SARASOTA, Fla. - Ann Stephenson-Moe is celebrating 40 years as organist and choirmaster at the Church of the Redeemer, and the church held numerous celebrations thanking her for her service. And Sunday morning, between services, they surprised her with a sort of flash mob in her honor.
It was worship as usual Sunday morning, and Stephenson-Moe was at the organ. Suddenly she's asked to stand, and to her astonishment, a sort of flash mob breaks out with a surprise performance of one of her favorite compositions by her late husband, Daniel Moe.
She was moved to tears.
As Father Fred Robinson pays tribute to her, her two sons appear unexpectedly at her side and a banner unfurls, honoring her 40 years as Church of the Redeemer's organist and choir master.
Looking back, she thanks her father for the advice that inspired her to choose this career. "He said the luckiest people in the world, Annie, are the people that do what they love to do and passion for doing."
Ann is a Florida native. "Graduated from Florida State, got a master’s in history and I went to New York and got a masters in sacred music."
She came to work at Church of the Redeemer in 1974 and the most important events of her life happened there, including meeting her husband. "Oh I thought he was Baryshnikov with a baton in his hand. I adored him from the moment I laid eyes on him.”
They married in 1983 and have two sons.
Daniel Moe continued to compose and conduct until his death in 2012. Music helped Ann through those difficult times.
And her life lesson: “Give people the benefit of doubt. People will do the best they can, especially if you expect them to.”
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