Susan DeSelms, organist, has served as the Minister of Music and Organist at the United Parish in Brookline for over 20 years. With the support of the church, she developed and launched Negro Spiritual Royalties Project to raise awareness of the role Spirituals have played in the church and in the American music industry at large. The goal of the project is to pay royalties to institutions that support Black artists and musicians. The project has inspired replication by choirs and choruses throughout the U.S.
Ms. DeSelms was invited to chair the 2017 National UCC Musicians Association Conference in Boston, Empowering Musicians, Transforming Communities, which featured innovative musicians, educators, and spiritual leaders in the Greater Boston community, and served church musicians from across the U.S. and Canada.
In 2011, she commissioned, co-directed, and played the virtuosic organ part in the critically acclaimed oratorio, The Son of Man, composed by Kareem Roustom for the United Parish, which featured the United Parish chancel choir and Coro Allegro, Boston’s LGBTQ+ and allied chorus, instrumentalists, and soloists. The piece received critical acclaim in The Boston Globe and received Chorus America's ASCAP/Alice Parker award.
Ms. DeSelms studied organ performance and choral conducting at Birmingham Southern College, Indiana University, and Boston University, and has performed as an organist in concert with numerous choruses in the Boston area. She is also the choir director and Shabbat pianist at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA, and annually brings both church and temple choirs together to lead joint worship services.