Celebrating over 120 Years of Service
Stewart is the Director of Music and Organist of the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, Florida. He left a prestigious position in Los Angeles, where for eight years he served as Organist in Residence for the First Congregational Church, one of L.A.’s most historic churches.
A consummate performer on the pipe organ, harpsichord and piano, and an expert accompanist and vocal coach, Stewart’s performances have been praised by critics worldwide. According to a review by The Dallas Morning News of one of his most recent concerts, “You can play the organ differently, but you can’t play it any better than Stewart Wayne Foster . . . [He played] with technical finesse second to none and an Apollonian elegance of expression.”
Mr. Foster is a native of Florida, where he studied organ as an undergraduate at Stetson University. He went on to receive his Master’s degree in the harpsichord and early music from the University of North Texas and, in organ, his Diplôme de Concertiste from the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where he lived for five years. While there, he was staff continuo player with L’Orchestre de St. Louis-en-l’Ile, and accompanist for the Paris Choral Society, in addition to serving as assistant organist at the American Cathedral in Paris. His many awards include the Gold Medal and Audience Prize at the 1997 Dallas International Organ Competition; first prize at the William Hall Organ Competition; first prize at the École Normale de Musique; and first prize at the American Guild of Organists’ Regional Competition.
Known for his vast and eclectic repertoire, Mr. Foster has performed as soloist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Augusta Symphony and the Charleston Symphony, and has accompanied numerous fine choral groups and vocalists throughout his career. He has released one CD recording of French Symphonic organ works on the Towerhill label. He recently released a new CD on the historic Huguenot Church organ in Charleston, South Carolina. He has been interviewed several times on NPR’s Pipedreams. He co-produced a new DVD documentary on the world’s largest church pipe organ at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles. Mr. Foster has provided organ music for the film “Marie Antionette” (2006) and for the television show “Ugly Betty.” Recent performances include the Washington National Cathedral, the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and, in 2008, a solo recital for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. He appeared as a soloist in a recent DVD production highlighting the Rosales pipe organ in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. This summer, he will be presenting recitals and master classes for the Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists and for the Disciples of Christ Annual Summer Music Conference.
The Crandalls are not new to the Royal Poinciana Chapel. Christian grew up in Palm Beach and attended Sunday School here as a child.
Christian and Ashley graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University, both with degrees in entrepreneurial leadership. They were married here at the Chapel and have two children, Grant and Hudson.
In the Fall of 2012, desiring to become involved at the Chapel with their expressive love for God and appealing heart for youth, Christian and Ashley became instrumental in their leadership and facilitation of the Chapel’s attractive and most popular “Friday Night Live” ministry to an ever expanding number of middle school students. They established the Chapel’s Great Lawn and Seagull Cottage as the place to be on Friday nights.
We are grateful to God that they are here, available, and wanting to join the Chapel staff. Together, Christian and Ashley, with a great team of teachers and youth leaders, will continue with our support and encouragement to grow an attractive, exciting and enriching ministry to children and youth here at the Royal Poinciana Chapel.
Mrs. Debbie Norris, Office Administrator
Mrs. Catherine D’Agostino, Finance Administrator