor of Organ at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and is cross-appointed as an Adjunct Professor to Victoria University as part of the Master of Sacred Music program at Emmanuel College.
At Metropolitan, Dr. Wright is simply "Pat," or "Patricia" if we're feeling especially formal. She leads our exceptional 32-voice church choir, directs the Metropolitan Festival Choir and the orchestra for special concerts, plays the organ for Sunday services, and leads the Metropolitan Handbell Choir.
Ms. Saya Ojiri is the Assistant Organist of the Metropolitan United Church. She holds a Master of Theology degree from Rikkyo University,Tokyo, and is presently a Master of Sacred Music student at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, as well as an organ student of Dr. Patricia Wright.
Her research interest lies in the field of liturgical studies particularly on contextualized worship and cross-cultural hybrid church music making. In 2015, she gave a presentation on Japanese hymnody at the Annual Conference of the Hymn Society of the U. S. and Canada entitled, The History and Present Situation of Japanese Hymns. Being a member of the Anglican Church in Japan, she has contributed articles to her denominational journal on the contribution of John Bell and the Iona Community, and current trend of Asian church music.
In terms of professional affiliation, she is a member of the Hymn Society in Japan, the Royal Canadian College of Organist and holds visitor status with the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation. She has composed several hymns and anthems, with some of these published by Hope Publishing Company including:
On a Sunny Day
Water in the Snow
Roy Lee has been Carillonneur of Metropolitan United Church since 2016, where he plays Canada’s oldest carillon.
Roy learned to play the carillon as an undergraduate at Yale University. He earned his professional accreditation from the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 2000, and later graduated “with great distinction” from the Koninklijke Beiaardschool (Royal Carillon School) in Mechelen, Belgium. Roy serves as a jury member for the Guild's Associate Carillonneur Examination, and was elected to the Guild’s Board in 2016 for a three-year term.
Singer, composer, music director, writer and multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Stein sings lead tenor in the Metropolitan Choir and directs the Metropolitan Great Heart ensemble for teens and young adults. One of the world's few professional theorbo players, Ben Stein is a specialist in the re-emerging art of Western classical music improvisation. He has played or sung for ensembles as such Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir, Opera Atelier, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Masque Theatre and Soundstreams Canada.
Ben Stein has an MA in Musicology/Theory from the University of Toronto and is also an associate music director at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. More information on his activities can be found at www.benjaminstein.ca.
Fran Harvey has been the conductor of the Metropolitan Silver Band since 2003. Prior to that she played Flugelhorn and Solo Cornet with the band for many years. Ms. Harvey holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied trumpet with Larry Weeks, James Spragg, and Stephen Chennette.
As leader of the Metropolitan Silver Band, Ms. Harvey conducts monthly at Metropolitan's Sunday service and leads the band in concerts across Ontario. She leads the band and the congregation in our annual Carols United concert.