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Christopher Cook’s February 2017 retirement From Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church as Director of Worship, Music, and the Arts capped a forty-six year career in church music. During his career, he served in a variety of denominations, primarily Episcopal, Lutheran, and most recently, Presbyterian. He studied organ performance at the University of Tulsa under the direction of Dr. Thomas Matthews. Arriving in San Diego, he continued studies with former Civic Organist, Robert Plimpton. For more than ten years, he served on the staff of the Spreckels Organ Society, where he presented its weekly Youth Concerts. Upon his departure, SOS trustees awarded him with an honorary lifetime membership.
In 2006, he was appointed Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church’s Director of Worship, Music and the Arts, where he had been serving as its organist since 2003. Responding to a call to explore the foundations of the arts’ role in worship, Chris earned a Doctor of Worship Studies degree from the Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies in 2011. For many years following, he led the church’s large, creative worship ministry, with a special concentration on training the next generation of worship leaders. Upon retirement, the church conferred upon him Director Emeritus status. He continues to serve in the department as an enthusiastic volunteer.
As a member of the American Guild of Organists, he serves the San Diego Chapter as chairman of its Investment Committee. On the national level, he is past chairman of the National Committee for Professional Career Development and Support. Currently, he writes a monthly column, “The Practical Organist,” for its national publication, The American Organist.
In retirement, Chris remains active as a performer, music ministry consultant, workshop presenter, and teacher of organ and music theory. He is a member of the faculty in the School of Music at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.