February 12, 2018
Composers / Pastoral Musicians of the Month


I continue to be very excited in sharing the news of Zack Stachowski to pastoral musicians everywhere.  For me, Zack represents the very best of the younger generation of emerging liturgical music composers and pastoral musicians.  Born and raised in the Detroit, Michigan area; at a very early age it was obvious to those around him that he was a child prodigy on the violin.  As he grew older he became involved in the music ministry at St. Blaise parish in Sterling Heights, under the tutelage of Stephen Petrunak (who was director of music there for what seems to have been thousands of years; and who is now the president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians).  It was during this time that I first came to know Zack, and it has been an amazing joy to see where his journey has led.  When he was in high school he attended “Music Ministry Alive” (MMA), and for the past several years he was been a valued team and faculty member and part of its leadership.  In 2015 he married Natalie Spehar, a very talented cellist and vocalist herself.  They most certainly, make beautiful music together.

Zack attended college at Butler University in Indianapolis, and in recent years he completed his Master’s Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.  While he has been active in many classical music ensembles and performances, liturgical music – and more and more recently, liturgical composition – is where his heart lies.  He has served as a full time music director at parishes in Michigan and Maryland, and just recently began a new adventure as Director of Music at St. Ignatius of Loyola parish in Ijamsville, Maryland.  You can hear Zack on many of my recordings as both violinist and cantor, as well as on the projects of Lori True, Stephen Petrunak, and others.

Over the last few years, several choral octavos of his have been published by GIA, and this past summer, Zack and I were able to collaborate together on what is his first full CD and printed music project “God Never Tires” (also with GIA).  Already, the title song of his, and his beautiful “When You Come” are becoming very popular, destined to be classics.  Click on the Image below, to learn more about this project. A complete listing of his individual compositions and choral octavos (with direct links for ordering), can be found here on this website in the “Music & Recordings” section.

In addition to his busy schedule at the parish and with his composing, he has, together with his dear friend Matt Reichert, begun an already very popular podcast series, “Open Your Hymnal” (www.openyourhymnal.com).  Be sure to check it out, as he and Matt are providing a tremendous service by introducing to believers the most popular music sung in liturgies and the stories that lay alongside them.  Zack and Matt have also become involved with some “tech services” for NPM, and are at the helm for a new effort to mentor and empower young liturgical musicians (in response to the previous chapter begun by MMA), “One Call/Una Vocacion” Click on the image below for more information about this program.

So if you have not yet met Zack or come across his music, be sure to do so!  There is so much promise in him, much that has already been realized.  Personally, I am eager to see what the future holds for Zack.  Thank you and God bless you, Zack.  You are most certainly a blessing to us.

DH (1.4.18)


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