Director of Music Ministry
When Louise Kramer initially agreed to play handbells at The Woodlands UMC 33 years ago, she had no idea the part-time gig would eventually evolve into a full-time position as the church’s current Director of Music Ministry. For one thing, she didn’t feel she was supposed to be there in the first place.
“I told them that I was not interested in playing handbells in the Methodist church because I was Baptist,” she says. “But they were in desperate need of someone to just play handbells.”
She was eventually talked into joining the choir, and when its director left, a certain pastor showed up on her doorstep.
“Next thing I know, Dr. Robb is knocking on my door and saying, ‘I hear you’re a musician. How would you like to be the director of this choir?’” Louise says. “I said, “You don’t understand. I’m Baptist. I don’t really think you want me being the choir director of a Methodist church.’ He goes, ‘Oh no, we do. We’ll be looking for a replacement for you if you’ll just do it as an interim.’ About five years later, I realized he wasn’t really looking for a replacement.”
While Louise continued teaching music to elementary students in Conroe ISD during the day, she worked to build the church’s choir at night and on the weekends.
Louise continued to lead the choir in a part-time capacity. She also oversaw Cross Section and the Goldenaires. About 17 years ago, as the church was experiencing tremendous growth, the administration decided to create the role of Director of Traditional Worship. While Louise wasn’t especially interested at first, she says the Lord woke her up in the middle of the night and told her to apply for the job.
“I woke up thinking, ‘I can’t do that. I need to finish at CISD and retire. It’s too big of a job for me, and they’re never going to hire me. I have an elementary music background,’” she says. “And God woke me up again the second night and said ‘Go apply for that job.’ And so I did.”
She got the job and worked it out where she could teach school in the morning and come work at the church in the afternoon in order to finish her 30 years at CISD and officially retire.
Since then, she’s poured herself into the Traditional Worship program, watching the choir grow from 12 to 100 and overseeing the addition of a full orchestra.
“What’s amazing to me is that it’s been in the same church,” she says. “When I started full-time, we were a 3,000-member church, and we’re now a 12,000-member church.”
Over 30 years on, Louise still loves coming to work every day and rising to the challenge of keeping traditional worship fresh while also embracing the history and theology that has informed it. She enjoys helping craft an experience that is meaningful to both the people on stage and those in the pews.
“It’s my church home,” she says. “I’m invested in these people, and I love the people of the choir and the orchestra. If it was just a job, it would be different. It’s not just a job to me — it’s my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Louise and her husband, John, have two children, Lance and Jessica, and one grandchild.