Reuben L. Lillie, baritone, composer, and scholar of music and theology

  • BM, Olivet Nazarene University School of Music
  • MM, Chicago College of Performing Arts
  • MDiv, McCormick Theological Seminary

Baritone, composer, and scholar

I am a baritone, composer, and scholar of music and theology from Greenville, Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Olivet Nazarene University, my wife Stephanie and I moved to Chicago.

Stephanie worked on Michigan Avenue while I was just a few blocks away completing a master’s degree in music performance through the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Since then I have completed a second master’s degree, this time coordinating my Master of Divinity studies through McCormick Theological Seminary with The University of Chicago Divinity School and the other theological schools in Hyde Park: Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Theological Seminary, and The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Now Stephanie works in development at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and I am self-employed as a freelance artist and academician, and I have also joined the faculty at Olivet Nazarene University as an adjunct professor in the School of Music.

I value both the church and the theater.

I believe these two ancient institutions have some work to do together rather than in spite of each other.

They both seek, as I do, to explore the limits of human experience:

  • . . . joy and grief
  • laughter and pain
  • faith and doubt
  • love and suffering
  • time and space . . .

Thinking theologically and making music is the same task for me.

So is thinking musically and becoming more Christlike.

It requires the company of someone else. After all, without an audience to share it, even a solo is only a rehearsal.

“Sharing the message in the music”

It’s more than a tagline; it’s an invitation.

“Sharing the message in the music” is about exploring the limits of human experience together – all that it is and all it can be.

I try to share it whenever I am pondering metaphysics and sanctification as much as when I am singing an aria that has stood the test of time. The same goes for listening.

Because not all songs are happy ones . . .

A message that justly includes happiness and holiness can be hard to come by in this world we struggle to share. Even as I recognize my own limitations, I am finding we can all do more than perhaps we ever thought we could.

This site is an ongoing project.

It is the product of shared experiences with countless audiences, cast members, teachers, classmates, colleagues, friends, and neighbors.

I am not asking for your agreement, but I am asking for your partnership. Thank you for sharing the message in the music with me. The question remains: what can we work on together?