Passing the Baton: Yvonne to Tom

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This press release announces Yvonne Macdonald’s retirement and Tom Shelton’s appointment as director of music for children and youth

“When children and youth feel what the lyrics are saying, the beauty comes alive,” says Tom Shelton. He is the new director of music for children and youth at Princeton United Methodist Church (PUMC), succeeding Yvonne Macdonald, who retired from that post after 40 years.

“Passing the baton to Tom Shelton is a joy and an honor for me,” says Macdonald. “Easing the transition is my belief that seeds sown over the years both in faith–and in music — are blossoming. I know the choirs are in excellent hands.”

With 22 years of youth choir experience, Shelton has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is assistant professor of sacred music at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and conducts the Princeton Girlchoir’s high school ensemble. He is also a prolific composer and aims to write special pieces for the PUMC choirs, ages three through high school. Shelton will be assisted by Anna de Groot.

Schools can teach character development, says Shelton, “but in church we can teach spiritual values. I encourage each child to relate the essence of the song to a personal experience in their lives.”

“We plan to make no immediate changes to PUMC’s excellent youth music program,” says Shelton.

Located at the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer in Princeton, PUMC is a diverse congregation whose members come from many surrounding communities, backgrounds, and faith histories. For information on joining the PUMC choirs, call 609-924-2613 or or