A small town girl from Ohio, Beverly McLarry made up “music” at her grandmother’s piano, played in the marching band, sang in the church choir and, as a teenager, went to Interlochen. As a child, “Music was magic,” something which has never changed for her. “My life has been filled with unbelievable musical experiences and opportunities.”
Though coming from a long line of Methodists, Ms. McLarry has directed choirs in secondary schools, colleges, churches and communities in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. With degrees in vocal performance and music education (B.M., Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; B.M.E. and M.M., Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas), she presently serves as Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City. As Ms. McLarry states, “Having a vocation in the church comes from the fact that a job was offered, and I took it – with little idea at the time as to what motivating work it would be.”
A member of the American Choral Directors Association and the American Society of Composers and Publishers, Ms. McLarry approaches her work in the tradition of the conductor/composer, frequently conducting and/or performing her own compositions. Believing that “music at its best should reach and inspire the entire congregation,” Ms. McLarry enjoys the challenge of providing music that is beautiful and uplifting. When asked what considerations inform her compositions for use in worship, Ms. McLarry outlined the following compositional guidelines:
1) The message of the day,
2) The forces available for performance, and
3) The needs (taste or background) of the congregation.
To these, Ms. McLarry adds:
On the lighter side, and speaking of “taste,” additional guidelines might be:
Introit = Appetizer (inviting: “Yum, yum, what’s next?”)
Anthem = Main course (fulfilling: “That was just delicious!”)
Final Response = Dessert (uplifting: “We’ll be back for more next week!”)
[Note: If it must be served at all, please keep junk food to a minimum.]
Three of Ms. McLarry’s compositions are to be found in the CMI eLibrary: No, not one! (SATB; Easy; Piano/Organ; CMI #4047); We Sing “Pater Noster” (2-3 part Treble voices; Moderate; Piano/Organ; CMI #4046); My life flows on (SATB; Moderate; Piano; CMI #4045). In addition, Ms. McLarry has graciously granted permission to offer the following compositions to our members for free download here: Come, Thou Fount: Introit No. 9; Sevenfold Amen (Flute/Violin obbligato).