The goal of CMS is to offer a first-rate musical education for all, nurturing individuals and the community through professional instruction and inspiring music as an outreach program of Calvary Church Episcopal. 


CMS Board of Directors

Jim Taylor, Treasurer
Jim Taylor, his wife, Lori, and two daughters, Katie and Jamie, moved to Stonington 10 years ago from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania.  He has been an active member of Calvary Church having served on the Vestry for 3 years and participating on several committees and in community outreach programs.  He is currently in his third year as the Music School Board President.  Professionally, Jim has spent over 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry in a variety of middle and senior level roles.  When not working, he enjoys golf, boating, and spending time with his family.

The Rev. Dr. W. Alfred Tisdale, Jr., Rector
The Rev. Dr. Alfred Tisdale comes to Calvary from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale where he is in his fourth year as “Associate Dean / Director of Anglican Studies & Formation.” Having completed many years of successful parish ministry, his teaching has focused on parish leadership and practical ministry skills. He also supervises seven worship services each week for the students, and is called upon as both a mentor and pastor to the seminarians. Alfred’s wife, The Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale, is a Presbyterian minister who serves as Professor of Preaching at Yale Divinity School. They have enjoyed working together at the seminary, but Alfred’s heart has always been in the Parish, and he has been longing to return to serving a local congregation.  In the early 90’s, Nora took a position on the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary and Alfred became Sr. Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in the nearby charming colonial village of Cranbury. There he led the congregation to call a second Assoc. Pastor which resulted in significant growth in the Christian formation programs and outreach of the church. Throughout this time, however, the call of Canterbury remained strong. So, in the late 90’s, he took time off to return to The General Theological Seminary in NYC for a graduate degree in Christian Spirituality & Spiritual Direction. In 2000, Alfred took over the reigns of the historic (c. 1717) Presbyterian Church on the Green in Basking Ridge, NJ. This 1600-member parish was known for its magnificent sacred music programs and excellent youth ministries. Still, it was Alfred’s study in Oxford during the summer of 2005 that finally convinced him that the time had come to formally make the change. He followed his love for Episcopal liturgy and the Anglican Tradition on a journey that culminated with his ordination as Priest in the Diocese of CT. Today, he also serves part-time on the staff of Christ Church (Episcopal) in New Haven. With extensive parish experience, a pastor’s heart, and a love for the Episcopal Church, he serves as Rector of Calvary.

Joseph Ripka, Artistic Director
Joseph Ripka received the prestigious Artist Diploma in organ from the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with James David Christie.  He holds Master of Music degrees in piano and organ performance from the University of Kansas and Bachelor of Music degrees in piano and organ performance from Saint Cloud State University, MN.  His previous teachers include James Higdon, Charles Echols, Jack Winerock, Carmen Wilhite, and Yakov Gelfand.  He has coached with Olivier Latry, Marie Claire Alain, Wilma Jensen, Jean-Baptiste Robin, John Scott, and Phillipe Lefebvre.   Joseph recently completed further graduate studies at the Yale Institute of Sacred music, where he studied organ with Martin Jean and organ improvisation with Jeff Brillhart.  At Yale, he was the recipient of the Robert Baker stipend, which is given to a student deemed to be among the top 1 or 2 percent of the young organists in the country, the 2010 Charles Ives Prize by the Yale School of Music as the most outstanding organ student, the 2010 Mary Baker scholarship in organ accompanying by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the 2011 Alumni Prize awarded by the Yale School of Music.  Joseph is organist and choirmaster at Calvary Church (Episcopal) in Stonington, CT

Lois Cole, President
Lois Cole grew up in Minneapolis in a music-loving family where the only place singing was frowned upon was at the dinner table.  She studied piano and organ for many years.  While in college, she sang with the university chorus and the chamber choir.  Since moving to Stonington, she has resumed her piano studies and is a member of the Calvary Church Choir.  She believes strongly in the life-enhancing value and importance of music education for both children and adults.  As a Board member, she supports the mission of CMS to provide excellence in tuition and increased access to financial aid, and to expanding the role of adult music education and performance opportunities.  

Rick Bromley, Secretary
Rick Bromley is a lifelong resident of Stonington and a fourth generation member of Calvary Church. Rick and his wife Daryl have been married for 38 years and reside in Mystic. They have two grown sons, Christopher and Gregory. Rick has served on as a member of the Calvary Vestry, Building and Grounds Committee, and Rector Search Committee. He is currently serving his second term on the Vestry and is the Vestry Representative to CMS. Music has been a lifelong love for Rick that he expresses as a member of the Calvary Ringers. Rick has witnessed the beginnings of CMS and has watched it grow and flourish. Rick holds degrees in graphic design and advertising, and for the past 24 years, has enjoyed owning and operating The Holly Wreath Christmas Shop in Stonington.

Robert Guarino
Robert Guarino holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from URI and a Masters Degree in Voice Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He has been tenor soloist in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall in New York City and has appeard with the Boston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and the Opera Orchestra of New York. Mr. Guarino has sung leading roles with many regional opera companies and was a first prize winner in both the Washington International Competition for Singers and the Liederkranz Awards. He was invited for three consecutive years to be on the Fulbright National Screening Committee. He is excited to be a new CMS Board member to help promote music education in the community and provide opportunities to a wide range of interested students.

Fouad Janat

Fouad Janat, his wife Eugenie and two sons, Bereket and Tsegaye, are residents of Westerly, Rhode Island. Fouad and his wife moved here from the DC area in 1998. His son Tsegays is a Calvary Chorister and is a piano student of the Calvary Music School. Professionally, Fouad is a molecular biologist with experience in academia as well as the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. He is also an active community volunteer, coaching soccer and lacrosse as well as serviing as a YMCA Reach and Rise mentor. In his spare time, Fouad enjoys spinning, world cup soccer, and listening to his sons'  piano/saxophone jazz duets.

Meg Raftis

Music has been an important part of Meg Raftis's life beginning with "rhythm band" in the 2nd grade. In the 5th and 6th grades she and her classmates sang at funerals at St. Mary Church in Plainfield, N.J. They sang the Latin Requiem Mass just as Durufle wrote it, with, yes, the "Dies Ire" included!  But, Meg was in college when she fell passionately in love with classical music after a friend loaned her his collection of LPs. Her favorite composers are Mendelssohn and Haydn. Meg has sung with many choirs and is a member of the Calvary Church bell choir. Her choral instructors used to say that when you sing you pray twice. Meg likes to think that when you ring, you do too.