ALTON – Main Street United Methodist Church at 1400 Main St., Alton, has Dr. Harvey Chiles announced as the new Director of Music, Worship and the Arts
“I’ve worked in arts and education all over the world,” said Chiles. “The team I am joining, led by Pastor Alberto Ramirez, is the best group of ministering leaders I have ever met.”
Chiles studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and conducting from Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts in Ohio. He completed postgraduate studies with Metropolitan Opera Star Walter Cassel and taught at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
His choirs toured the UK and performed at the International Youth Music Festival in Harrogate, England. As a teacher at a public music school, his students received consistently high ratings in local and state music competitions in Ohio and Indiana.
Chiles has also been a tenor soloist and character actor, from working opera in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi to singing the lead role of Tim in the world’s first barbershop opera called Something Special.
He has worked for homeless families his entire life and has been recognized for his services by DePauw University and the Dayspring Center for Homeless Families in Indianapolis. His original song, Another Silent Night, received rave reviews when it premiered in Indianapolis by the American Cabaret Theater.
At the urging of his mentor Dr. Donald Yeoman joined the Chiles school administration and was urban and rural headmaster in Illinois and Indiana. As the principal of Richmond High School, Richmond, Indiana, the school was named America’s Best in the Redbook issue of America’s Best Schools and recognized as one of the best high schools in Indiana.
His PhD was from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. received the Katherine Cooper Wright Award for Outstanding School Improvement. Lauderdale Florida. He was named an Outstanding Faculty Member of the University of Missouri St. Louis and received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award as Director of the Office of Field Placements. He completed his school administration career as Headmaster of Noblesse International School, Angeles City, Philippines.
“With the exception of my years as the director of the Noblesse International School, I have been active as a musician and in church music since I was 15,” said Chiles.
Due to the lack of church musicians and keyboardists, he has been a church advisor and interim music director since his return from the Philippines in 2016.
“When Covid hit, most church programs were closed,” he said. “My work then shifted to producing online worship services for multiple congregations.”
Chiles has a son, Robert, who teaches music at Ferguson Florissant Schools. His granddaughter, Zoe, will be a junior in the Edwardsville Schools.
“The history of the music department on Main Street is of a high quality,” said Chiles. “We have chosen the new motto for the church year 2021-2022 -” A song for a new day “- because all churches deal with the catastrophic consequences of Covid in their communities and see 2021-2022 as an opportunity with foresight and thinking.
He said he accepted the position at Main Street UMC because he was impressed with the history of the Church.
“However, I look forward to our future even more as we move forward to leave Covid under the visionary leadership of Rev. Alberto Ramirez and Rev. Kyle Armentrout-Steward,” he said. “The collaboration with my colleague Dr. Ray Landis is the icing on the cake. “