Inverness parish hires new music director

Holy Family Parish in Inverness has hired a new director of music, leaders of the Catholic parish confirmed Thursday.

Gene Garcia, an experienced pianist with a background in sound engineering and production, is the new director of music.

He will be overseeing the music at this weekend's services.

“Gene's skill set matches Holy Family's style very well,” the Rev. Terry Keehan, pastor of Holy Family, said.

“We're delighted to welcome him to the staff.”

Garcia will be available to meet and have a quick chat with parishioners after each of Sunday's Masses, which begin at 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m.

Garcia replaces Colin Collette, the parish's longtime music director who was fired over the summer after announcing his engagement to his male partner.

The dismissal of the popular Collette angered some members of the parish.

Keehan said that despite the controversy, he expects Garcia to be received warmly.

“Many parishioners know him already because he's been filling in for us for a while,” Keehan said.

“Some even specifically asked that we hire Gene for the position. His talent is known. You can't please everybody, which I understand. But I think he will be supported very well here.”

Garcia and Collette declined to comment on Thursday.

Music is a key component of the Masses at Holy Family, parish leaders said.

The church embraces contemporary, nontraditional musical styles, and it often combines music with images and video during Mass.

As director, Garcia will be responsible for planning and overseeing the musical program, and he'll work to recruit people to join the parish's choir and band, Keehan said.

Keehan said Garcia has performed in secular venues like jazz/piano bars and in non-Catholic churches, like Willow Creek in South Barrington.

He also has a background in sound engineering, Keehan said.

“Musically, his background is perfect for us. But in addition to that, he's culturally and spiritually rooted in the Catholic Church. We all think Gene is a great fit,” Keehan said.

Holy Family is located at 2515 Palatine Road in Inverness.

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