About Music at St. Thomas


Parish Musician


Listed as one of Fred Hersch’s “pianists you should know”, and described as “an outstanding pianist, stoked full of creative ideas and limitless technique….totally innovative and luminous” by The Australian (national newspaper), Matthew graduated from the Elder Conservatorium in 2008 having been awarded the prize for top Undergraduate for piano, most outstanding honours student, and having being awarded the Adelaide University Medal for excellence in the humanities.

In 2009 he became the first Australian to win a coveted Downbeat Magazine Student Award, and was offered a scholarship to complete a Masters Degree in Music Performance at Boston’s New England Conservatory, studying with 10-time grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch, and Macarthur Fellow, Jason Moran.

Upon graduating in 2011, Matthew relocated to NYC where has been engaged as composer, bandleader and performer since. In 2014 he was the winner of the APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Award. The same year Matthew was a Freedman Fellowship finalist, performing a set of original music at the Sydney Opera House. Sheens has performed with many musical luminaries including Bob Mintzer, Chris McNulty, Paul Bollenback, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, Jim Pugh, John Hoffman, Tom Patitucci, Jerry Bergonzi, Jon Gordon and performs regularly with bassist John Patitucci. He has performed across Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan, The Netherlands, at the Jazz Hoeilaart International Jazz Festival in Belgium, Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Europafest in Romania, Australia’s Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and at the International Panama Jazz festival in Panama City.

In 2012 Sheens released his debut album, ‘Every Eight Seconds’, to wide acclaim and won the 2013 APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Award. Sheens released his second album ‘Untranslatable’ (ABC Music) in 2014, and ‘Cloud Appreciation Day’ (QFTF) September 2016, which won the ‘Jazz Couleurs Hit Award’ in France. His fourth album,’American Counterpoint’ (QFTF) in 2018, was named Australian Jazz work of the year at the APRA Art Music Awards. In 2019 his first Symphony was premiered by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and orchestrated for the Czech National Symphony Orchestra the same year.



The St. Thomas Choir in Rehearsal:



The heart of the music program at St. Thomas is the Adult Choir, which presents music in worship every Sunday, September – June, and on major feast and solemn occasions. The choir presents a broad and diverse sacred repertoire, ranging from 17th century motets to the most contemporary praise. Comprised of avocational and professional singers, the choir is distinguished by a singular flexibility in mastering varied styles, as well as an exemplary commitment to the St. Thomas worship schedule. Many of the members have sung together in the ensemble for decades, resulting in a rare unanimity of approach to expressive music making. The Choir of St. Thomas prioritizes SERVICE in praise and prayer, in all of its endeavors. It rehearses weekly, Sunday mornings at 8:45 a.m. and at additional times as circumstances require. New members are always welcome, as we love to share our enthusiasm for music in worship, and are most eager to assist new novice or experienced singers in learning the joys of service through music-making in church.



The Children’s Choir of St. Thomas, a resurgent group of singers drawn from the parish’s lively Christian Education program, has emerged this season as a vibrant and essential component of our worship experience. The children rehearse Sundays at 11:15 a.m. during Coffee Hour – providing an invaluable training program of the Anglican traditions of music and worship. Parents may appreciate the opportunity to share fellowship after worship while their children are receiving the nurturing which invites them to join as full participants in our worship experience. The children sing at most Second Sundays while the full Sunday School is attending worship with adults. At St. Thomas we strive to provide an opportunity for the entire family to worship together on these regular occasions.

Children's Choir


The Rev. Carol Gadsden, Rector

Called to St. Thomas in September of 2014, Carol is a native of Syracuse, New York. She is a cradle Episcopalian (she was born, baptized, and raised in the Episcopal Church), who brings over thirty years of ministerial experience in a variety of settings and roles, including rector, priest-in-charge, interim, vicar, chaplain, and youth minister, in the dioceses of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Newark. Her ministry is characterized by the deep and abiding belief that her role is to equip the lower case “s” saints by providing opportunities for education, formation, nurture and support in expectation and hope that parishioners become comfortable and secure in facing the challenges, joys and uncertainties of this world.

In addition to pastoral and ministerial oversight for a  growing congregation, Carol has served the local community as a board member of both At Home on the Sound (an aging in place organization), and the local Summit (an organization that works to facilitate dialogue and collaboration among schools, non-profits, businesses, and citizens in order to promote positive change), and as a chaplain to the Mamaroneck Fire Department.  At the diocesan level, she serves as a Trustee of the diocese, a member of the Commission on Ministry, a diocesan facilitator,  and  the Dean of the Westchester Shore Clericus. She enjoys spending time with her family,  playing golf, and working on organizing her extensive music collection.

Carol is married to Linda March, who is a Senior Engagement Manager with Harvard Business Publishing.  She has two adult daughters – Hilary, who lives in Boston with her husband John; and Courtney, who lives in Brooklyn with her husband Spencer and their son Lucas.

Tami Burks

The Rev. Tami Burks, Associate

Tami was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of New York in October, 2016. Born and raised a Lutheran, she was received into the Episcopal Church in 2007. Before discerning a call to the priesthood, she was a teacher and director of Christian education in a variety of schools and churches in Pennsylvania and New York. She is passionate about Christian formation and loves that St. Thomas’ mission statement professes its welcome to all “seekers, searchers, and doubters”, because she ventures that all of us can find ourselves in one of those categories at any given time.

Tami has been active in the community in a variety of ways over the past 20 years. She currently serves on the board of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Local Summit and on the board of RADAR.  She is also a diocesan facilitator.

She enjoys hiking, journaling, geocaching and playing board games and admits to being ridiculously competitive at times.

Tami has three sons – Alexander who lives in Geneseo, NY and works as a teacher; William who is a junior at SUNY Stonybrook; and Ian who is a junior at Mamaroneck High School.


Eleanor Cotter, Senior Warden

Eleanor lives in Larchmont with her husband and two children and has been a member of the St. Thomas community since 2010.  She works as the Grants and Foundations Manager of My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence and human trafficking agency in Westchester. In addition to non-profit development, Eleanor’s professional background is in corporate and derivatives law: she previously worked as an in-house counsel at Goldman, Sachs & Co., providing legal advice and support to prime brokerage and trading desks.

Since joining St. Thomas, Eleanor has taught Sunday School and served on the Communications and Hospitality committees. She looks forward to taking part in Lent Madness every year.  In her spare time, Eleanor is a volunteer Girl Scout Troop Leader and subscribes to more podcasts than she can reasonably listen to in the week.

Eleanor has a BA in Politics from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a JD from Fordham Law School. Raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, Eleanor was received into the Episcopal church in 2015. A native of Dublin, Ireland, she has been living the New York area since 1996.

Mike Spoonauer, Junior Warden

Throughout his 40-plus years, whether he lived in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston or New York, Mike has always sought out a spiritual community to which he could connect. What drives him is a desire to be a part of something bigger than himself, but also an underlying need to discover how God inspires each of us to impact the world around us.

As a gay man, Mike has always struggled to find a religious organization into which he could theologically “fit”. With the Episcopal Church, he feels that he can embrace the person he is, the husband he loves, and the God whose love and justice influences every major life decision that he makes.

In speaking about St. Thomas Episcopal Church Michael had this to say: “I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of amazing people, many of whom share so much of who they are: aspirations, frustrations, doubts, fears, hopes for the future, and more.  It is the people who make up St. Thomas who will enable me to translate my faith into action, my morality into compassion, my hubris into humility.

If there are things I can contribute to the vestry of St. Thomas, it is God who will surely help me to uncover them, but it is the congregation of St. Thomas who will continually show me, through their own example, how to truly make a difference.”

Steve Bonaparte

Steve was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. His family moved to Darien, Connecticut when he was three years old. He was baptized in the Episcopal Church, but his family decided to bring their children to a local Community Church starting when he was in the fifth grade. That church had an active youth group which had a significant impact on his developing spiritual growth. He continued to attend that church after graduating from college and served on many of the boards and committees, ushered and was a lector as well as the youth group leader. Working as an outdoor maintenance supervisor/trainer at the ARC in Greenwich, he met the woman who would become his wife. After marrying Karen he moved to Larchmont and joined the family with her son AJ and daughter Jen and cat Tiger.

Steve and his wife Karen have been members of St. Thomas church since early 2001, and he has served in a number of capacities since then. He has served twice on the Vestry, been a junior and senior Warden and spent many years on the communications committee and the properties committee. He was also a member of the recent search committee, is a Sunday school teacher, an usher and lector. He helped the Men’s Group get started and continues to take an active role in planning and coordinating the annual retreats to Holy Cross Monastery.

Steve has a BS in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Public Administration and has worked for the City of Stamford for the last 29 years, most recently in the Technology Management Services Department.

Tom Condon

Tom was raised in Montgomery, Alabama and attended First Methodist Church there, where he sang in the choir and was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship. He came to New York while pursuing a career as a ballet dancer. In New York he danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and then went on to tour extensively with many musical theater productions. Since leaving the dance world, Tom has worked in the home furnishing industry and has been with Beauvais Carpets for 26 years.

Tom lives in Mamaroneck with his daughter Allana. He is passionate about painting and gardening and singing in the St. Thomas choir. He was confirmed into the Episcopal Church at St. Thomas where he has been a member for the past 20 years. A former vestry member and stewardship chairman, Tom feels blessed to do service once again for this “loving community”.

Dave Harvey

Dave has been a member of St. Thomas since 2014.  Originally from a small town in Michigan, his first job brought him to the New York metro area and he has been a Westchester country resident for the last 20 years.

After spending most of his adult life without a religious affiliation, an internet search for local churches led him to the St. Thomas link that beckoned “seekers, searchers and doubters welcome.”  That invitation encouraged him to visit one Sunday and he has found a spiritual home with this open-minded, diverse and thoughtful community ever since.

Dave has worked for 20 years in the retail branding and market research industries where he has provided consulting for 50+ companies across 22 countries.  Also passionate about training and education, he has parlayed those skills into Sunday School teaching.

Dave and his wife of 18 years have two boys and live in Rye Brook, NY.  When he is not attending swimming meets and school activities, he loves to run and pretend to play his guitar.

Shahin Heshmat

Shahin was born in Tabriz, Iran. He spent his childhood and most of his teenage years in Tehran with his family. He moved to the US in 1978 and graduated from Hoosac School, an Episcopal high school in upstate New York. After attending Bennington College for two years right after high school, Shahin transferred to New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design in Old Westbury, LI, New York, from which he graduated with a bachelor of science in architectural technology in June 1985.

After his graduation he worked for several architectural firms like Design Collaborative, Inc., and Robert Nerzig and Assoc. on Long Island.

Shahin moved back to Tehran for many years to run his own small architectural office. In his second year of living there he met his wife, Maryam Azizi, while she was a pediatric resident at Mofid Hospital. Their son was born four years after they met and two years after they were married.

Among his many professional achievements is the second prize for Tehran’s largest cultural center architectural competition, and he appeared on a morning TV show as an architect.

For the past 10 years Shahin has been back in the US, and he has worked on projects like Larchmont Children’s Library additions and renovations at the offices of Richard Hein, Architects. He started Design 3 Studio, Inc., providing design services to design-build companies and some private clients.

Shahin and his son Daryoush were baptized at St. Thomas on March 30, 2014. He is also member of the Building and Grounds Committee.

Suzanne Iasenza

Suzanne was born and raised in Westchester. After completing her graduate work, she lived in Manhattan for many years, before returning to lower Westchester.

Suzanne completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at NYU and practices couple and sex therapy in Manhattan. She is on the faculties of several psychoanalytic institutes in the NYC area and also teaches at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York. She has published numerous professional articles and book chapters, and has co-edited two books.

Suzanne also enjoys leisure time including travel, cooking, reading, biking and tennis. Together with her family Suzanne has become an active member of St. Thomas, participating in services and community dinners. Providing opportunities for her children to grow in faith and fellowship has been a major gift from the St. Thomas community.

Lisa Pearson

Lisa was received into the Anglican Communion at the Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, VA in 1983. She served as the Chair of their Outreach Committee and was involved in women’s ministry at COA. While living in the Washington, DC area she used her degree in Arts and Humanities working as a development and public relations associate for the Warner Theater and Arena Stage. She also served a one year appointment with the US Department of Education.

Lisa returned to New York City in 1990, where she joined All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Manhattan and became active in their ministry to the homeless members of the congregation. She received her MS in Special Education and earned a certificate in Educational Administration and Supervision at Hunter College. She worked for the NYC Department of Education as a teacher, literacy specialist and finally as an Assistant Principal, serving mostly in East Harlem and Washington Heights. Lisa moved to Harrisburg, PA in 2007 where she became the principal of Hamilton Elementary School. A career opportunity for her husband Matthew brought them back to the New York area and the Pearson family, including Jacob and Joshua, moved to Mamaroneck in 2010. They attended Christ’s Church in Rye where Lisa served as the director of their nursery school until 2016.


To listen to the sermons of our clergy and guest preachers, open your web browser on any smartphone, tablet, or computer.  Open the page “sermons”, and then click or tap on any sermon you would like to listen to. In case you have trouble hearing the audio, you may have to install an audio player. Here are the links:

The Rev. Tami Burks
      January 12, 2020 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      January 5, 2020 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      December 29, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      December 24, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      December 22, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      December 15, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      December 8, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      December 1, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      November 24, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      November 17, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      November 3, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      October 27, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      October 13, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      October 6, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      September 29, 2019 Sermon
The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, Bishop Suffragan of New York
      September 22, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      September 15, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      September 1, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      August 25, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      August 18, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      August 11, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks and Parishioners
      August 4, 2019 Sermon and Prayers
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      July 28, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      July 21, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      July 14, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      July 7, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      June 30, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      June 23, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      June 16, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      June 9, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      June 2, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      May 26, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Canon Susan Harriss
      May 19, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      May 12, 2019 Sermon
The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, Assistant Bishop of New York, presiding at Confirmation
      May 5, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      May 5, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      April 28, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      April 21, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      April 7, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      March 31, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden and The Rev. Tami Burks
      March 24, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Michael Kurth
      March 17, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      March 10, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      March 3, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      February 24, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      February 17, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      February 10, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      February 4, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      January 27, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      January 20, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Tami Burks
      January 13, 2019 Sermon
The Rev. Carol Gadsden
      January 6, 2019 Sermon

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