Meet Paul Friesen-Carper, New Assistant Director of Music

Paul begins his ministry with us this December. Here are some fun facts about Paul:

1) What was the first musical instrument you learned to play? Who taught you?

My first instrument was the cello. I first was introduced to it when my father taught a beginning strings class for Wawasee Community Schools. I had many other teachers– most notably Patricia White, who studied with Leonard Rose at Julliard.

2) What are some of your memories of church as a kid?

I remember sitting in a pew with my parents and sister as my mother pointed to notes and words so I could learn to sing hymns in four-parts at Goshen College Mennonite Church.

I remember playing sardines and hiding in the darkest places in the church where the paraments were stored at lock-ins with the confirmation-age kids. Then I remember finally being baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church as all my friends were confirmed.

3) Tell us about one of the most interesting musical ensembles you’ve been a part of?

For the last two years I’ve been playing in Silk Cedar, a Chinese-American folk-jazz fusion dulcimer band. The instrumentation is a yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), American hammered dulcimer, jazz piano, world percussion drum set, and then I play 6-string electric cello, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. We play lots of music that includes jazz and bluegrass tinged interpretations of Chinese traditional tunes as well unique takes of jazz standards and American old-time tunes. We’ve done a couple of American tours and a tour of China. The American hammered dulcimer player, national champion David Mahler, and I have created a duo out of that group that plays American and Celtic fiddle music.

4) Name your top three favorite bands or artists.

Joni Mitchell
Paul Simon
Chris Thile

5) Name two items on your “bucket list.”

Play fiddle at a session in a pub in Ireland.

Sleep under the stars in the Southern Hemisphere.

6) What do you like to do on a day off?

I enjoy cooking for friends and finding ways to get off the grid.

Welcome Paul!