Joseph Kucharski’s serious involvement in church music began early in his life. Throughout grade school, he sang Gregorian chant for daily school masses polyphonic choral works with the Boys’ Choir at the Sunday High Mass. While in high school, piano studies gave way to organ lessons with his cathedral organist. With his mentor’s encouragement to attend recitals and concerts, Kucharski eventually found himself at an Easter Sunday Concert at an Episcopal parish noted for its fine music program. Overwhelmed not only by the music itself, but the pure, clean, sound of the choir, this was his first exposure to music of the Anglican Choral Tradition, and he was hooked.
By the time he entered the Wisconsin College-Conservatory of Music as an Organ and Composition major, having learned more about the Anglican tradition in general, he had the good fortune to study composition with Dr. Bernard Childs, who was Artist in Residence with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the time, conducting with Margaret Hawkins, eventual director of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, and John Weissrock, the organist at the Episcopal Church (where Kucharski had attended that fateful Easter Concert). Each of them was sympathetic to his interest in the Anglican Choral Tradition and eagerly guided his future course of studies.
Kucharski became the Organist and Choirmaster of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church near the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1974 and held that post until his appointment at Nashotah House in 1991. During those years, he also became Music Editor for The Living Church Magazine and Editor for The Episcopal Choirmaster’s Handbook, and had the privilege of working for such esteemed figures as the Rev. Carroll Simcox, the Rev. Dr. Boone Porter, and Mr. David Kalvelage. He also enjoyed a sabbatical in England and studies at The Royal School of Church Music, then headquartered in Croydon. Since his appointment to Nashotah House, Kucharski has returned as Editor for The Episcopal Musician’s Handbook, and become Editor of The Episcopal Desk Calendar, and in 1999, Canon Precentor of Milwaukee’s Cathedral Church of All Saints.
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