William J. Stokes is a native North Carolinian and has served the church as a musician all his life. He was a choirboy for one year at the Church of the Holy Comforter, Burlington, North Carolina, and from high school years until the present, has played for liturgy and conducted choirs of all ages in the praise of God.
Bill (everyone calls him that except his late grandmother who always said, His name is William!) attended the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, where he assisted Dr David Craighead at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and became a confirmed Episcopalian. He holds a graduate degree from the School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary in New York City along with the Associate and Choirmaster certifications from the American Guild of Organists. Additional study has included the Aspen Choral Institute for three years and a summer intensive at New College, Oxford, England. He has served as organist and choir director of St. Luke’s Church Forest Hills since 2006.
Attendance at performances of choral masterworks with the choir and great organ of Duke University Chapel during his formative years along with a brief period of observation at Washington Cathedral gave him an appreciation of both the beauty and splendor of music in a grand space and the transforming power of music in the liturgy. It is hoped that our music in St. Luke’s, a beautiful and intimate space, will be similarly uplifting.