Meet the Music StaffGregory Norton, Minister of Music & Communications
Greg has served congregations in southern California and Colorado for over thirty years working with choirs of all ages. He is active as a conductor, organist, singer and liturgist and is deeply committed to bringing the church's worship life and musical practice together. He is a published composer, is frequently invited to speak and teach on church music topics and his articles and sermons have been published nationally. Greg is also Music Director of The Claremont Chorale, an independent community chorus based in Claremont, California. He holds music degrees from Chapman College and the University of Southern California, and attended Iliff Seminary in Denver.
Peter Fennema, Organist
Peter Fennema is organist at Westwood United Methodist Church where he presides over one of the largest organs on the West coast. As a student of Cherry Rhodes and Ladd Thomas he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance from the University of Southern California. He was twice named Outstanding Graduate by the faculty of the USC School of Music.
Peter is the recipient of numerous organ playing awards, including the Martha Farr and Hunter Mead competitions (Pasadena AGO), the Wanda Edmiston Competition (San Diego), the Young Artist Award (LA AGO), the David Lennox Smith Memorial Award, a Los Angeles Rotary scholarship, and several USC scholarships.
Peter was a finalist at the American Guild of Organists (AGO) National Competition in Washington, D.C. His recording there of the formidable Octaves etude by Jeanne Demessieux has been broadcast on American Public Media's PIPEDREAMS program
Peter has held positions at several churches, including All Saints Episcopal (Pasadena), Pasadena Presbyterian Church, St. James Episcopal (South Pasadena), and St. Matthias Episcopal (Whittier). Peter was appointed organist at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles in 2006.
Ruth Elin Drossel, Director of Children and Youth Choirs
Matthew Miles, Handbell Choir Director
Matthew Miles began his singing career in the church choir at Poland Presbyterian Church in Poland, Ohio when he was fourteen. It was there that he began playing in the bell choir. He played bells for six seasons with the “Village Ringers.” Matt is the Tenor Section Leader/Soloist in the Chancel Choir and earned the Master of Music in Vocal Arts at the University of Southern California, where he studied with Gary Glaze. He performs opera professionally and currently has more than ten roles in his repertoire. He has appeared with Opera Western Reserve, Valley Lyric Opera, and the Symphony of the Vines in Los Osos, CA. Matt plans to pursue a doctoral degree in music and continue his active performing schedule.
Ralph Barlow, Accompanist for Children and Youth Choirs
Ralph has lived in West L.A. all his life, and grew up in this congregation. After studying instrumental performance, composition and conducting at CSU Northridge, he left school to become a touring musician, and between 1970-82, appeared with many notable entertainers. Between 1982-92, Ralph returned to school, eventually earning a Master of Divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology. During those years he served Westwood UMC as Director of Single Adult Ministries, then moved on to serve UM churches in Reseda, Canoga Park and Long Beach, as a pastoral intern. He then served as Local Pastor of Los Feliz UMC (1992-94) and First UMC of West L.A. (1994-2004). After leaving pastoral ministry, he became a professional wedding/funeral officiant. Ralph returned to WUMC in 2005 and re-joined the congregation with his wife Patricia. In addition to playing the piano he also assists with worship planning, coaches scripture readers, and sings bass in the Chancel Choir.
Chancel Choir Soloist / Section Leaders
Stephanie Aston • Soprano
Nancy Campeau • Alto
Matthew Miles • Tenor
David Castillo • Bass