Henry "Hank" Tharpe
Henry Tharpe, collaborative keyboard musician, received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). He has been the
Assistant Choral Director/Accompanist. Instructor of AP Music Theory at Harlingen High
School South, in Harlingen Texas, since August 2012. He is currently the Organist for First
United Methodist Church in San Benito, Texas.
Mr. Tharpe began his career as a church musician accompanying childrens choirs in the seventh grade, and assumed the Organist duties by the ninth grade. While in college, he accepted the position of Organist/Orchestra Manager for First Baptist Church in West Monroe, Louisiana in 1989. At FBC, Mr. Tharpe, in collaboration with other keyboard musicians, planned and performed the annual “Keyboard Kaleidoscope” program – featuring music for piano, organ, piano and organ duet, two pianos, and multiple piano (8) ensemble pieces. While at FBC, he was frequently invited to accompany conferences in Glorieta New Mexico, Ridgecrest North Carolina, and Green Lake Wisconsin.
In 2001, Mr. Tharpe accepted the Organist position at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in
Monroe Louisiana. Responsibilities at SPUMC included accompanying the Chancel Choir, two
morning worship services, scheduling guests musicians for special events, including Sundays in August – a concert series during Sunday Morning worship services.
As a collaborative pianist, Mr. Tharpe has performed works in conjunction with “Composer in Residence” clinics featuring Libby Larsen, Gwyneth Walker, William Bolcomb, and Stephen Paulus. He has also accompanied masterclasses for Dr. Claire Vangelisti, Jubilant Sykes, and Chanticleer. His teachers include Ms. Coralie White, Dr. Richard Seiler, Mr. Charles Eve and Dr. Stephen Distad. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, American Choral Directors Association, and the American Guild of Organists.
“Alas for those who do not sing, but die with all of their music in them!”
That phrase has been my “mantra” for many years. And I didn’t hear it in a Christian church – but while accompanying Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in a Jewish Synagogue for many years. My role as a church musician has always been to prepare, engage, and inspire congregations to enter into a time of worship ready to hear God’s word spoken. My hope, at FUMC, San Benito, is that as we become closer acquainted, each person in the congregation feels that they are not only invited to sing, but they have been given permission to sing out!
Soli Deo Gloria!