September 23, 2015 // Local
Local musician Robert Hobby composes for papal visit to U.S.
FORT WAYNE — Robert A. Hobby, director of music at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, has been asked to compose two pieces of music for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hobby said. ”It would be exciting to write for any papal visit, but it’s even more exciting to write for Pope Francis, who brings great compassion to Christianity and challenges us all to show greater compassion.”
Hobby, 52, is composing these pieces for Pope Francis’ visit: Scoring an accompaniment for organ and orchestra for “Tu Es Petrus,” by French composer Charles Marie Widor, originally scored for choir and two organs, which will be a part of the prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, on Sept. 24; and composing an arrangement for congregation, choir and orchestra for the hymn, “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus,” for the papal Mass at Madison Square Gardens on Sept. 25.
The path to composing for the pope began earlier this year when Jennifer Pascual, director of music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, contacted Mark Lawson, president of MorningStar Music/ECS Publishing, St. Louis, Missouri, seeking orchestral settings for the two pieces. When she learned there were no such arrangements, Lawson suggested a few sacred music composers, including Hobby, some of whose works are published by MorningStar. When Lawson shared the opportunity with Hobby, he jumped at the chance.
As a composer, Hobby has more than 250 compositions published by various publishing houses, including two major works: The Good Shepherd, scored for tenor solo, adult and children’s choirs and orchestra, and the 13-movement choral/instrumental Christmas work, Holy Light.
His compositions have been featured on national television and syndicated radio shows and have been performed at numerous national venues, including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Los Angeles, among others.
Hobby began playing piano in the second grade; by fourth grade he was playing the organ at Grace Lutheran Church, Columbia City, where his father Clark Hobby, served as pastor. Hobby received his bachelor’s in church music from Wittenberg University and his master’s in music (organ performance) from the University of Notre Dame. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Wittenberg University. In 2008, a music student at Ball State University created an annotated bibliography of Hobby’s choral works for the student’s doctoral thesis in choral conducting.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters.
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