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Jared Shepard plays the organ at St. Matthew’s Mass in August 2012.

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Not your average ordinaries

East Syracuse church performs traditional Gregorian chant with a twist

Jared Shepard isn’t afraid to go against the norm. When he was hired as the Minster of Music and Organist at St. Matthew’s Church in East Syracuse two years ago, he was already experienced as a classical musician, having studied with pupils of legendary Juilliard pianists Irwin Freundlich and Eduard Steuermann. Though his experience in sacred music was limited, in the two years he’s been developing the music program, he has successfully made St. Matthews different from nearly all other churches in Central New York by performing Gregorian chant: a type of music that was once a staple in the Catholic Church, but is now rarely performed.

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