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50 Years of Music

In 1973 St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chula Vista hired a teenager as their organist.  This year marks fifty years of faithful service and beautiful music by Cheryl Seppala!

She has served with five rectors and many assistants and interims. Cheryl truly is St. John’s institutional memory and a blessing to all.

In 2006 Jane Graves Ferguson retired as choir director, the tenth with whom Cheryl had worked. Fr. George Keith asked Cheryl to fill in temporarily “for a few months”.  Cheryl says, “I don’t know how it happened” but all these years later, she is still wearing two hats.

“Watching St. John’s burn to the ground (in 1994) is perhaps one of my most vivid memories,” she says.

Cheryl and her husband Wayne, who is organist for St. Andrew’s in La Mesa, have been very generous over the years. They purchased and donated a new organ in memory of Fr. Jerry Graves, who died suddenly in 1987.  For years, they have taken care of problems that have come up with organ repairs at their own expense; many times they have transported theater organs on their own to the church for cantatas and special concerts with guest artists.  During a time when the church was suffering financially, Cheryl agreed to take a temporary pay cut to help the church meet its expenses and even took care of paying the section leaders a few times in order not to have the choir diminished. Many times, she has donated money to cover food costs at musical events. Cheryl is very humble and does not broadcast these acts of kindness.

St. John’s has had ice cream socials, church revues, fundraisers for rebuilding, promotion ceremonies for the children attending St. John’s School, and, almost every time, Cheryl was asked and willingly agreed to play for these events, even when they were outside the realm of her job description. She has also co-produced several Christmas Cantatas with Wayne, joining the choirs of St. Andrew’s and St. John’s.

On September 17, St. John’s showed their love and appreciation of this special lady with an organ tribute concert and reception.




Category: #Communications

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4 replies to “50 Years of Music

  1. George Keith | on September 20, 2023

    Wonderful article about a wonderful person. She has offered to St. John’s so very much. The gala on Sept. 17 was a km a wonderful opportunity to express our thanks and appreciation for what she gives to this church and this community

  2. Alice Burnham | on September 21, 2023

    Saint John’s Episcopal Church Chula Vista is indeed blessed to Cheryl Seppala as Organist and Choir Director. All the attributes given to her are well deserved. The additional help her husband Wayne provides when needed cannot go unnoticed. Thank you both.

  3. Cher Cunningham | on September 21, 2023

    This is a beautiful example of a true servant with a heart for service. Many blessings to you, Cheryl; may
    the Lord bless you a thousand-fold in return.

  4. Jane Ferguson | on September 22, 2023

    Cheryl is one in a million. And St. John’s has been blessed to have had her as our stability for the music program these last 50 years. Besides all the things mentioned in the article, Cheryl does countless other kind deeds for the people of St. John’s and its buildings. It is hard to find words to describe how much she means to our church. May God continue to bless us with her wonderful presence for many many more years to come.

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