Meet Aaron Shows: Composer and Canterbury Chapel Organist

“The point of the song is not to get to the last chord. The point of the song is to enjoy the music itself as it is happening.” This is Aaron Shows’ — Canterbury’s new chapel organist — advice about music and life. Aaron believes that music can offer numerous metaphors and meaning for life. This message of presence is an important lesson for all of us, young and old.  


Aaron Shows, Chapel Organist

Born in Montgomery, AL, Aaron started piano lessons at age 5 and was fortunate enough to have a teacher who fostered his love for music. He credits this teacher for his music career. 

Aaron began organ lessons as a high school student and went on to study organ at Duquesne University and Shenandoah University. He graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in church music from Shenandoah University in 2011 and in 2013 earned master of fine arts degree in film music composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has vast experience playing a variety of instruments, but his favorite to play — and compose on — are the piano and organ.

What is the difference between church music and the music in your favorite movie?

They are more similar than you might think, if you ask Aaron. “Both are intended to bring the listener into the moment and guide them in ways that words can’t always do alone. Both clergy and film directors collaborate with musicians to provide appropriate music for the church service or movie.”

That is just what he does. Aaron says he enjoys working with Father Finnin because he is good humored, a good leader, and good with children. Together, they create chapel services that are a core component of our children’s Canterbury experience.

Aaron notes that he doesn’t often get to play for 400 children — as an organist he has played mostly for adults. The experience of playing and the sound itself is completely different with children’s voices.

Another new experience for Aaron is playing on the Canterbury organ. “It is very different from any that I’ve played locally, acoustically it’s much like the organs I’ve played in Germany or France.”

Aaron also works as an accompanist at Greensboro Day School and as the organist at West Market Street United Methodist Church in Greensboro. Currently, he is pursuing publishing opportunities for some of his music compositions. He is thrilled to join the Canterbury community and is looking forward to the remainder of the liturgical year.

by Emily Wilson Brenner

Version 2Emily Wilson Brenner is parent to Benjamin (PreK-Copeland/Kaplan) and Fritz, wife to Kevin, a dance artist, and an instructor in Canterbury’s PreK Afternoon Adventures. Her favorite thing about Canterbury is the beautifully inspiring outdoor space. She likes yoga, dark chocolate, and a good cup of green tea. 


Chrismon: A New Canterbury Tradition

Parent volunteers had a vision for the Christmas tree in Phillips Chapel, and they have made that vision a reality for the second year in a row. Throughout the season of Advent, the tree will be adorned with chrisma handmade by students in 4th through 8th grade.

Chrismon comes from the Latin term meaning “monogram of Christ.” The plural is chrisma. Christian churches of various denominations will decorate trees in their sanctuaries featuring chrisma and white lights.

5th graders put together their chrismons.

5th graders put together their chrismons.

This year’s chrismon is the Greek cross made using wire, white and gold beads, and a lot of parental guidance. Each student receives a starter kit with the supplies, and parents are on hand to help with the creation of the chrismon.

Last year was the first time Canterbury students made chrisma for the Phillips Chapel tree under the guidance of Amy Kreimer, Alison Dodge, and Marty Keeton. A new Canterbury tradition was born! The goal is for students to make a new chrismon each year based on a different pattern.

“I hope it will continue for years to come,” Marty says.

This initiative is now led by the Altar Guild committee of the CPA. The chairs of the Altar Guild this year are Leigh Jones, Marty Keeton, and Becky Clodfelter. In addition to chrisma, Altar Guild is in charge of the holiday flower sale (a CPA fundraiser) and the annual greening of the chapel. Parents are encouraged to come the Sunday after Thanksgiving to help put fresh greenery cuttings in the chapel. The best cuttings are holly, nandina, magnolia, and evergreen branches of all kinds. Please come, bring whatever you have in your yard, and enjoy getting in the spirit with fellow parents.

Want to go to the annual greening of the chapel? Drop by on Sunday, Nov. 30th in Phillips Chapel from 2:30-5pm. 


by Kelly McKee

mckee Kelly McKee is a freelance writer and community volunteer. She has three daughters and a very high golf handicap (these two facts are not unrelated).