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Staff
Organist

Susan Twomey

At the request of Father Eric Duff, I first came to St. Alban's as a substitute organist for Merle
Barlow in 1997 and continued to be "on call" while Lee Barlow was choir director.  I later
replaced Merle as regular organist until 2005 when Merry Phillips came to St. Albanʼs..  Now I
am returning again as organist.
 
The following are just a few highlights (so far) of my long and wonderful life immersed in music...
Born in Pasadena, California I grew up in South San Gabriel, now Rosemead, east of Los
Angeles.  Having studied and played piano since the age of 6, I had organ lessons and began
playing the organ for church services in 1965 when I was 17 years old.  

Over the years I have continued to serve as organist in various capacities, playing music for
funerals, weddings, and school graduations in Oakland and other parts of the San Francisco
Bay Area and Los Angeles, as well as in Catonsville, Maryland and Queens, New York.  On a
study tour of the Holy Land in 1987 I had the privilege of playing the organ for a prayer service
in the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives outside the old city of Jerusalem. 
 
At different stages of my musical life I have also served as choir director, director of liturgical
music, accompanist for soloists and groups, music teacher in elementary, high school,
community college and extended education programs in southern and northern California. From
1976-1981 I did music therapy in nursing homes in Oakland, Los Angeles and on the east coast
with the Little Sisters of the Poor. I have played second violin in several community and college
symphony orchestras over the years, including a concert tour in the summer of 1981 of
Germany, Austria and northern Italy. I worked 10 years from 1981-1991 as a member of the
parish staff at St. Leoʼs Catholic Church in Oakland - involved with music and liturgy as well as
spiritual direction, retreats, and religious education of adults...and during that same time as
assistant to the director of the Suzuki music school while giving private piano and violin lessons
and teaching theory classes to young people on the campus of Holy Names University in
Oakland.  From 1996-2003 I taught piano and violin through the Humboldt Music Academy at
HSU.  I received a Bachelorʼs Degree in 1970 and then a Master's Degree in Music Education
from Holy Names University in 1979, a lifetime secondary teaching credential from the State of
California in 1973, and a Master's Degree in Applied Spirituality from the University of San
Francisco in 1986.

After living 25 years in Oakland, I moved to Southern Humboldt in October of 1991 (the very day
of the Oakland fire!) to join the community of Redwoods Monastery (cistercian nuns). Finally in
1996 I settled in Northern Humboldt. I currently continue to give private piano and some violin
lessons in my home in Arcata where I hope to stay for a very long time.

Aware of living in a place of immense Beauty, I am very grateful to be able to follow a way of life
here which supports silence and solitude.  At its heart is music.