Ron Klusmeier lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He composes, arranges, and edits new music for worship and serves as a resource consultant for churches throughout Canada and the U.S. Ron provides leadership at churches, conferences, and special events throughout North America each year.
He has worked in music and arts as a full-time ministry since 1971 as a composer, editor, and arranger. Ron’s freelance work includes leading workshops, seminars, concerts, and worship celebrations. He has worked with nearly 2,000 churches in every Canadian province and almost every U.S. state.
As a composer, Ron collaborates with authors Walter Farquharson (Canada), Ruth Duck (U.S.A.), Fred Kaan (England), Brian Wren (U.S.A.), Shirley Erena Murray (New Zealand), Sheelah Megill (Canada), Lorne Robson (Canada), and John Oldham (Canada). He has hundreds of selections published by over 75 denominations and publishing companies worldwide.
Voices United, hymn book of the United Church of Canada, contains more hymn tune compositions by Ron than by any other contributor. More Voices, the recent supplement to Voices United, includes yet more of Ron’s hymn tunes. In addition, his compositions are featured in the new Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic hymn-books in Canada as well as many denominational hymn-books in the U.S.
Ron served the Head Office of the United Church of Canada as National Music Ambassador and simultaneously directed music programmes in two Mississauga, Ontario churches; one United and one Roman Catholic. He has also served as Minister of Music at St. David’s United Church (Calgary, Alberta); Glebe-St. James United Church (Ottawa, Ontario); Central Presbyterian Church (Cambridge, Ontario), and Knox United Church (Parksville, BC). For three years he did freelance work based at the Naramata Centre for Continuing Education in British Columbia. In the United States he has directed congregational music programmes for United Church of Christ, United Methodist, and Roman Catholic churches.
Ron has provided freelance broadcast services as musician, writer, composer, and worship leader for the Religious Department of CBC Television, Prairie Regional Broadcasting Service and Alberta Interfaith. He was retained as contract consultant for Religious Music and Arts for three years by the Alberta Government Department of Cultural Affairs.
In 1978 he was selected by the Government of Canada as “Outstanding Young Man of the Year.” That same year he composed the 1978 World Day of Prayer theme hymn.
He composed the music for the cantata, “God’s Gentle Gift” (1993 United Church Television Network Christmas Special on VISION-TV; words by Walter Farquharson). In 1994 he produced the National Tour for the musical, “For Nineveh’s Sake!” based on the Old Testament story of Jonah (words by Walter Farquharson, music by Ron Klusmeier).
“Walls That Divide” with music by Ron and words by Walter Farquharson was created as a theme hymn for the 1975 Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya. Ron’s hymn, “Praise to the Lord,” was chosen to represent the people from North America at the Recommitment Service of the 50th anniversary meeting of the World Council of Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe, December, 1998.
In 1999 Ron completed the music for “Stay With Us,” a new Easter Cantata with words by Walter Farquharson (commissioned by Knox United Church Choir, Parksville, BC and premiered in Comox and Parksville for Easter 1999; directed by the composer and narrated by the author).
In 1999 he released two new original recordings: HYMNS FOR MINNIE solo piano improvisations based on popular hymn tunes; and CATHEDRAL GROVE/Island Inspirations solo piano improvisations inspired by the beauty, wonder, and people of Vancouver Island.
In September and October of 2000 Ron produced “NOEL from Vancouver Island.” This ecumenical music project, produced as a co-operative effort by Canadian West Coast families of faith, brought together over 200 singers and musicians (representing 22 churches from Central Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island) to record 14 Christmas carols for which Ron specially created the choral and instrumental arrangements. A sequel, “Noel 2—Each Has the Face of Bethlehem Child”, was released in November 2001.
HYMNS FOR HEINZ, a 2002 recording, is a tribute to Ron’s dad who died in 2000. This solo piano CD consists of improvisations based on some of Heinz’s favourite hymn tunes.
Ron’s solo piano recording, HYMNS WITH WALTER (released in January 2006), celebrates the long relationship with author Very Rev. Dr. Walter Farquharson. It features some of the many melodies which have been inspired by Walter’s texts.
At the May 4, 2002 Convocation of St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, Ron was the recipient of an Honourary Doctor of Divinity Degree in recognition of his ministry and contributions to the worship life of the church.
In February 2008, Ron was nominated to be the 40th moderator of the United Church of Canada by Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery in British Columbia. Following a time of deep discernment, Ron made the difficult decision in December 2008 to withdraw his nomination. From Ron: “Being nominated as a candidate for the highest elected office in the United Church of Canada was an overwhelming honour. Because the position is full-time and involves significant travel, one of the unknowns I had to address was the impact the three year commitment of serving as Moderator would have on the creative part of my calling. I would have dearly loved offering spiritual leadership to the church had I been elected. However, it was important to face the reality that choices needed to be made about how I would spend my time over the next three years and I could not imagine putting at risk the time for writing and composing which has been such an important part of my ministry. I do hope the time will come when an artist will become the Moderator as the church does the hard work of discovering its relevance and role in the 21st century.”
In 2012, Ron traveled to Ethiopia on a study tour with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. This trip served as preparation for a 10-month cross-Canada concert tour which started in August, 2012. This "Tour of a Lifetime" benefited both CFGB and the United Church Observer (the monthly magazine of the United Church of Canada). Upon completion of the tour, Ron resumed writing and recording from his rural Vancouver Island home.
In 2014, another working trip on behalf of Canadian Foodgrains Bank took Ron & Christina to West Africa. In Sierra Leone, as part of a Canadian delegation, they lived in community with the residents of Ngieya Fillie, an isolated village in the Bo District. The same journey included visits with Canadian Foodgrains Bank aid recipients in the sub-Saharan, land-locked country of Burkina Faso which suffered severe famine in 2012.
After returning from Africa in 2014, Ron & Christina were privileged to travel to New Zealand to meet Shirley Erena Murray and her husband, John, in person for the first time. After many years of Shirley and Ron's email collaborations, this precious time together was a real highlight for all four.