Psalm 89:1; 150:6 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
Jonathan Q. Berryman, Director of Music, holds degrees in music from Princeton University and Yale University, and a Sixth-Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University.
As a native of Richmond, Virginia, Mr. Berryman’s love for music as a ministry began at home, where singing hymns with the family and playing instruments was a part of life. His love for music was further nurtured at Moore Street Baptist Church, St. John Baptist Church (Caroline County), Fifth Street Baptist Church, and St Peter’s Episcopal where the mixture of anthems, hymns, gospel, spirituals, jazz, and classical music shaped his understanding of Psalm 150. While attending Princeton, Mr. Berryman served as Director of Music at Monumental Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA. It was there that Mr. Berryman yielded to the call to major in music and to pursue it as a vocation.
Mr. Berryman moved to Connecticut to attend Yale University, and as God would have it, ended up making it home. Prior to coming to Messiah, Mr. Berryman served in musical capacities at Community Baptist Church, Varick A.M.E. Zion Church, and Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church, all located in New Haven, CT.
In his life as a certified music teacher, church musician, and Director of The Heritage Chorale of New Haven Inc., Mr. Berryman has been privileged to direct choirs in performances in a number of venues and for a wide variety of events including the docking and christening of the ship Amistad, The New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Yale University, Long Wharf Theater, The Bruce Museum, the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion and State Capitol, The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and many nursing homes throughout the Greater Bridgeport area. In addition, he, along with the choirs of Messiah, are also featured in a documentary about the evolution of African-American sacred music entitled “You Can’t Sing it for Them,” produced by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
In his efforts to continue to develop as a musician, Mr. Berryman holds membership in the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), The American Guild of Organists (AGO), and The National Association of Music Educators (NAfME). He also is a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) where he serves as Assistant Tenor Section Leader in the Thurston Frazier Chorale.
Mr. Berryman is the recipient of numerous awards including the New Haven Arts Council Award (2005), The Alpha Phi Alpha Distinguished Gentleman Award (2005), the Phi Delta Kappa Golden Apple Award (2008), the New Haven Public School TAPS Award for Distinguished Service (2012) and The Connecticut Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows Award for Outstanding Church and Community Service (2016).