Our Savior's Lutheran Church pleased to announce that their new worship accompanist is Tom Bourcier. A professional musician and composer, Bourcier is professor of jazz improvisation at Luther College in Decorah.
Bourcier received the Master of Music degree in composition from Western Michigan University. He served as Music Director/Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois from 1991-96, and premiered 17 original compositions in Illinois Dance Theatre and Illinois Repertory Theatre productions. At Luther College, Bourcier currently teaches jazz improvisation. He directs the jazz band, advises jazz combos and started the jazz quintet. Bourcier also works with Luther’s Theatre and Dance Department to provide original music for productions and classes.
As a professional musician, Bourcier has performed with and backed up musicians and acts such as the Dirty Dozen Band, Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Schwall of the Siegal-Schwall Band, Buddy Rich, Donald O’Connor, comedian David Brenner, Debbie Reynolds, and Jack Jones. From 1987 until 1996 he led the Tom Bourcier Trio, and subsequently played accordion with Bourcier, Julin, and Wolff. In the past year, he has performed throughout the Midwest as well as San Francisco; Puebla, Mexico; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Pastor of Our Savior’s, Laura Gentry, has collaborated with Bourcier prior to his installation as worship accompanist. Gentry and her husband, William, produced “Laughter Friends,” a children’s workout film in 2007. They worked with Bourcier to create original music for the production. Then in 2008 the Gentrys collaborated with Bourcier again to create “Today is a Laughing Day,” a full length album of jazz-infused songs for children. Bourcier arranged all the songs and played piano on the recording.
The congregation of Our Savior’s is very enthusiastic about having Bourcier bring his gifts to enliven their worship services. They are a musical congregation and truly appreciate great music.
“It is absolutely a delight to hear Tom play!” exclaims Donna Thran, member of the music committee at Our Savior’s. “He definitely has a way of making the music talk to us with his lively improvisations.”
Lively is what the congregation has become known for with it’s introduction of the Lansing Laughter Club in 2007. This club has been featured in the Des Moines Register and The Lutheran, the national magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Two years since its inception, Pastor Gentry explains: “I often meet people who say to me, ‘You’re pastor of Our Savior’s? That’s the laughing church, isn’t it?’ and I snicker out a ‘YES!’” The church even changed their Web site domain to laughinglutherans.com to reflect their this.
Thus, the partnership of Our Savior’s and Bourcier appears to be a great fit. “Bringing the joy of the Lord to uplift people—especially in these difficult times—is our goal,” says Pastor Gentry “and Tom is definitely going to help us do that. You can’t listen to his playing and not find your toe happily tapping.”
Our Savior’s invites the public to hear Tom Bourcier play each Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. To listen to samples of his music visit this link at the Luther College Web site.