Celebrating Black History Month
Mission Commission Profile of the Week
In our church’s modern history, Charles Frost is thought to be our first African American Organist and Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan from 1973 to1976 when he was in Graduate School at Westminster Choir College in Princeton (now part of the Rider University in Lawrenceville). He was born in Long Branch and grew up in Red Bank. After he received his master’s degree, he professionally pursued his passion in organ and choir music as the Organist/Choir Director first in Cherry Hill Trinity Presbyterian Church and then many other churches in California, Long Island, Michigan and eventually South Carolina.
At FPC Matawan, Charles led with three children’s choirs: Cherub, Calvin and Crusader as well as an adult Chancel Choir. He later added Senior High Choir. He organized and conducted special concerts. In our Church’s 1973 Annual Report, the Spiritual Life Commission commended that “Because Charles Frost is always willing to “take the extra step”, our adult and youth choirs became a living spiritual force once again in our Church. Charles Frost helped us at a very important time, and for this we are grateful”.
During a recent interview, Charles recalled that “It [working at FPC Matawan] was a very rewarding experience. I tell people that I learned a lot about Music Ministry while at the Matawan Church. I was allowed to make mistakes. My time there helped me develop into the Minister of Music I would become in the future.” Charles went on to say that “I developed very close relationships with many people. I am still in close contact with people who were in my choirs. I value my time there and will never forget it.” The few choir members to whom he refers include Ann Shafto, Beth Wilkinson, and Rich Dodenhoff. Others are George and Lou Creswell, Dennis and Sandy Walker, Dave and Becky Stamm and Peggy Uhrig.
Charles now lives in Beaufort, SC and retired three and a half years ago from the Sea Island Presbyterian Church where he served for 16 years. At present, he is the organist at the First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. He also travels performing organ recitals. In addition, he participates in several professional organizations, serves on the Boards of Directors for both the Hilton Head and Beaufort Orchestras, and serves as the keyboardist for the Beaufort Orchestra. He also directs the Sea Island Chamber Singers, an auditioned choral group which sings sacred music.