Eric Sundberg, music director, retires
By Mark Weber
When Eric Sundberg was a junior high student in Battle Creek, Michigan, he planned to study architecture and engineering but at the same time he had a song in his heart and a guitar in h is hand, teaching himself, increasing his talent, unaware that he was headed for a career in music.
That discovery occurred in Germany where he was an Army clerk and spent many hours entertaining with his guitar. Sundberg’s love for music became so strong that he now knew that he wanted to be a full-time musician but also knew that he needed a musical education.
So in 1972 after his Army duty, he enrolled in Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek and then switched to Western Michigan University as a music major studying composition, conducting, keyboard, theory and more guitar technique. It was here that music began to pay off when during a guitar lesson, his instructor said, “Eric, I’ve been accepted in med school, so you will have to take over my guitar students.” Eric was shocked and protested that he knew nothing about teaching. “But you’re my best student.” replied the professor; and with that Eric began giving private lessons and has continued for 40 years.
After graduation, Sundberg went back in the Army as a bandsman, finding ideal duty in Panama as a percussionist in an Army band performing formal concerts, parades, marches, retirement events and more in every country in South and Central America.
In Venezuela, Eric Sundberg heard the high notes when he met his wife to be, Glenis.
They married there and eventually had four sons.
Back at the base in Panama, Eric spent a lot of time with the Catholic chaplain, serving Mass, playing church music, developing a particular interest in that niche.
After Panama, Eric and Glenis, now with two sons, were stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and living in Chicago. They decided to leave Army life so Eric could pursue a career in church music.
To do this, Eric sent resumes to dioceses in the Midwest and received an interesting response from Ed Throm, music director at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Through Ed Throm’s efforts, Eric received an invitation to audition for Father Terry Place, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in New Haven.
He came, he played, he stayed…and has found spiritual fulfillment, personal enrichment through work he loves, plus loads of friends and the enjoyment of teaching children of the children he taught. His special attachment to families; being with them in their deepest moments — weddings, funerals, recitals; describes a unique feeling within Eric Sundberg’s heart and soul that will be unmatched regardless of new interests found in retirement.