Music Ministry

Music Minister

Leslie Tracey is the Music and Communications Director at Crawford. She has been in the music ministry since she was 13 years old and has formally been a Music Minister in various Methodist and Seventh-day Adventist Churches over the last decade. She most recently served for three years at Poughkeepsie UMC in New York as Traditional Music Director and Organist and held various teaching roles over the years. A violinist, vocalist, and organist, Leslie studied Sacred Music (non-accredited vocational school) at the HSDA Theological Seminary. She went on for further undergraduate work and studied English Literature with a minor concentration in Music at Western Connecticut State University. Outside of her musical pursuits, Leslie has an active career in Finance with New York Life. Alongside of her music ministry and financial work she enjoys hiking, volunteering on behalf of the youth, traveling, writing, public speaking, socializing both online and in person and spending time with her partner Jan who is a Creative Director/Videographer and a violinist in Andover, MA.

Questions? Leslie can be reached at music@crawfordumc.org or 845-902-8409.

Organist/Pianist

Helena Veranian has been the devoted Organist and Accompanist of Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church since 1995. “I enjoy and appreciate the emotional support of the big church family I have here”, says Helena. She received her MA in Piano Performance and Choir Conducting from Erevan Conservatory (Armenia). Prior to Crawford, Helena was the organist at St. James Apostolic Church in Los Angeles. She has Participated in more than 500 concerts throughout Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and the United States. Helena is married to Maestro Arthur Veranian. They have two daughters, Veronica and Cristina.

Musical Groups – September through June

Chancel Choir

Thursdays @ 7:30 pm in the Music Room
The Chancel Choir is Crawford’s most active music group. Composed of professional and amateur singers, this group blesses Crawford each and every week with their music ministry. Those who are 16+ are encouraged to join us. The group sings everything from classical to gospel and contemporary. If you believe that the spirit is calling you to sing, we invite you to attend any Thursday rehearsal so you can see if you like it before you officially join.

Bell Choir

Thursdays @ 6:30 pm in the Music Room
Through a generous donation in 2004, Crawford acquired a full set of handbells and handchimes. Our group boasts a ringer as young as 11 years old and they are a strong and dedicated group. We could always use more Bellers! Those who are 10+ are encouraged to join us. No experience is necessary and if you are not sure what to do you will be paired with a more experienced ringer who will be your mentor until you become proficient. The Bell Choir ministers 1-2 times per quarter and we would be delighted to have you. Special times of note are during Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons.

“I love the bells, it is the highlight of my week!”
Laura Hankin

Children’s Choir

Sundays @ 9:30 am
This wonderful group of children meets on Sundays for a sing-along session. Children ages 5-11 are encouraged to attend with their parents, and older children ages 11-15 are encouraged to help the little ones on Sunday morning. Our team is blessed to have Greta Rubenstein lead the children in warm-ups and Jessica Rubenstein as the second adult alongside the Music Minister. The children minister for the congregation once a quarter and we invite and encourage you to come out and support your child in the arts!

Special Ensembles and Other Opportunities

If none of these appeal to you yet you play an instrument, our Music Minister is available to arrange special ensembles or for you to be a soloist during the service. We encourage our community to use their gifts in the service of others. One of our members, Bryan Hilliard, is a professional trumpet player and owner of Occasional Brass & Strings. He often joins the 10:45 am service, and brings in professional musicians for Christmas, Easter, and other special occasions.