CYNTHIA POCK serves as Cantor (Organist and Choral Director) for First Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, where she plays for all liturgies and directs the adult, youth, and handbell choirs. She also administrates the church’s concert series, Laudate Dominum at First Church.
Ms. Pock is a native of Pittsburgh, and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in organ performance and music education from Carnegie Mellon University. She maintains a private piano studio at her Mt. Lebanon home. She is an active member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, having served as its Secretary, Dean, and presently as Co-Chair of the Pittsburgh Organ Academy for young organists. She holds the Associate degree from the AGO, and presents recitals and choral workshops in the area. She has served as choral director and organist at the Southwestern PA Lutheran Synod Assemblies, as instructor for nationally-sponsored Pipe Organ Encounters for young musicians, and has taught in the Lutheran/Episcopal Leadership Program for Musicians.
ANDRE BIERMAN is the Tenor Soloist at First Lutheran Church, and also at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Oakland. He sings solo selections and liturgical portions at the 8:30 AM liturgy each week, and sings with the Liturgical Choir at the 11:00 AM service. Mr. Bierman earned a degree in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin. He has sung with opera companies in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. European engagements include performances in Vienna, Frankfurt, and Munich.
Mr. Bierman has appeared in several Three Tenor concerts, and many oratorio performances with major orchestras. He frequently sings such engagements with the Annapolis Symphony and Chorale, and recently sang solo portions in J. S. Bach’s “St. John Passion” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.” Andre Bierman and Cynthia Pock present recitals for voice and organ in the tri-state area.
JUSTIN WEILNAU is the music assistant at First Church, providing accompaniment for certain weekday and feast day liturgies, as well as assisting with the childrens’ and bell choirs.
Mr. Weilnau graduated from Lebanon Valley College (2013) with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular biology and a B.A. in Music with concentrations in Organ Performance and Sacred Music. He studied both piano and organ with Dr. Shelly Moorman-Stahlman while at LVC. He recently graduated from DuquesneUniversity with an M.S. in Pharmacology; his thesis focused on Parkinson’s disease. He is now persuing a M.M. in Organ Performance with Dr. Ann Labounsky Steele, also at Duquesne. In addition to his duties at First, Justin serves as the Director of Music and Organist at Glenshaw Presbyterian Church.
ORGAN ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
ANN LABOUNSKY STEELE’s early training was under the direction of Paul J. Sifler and John LaMontaine in New York City. She was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where she was a student of David Craighead, a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan where her teacher was Marilyn Mason, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Labounsky is the author of a biography of Langlais, Jean Langlais: the Man and His Music, published in 2000 by Amadeus Press, Portland, Oregon. As Chair of Organ and Sacred Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, she oversees undergraduate and graduate programs in sacred music. An active member of the American Guild of Organists and the National Pastoral Musicians, she holds the Fellow certificate and served as Director of the National Committee on Improvisation Councilor for Education for the American Guild of Organists. Currently she also serves as national Director of Certification for the National Pastoral Musicians and as Organist-Choirmaster at Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill.