Raney to perform at local church

PARKERSBURG – Joel Raney, described as one of the most prolific church musicians in North America, will be sharing his music at the First Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg on Sunday, Nov. 3.

He will be at the church on Saturday, Nov.2 at 9 a.m. for a rehearsal/workshop. Then, on Sunday he will provide musical leadership at the 10:30 a.m. worship service and then at a 4 p.m. concert will lead a community choir featuring his music.

Raney started playing the piano sometime between learning to walk and learning to read. He grew up in Alabama, and began his musical training at a rural Baptist church where he developed an affinity for improvising and for southern gospel music.

After completing his degree in choral education at the University of North Alabama, he went on to sharpen his keyboard skills, earning a master’s degree in piano performance at The Juilliard School.

Since 1999 he has taken the church music scene “by storm,” with more than 250 titles in print, primarily with Hope Publishing where he serves as editor.

His innovative style and inspired arranger’s instincts put his numerous choral anthems, musicals and cantatas, handbell compositions, piano solos, and instrumental works at the top of sales charts year after year, according to a press release.

Raney’s interest in music of all kinds has led to a wide array of musical opportunities. He has conducted national tours of Broadway productions, and has been honored for outstanding musical direction of theater in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Beginning in 1988 he worked as a composer and producer of commercial music in Chicago, and has written soundtracks for more than 2,000 television and radio commercials, and numerous scores for short films.

Raney is a sought-after choral and keyboard clinician, and stays busy performing concerts throughout North America. He has four solo piano CDs to his credit: An Instrument of Your Peace; This Is My Story, This Is My Song; Overtures of Praise; and Images of Christmas.

For more than a decade, he was artist-in-residence at the First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, Ill., and currently serves as minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Oak Park, Ill. He makes his home in River Forest with wife, Susie, and their three sons, Charlie, Sawyer and Jesse.

His performances at the Parkersburg church, 1341 Juliana St., are free. A thanks offering will be received at the afternoon concert.