Duncan Dance Chicago_dress rehearsal for program entitled "Convergence" at Jeffrey Ballet Tower, Chicago_Saturday, April 29, 2017_Photography by John H. White.


Erik Nussbaum, Director of Music and the Arts

Erik Nussbaum has served as Director of Music and the Arts since August 2004, and continues to lead and guide the Music Ministry at the Temple toward important, thoughtful, and impactful musical experiences with energy, enthusiasm, and love.  He earned a B.A. in Music, graduated cum laude, from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, under the mentorship of Dr. Laura Lane. He became a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded several music awards, including the Clarence Hubert Johnson Award and the Janet Grieg Post Prize in Music.  He began composing his first songs and choral works while at Knox under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Polay.  Afterwards, Erik attended Westminster Choir College, completing a M.M. in Choral Conducting in 1996. Following his education, Erik returned home to Illinois to work at Washington Presbyterian Church, Carl Sandburg Community College, and his alma mater, Knox College.  In 2000, he earned a position with the Chicago Children’s Choir as an In-School Conductor.  He served with the CCC for six years, during which time he was also employed at Grace UMC in Naperville for two years, directing the Youth and Children’s music until 2004, when he was chosen to lead the music ministry at the Temple. Erik has been married to his best friend Karen, an accomplished soprano for 15 years.

Dr. Phillip Kloeckner, Principal Organist
Phillip Kloeckner's musical soul has found deep resonance in a wide variety of contexts in many places around the globe. His mission is to bring positive, transformative, and inspiring energy to his audiences through the beauty and thoughtfulness of his interpretations of both standard and less-recognized literature, and through instinctive and intuitive improvisations.

Although his primary focus is performing as an organist, harpsichordist, piano accompanist, and conductor, Dr. Kloeckner maintains a profound commitment to teaching and mentoring developing musicians. He completed ten years on the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, teaching applied organ, music theory, aural skills, figured bass and continuo, keyboard skills, score reading, and courses in church music. In 2013 he joined the music faculty of the University of Chicago and the staff of Rockefeller Chapel in a similar position and now serves as the Principal Organist at The First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple. He is also the accompanist for ResonaTe , Chicago's first choir serving the transgender community.

He has broad experience as an organist and choir director in numerous church and synagogue denominations that spans more than thirty years. An adjudicator in organ competitions and a sought-after leader of workshops and retreats on subjects ranging from organs, organ playing, and organ literature to a wide variety of topics in church music and liturgies, Dr. Kloeckner served for almost twenty years on the Music Commission of the Diocese of Texas and recently completed two years on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the American Guild of Organists

Dr. Kloeckner is the artistic director of the Chicago International Organ Academy, a new educational initiative centered at The Chicago Temple that provides specialized training for organists of all ages and skill levels around the world. Additional information about Phillip Kloeckner's professional activities and performance schedule may be found on his website:

Rev. Kelly Tiebout, Saturday Evening Worship Accompanist



Led by eight section leaders, the 35-voice Temple Choir continues to grow. The choir learns and sings music from all eras of music history and from many of the world’s cultures that is appropriate for both the season and the liturgy of the day. Our repertoire is vast and worldly, and we sing in many languages. The choir enhances our worship greatly by leading in hymn singing, presenting anthems, and often solos every Sunday during the 11:00am service. Rehearsals are every Wednesday evening from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the 3rd Floor Choir Room.

The Choir's section leaders are:
Karen Nussbaum, soprano 1
Katherine Bruton, soprano 2
Kate McDuffie, alto 1
Brenna Boncosky, alto 2
Josh Pritchett, tenor 1
Jim Parsons, tenor 2
Daniel Grambow, baritone
Bob Trautvetter, bass



The 12-voice Gospel Choir sings the authentic music of the African-American tradition, past and present. The ensemble sings during the 8:30 a.m. worship service on the first and third Sunday of each month. They rehearse every Tuesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Choir Room.
The Gospel Choir's section leaders are:
Melanie Loren Ragland, soprano
Darnetta Jones, alto/tenor



The Temple Strings are led by violinist David Myford, and sustained by amateurs of various age and skill level. They provide excellent music for worship in a variety of ways throughout the year: as soloists, as an ensemble, and as a chamber ensemble supporting a soloist or the choir. They rehearse regularly either at 9:30am or at 12:15pm in the 3rd Floor Choir Room on Sundays, as arranged by their director.



The majority of the Temple’s eleven-member Handbell Ensemble have been playing together for eight years. They play a wide variety of sacred music with a 3 octave set of Schulmerich Brass bells and 3 octaves of Suzuki hand chimes. They rehearse on Monday evening from 6:00pm to 7:00pm and play in worship for the 11:00am service on the second Sunday of each month. Erik Nussbaum is the director.