Mocksville Presbyterian music director retiring

Published 10:16 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

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After a career spanning more than 50 years and two continents, Cyrus Bush directed his last choral performance on May 26.

Bush, an ordained minister with a diverse background of religious service, retired Sunday as music director of First Presbyterian Church of Mocksville. He took over FPC’s chancel and bell choirs in fall 2012, just weeks before the church hosted the county’s Community Thanksgiving Service.

“Cyrus stepped in and took over and led the choir beautifully,” said the Rev. Dana Fruits, FPC’s pastor. “That was the beginning of a wonderful working relationship that grew into a great friendship. Cyrus is a team player and it has been a joy being in ministry with him.”

Bush developed an immediate camaraderie with choir and church members that endured throughout his years at First Presbyterian. He acted as a spiritual as well as musical leader in the congregation, according to choir member Glenn Scott.

“Cyrus always pointed our attention toward the true spiritual meaning of our efforts,” said Scott, who also serves as co-chair of the church’s Worship and Music Committee. “And in so doing, our time of preparation alongside him will be forever remembered as a worship service.”

A native of Kentucky, Bush developed a strong faith and a love of music in childhood. He took his first directing job as a teenager, and led church choirs while completing his bachelor’s degree at Cumberland College and master’s degrees in divinity and music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Shortly after receiving his divinity degree, Bush traveled to South Korea as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention. He spent eight years in the country, where he helped establish church music programs, led English-language Bible study classes, and produced a weekly radio program of sacred music.

Bush settled in Winston-Salem following his missionary service. He spent several years as a music director in Baptist and Moravian congregations, while completing coursework to become a certified chaplain. In his years of providing support to hospital patients in Forsyth and Davidson counties, he often incorporated music into his work.

Bush retired from chaplaincy in 2017, but didn’t spend much time at home. In addition to his part-time work at First Presbyterian, he established a new mentoring business called A Confident Performer. He works with musicians and other performers to overcome self-sabotage and stage fright. His retirement from the church will help provide him with more time to devote to that calling.

“I view this retirement as a process of ending a chapter and then beginning another,” he said. “There is excitement about what things and possibilities may unfold, yet at the same time there is a sadness to say farewell to what has become familiar.”

FPC members are disappointed to see Bush leave, but say they have appreciated their time together – even if they sometimes groan at his corny jokes.

“Not only will his rousing musical conducting style be missed, but more importantly will his unselfish love of others, and his devotion to producing Christ-centered anthems and songs that emphasized the sharing of the true message within the song itself are the real absence,” Scott said.

Despite experiencing a touch of sadness at leaving a job he enjoyed, Bush says he was glad to end his career on a high note.

“I can only sing the praises of this congregation for the way they have demonstrated authentic love and support for me and for the ways they have embraced me so enthusiastically. It has been a blessing to work with Rev. Dana Fruits and the other staff members of this church,” he said.

“These have been some of the richest and most fulfilling years of my career. We have all stretched and grown musically as well as theologically. I will greatly miss the constant fellowship of this amazing congregation.”

First Presbyterian is accepting applications for its next music director. Qualified candidates can find more information online at