Meet the Music Editor: Tammy-Jo Mortensen

December 27, 2023
Image of music editor Tammy-Jo Mortensen against the Meet the Team banner

I have had the pleasure of working in many different denominations in Canada, yet the majority of my career has been spent in various positions within The United Church of Canada. While I was baptized Lutheran, my family wasn’t really the churchgoing type, so for me, it all started with my first “position” as an assistant organist in my undergrad. The music director said to me, “Go get a bulletin from the narthex,” and I said, “A what? From where?” I certainly had a LOT to learn! After my first Sunday, I thought, Seriously, you do this every week? and I was hooked! From that moment, I knew this would become a career and truly a vocation. And here I am, almost 35 years later, still hooked!

Throughout my career, it has been important to me to seek out education and experiences that take my musical and leadership skills to a higher level, and I have found those opportunities in my many church positions. Continually learning and then creating opportunities for others to worship through music, arts, and the word is still a passion.

I also have a Bachelor of Music in Organ from the University of Alberta, a Master of Music in Organ from McGill University, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting, also from the U of A. My musical work has allowed me to perform and conduct in places throughout North America as well as in Europe and Asia.

I enjoy the tasks I do as Music Editor of Gathering, and I can’t believe I’ve been able to work on this project for over 10 years! I especially love the connections I make with other church musicians across the country. The people who work together on Gathering are amazing, wise, and thoughtful, and I am so thankful for them. I always look forward to receiving submissions from all of you, compiling material, meeting with the team, editing, and proofreading. That's a lot of work for a small number of paid hours, so please be patient if I don't respond to you right away!

All the time and effort that went into getting off the ground was immense, and we hope that, as you use it, you will discover the power of the search engine, which can find just the right thing in the vast quantity of material already there—and more is being added every day.

Yet compiling and editing music for Gathering is just a small part of my larger musical life. In addition, I teach private music lessons, I’m the harpsichordist for the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and I conduct a community handbell ensemble. I have also worked with many groups as an arts administrator, and I’m currently the Operations Manager of the Korora (formerly Kokopelli) Choir Association in Edmonton.

I love using what others call my “eagle eyes” for editing and proofreading church bulletins or Gathering, but you also can find me researching and producing my weekly radio show Maple Infused Classic Breakfast on or falling asleep reading the same three paragraphs night after night of whatever book I am trying to tackle at the time! Of course, I make sure to enjoy spending time with friends and family, playing board games, planning date nights with my husband, and being creative in the kitchen