He who sings prays twice - St. Augustine. It is said that music reaches the soul when words cannot and that the combination of words and music can move into the very core of humanity. God’s love, care, and strength have been imagined through music more effectively than words can convey. The beginning comes in the marriage of music and text. The result of that marriage can be a conduit into that thin space where God is so keenly felt. It is found in the warmth and assurance of Maurice Duruflé’s setting of Ubi Caritas (Where true love and charity are found, God is there) or in the strength and power and lamentation of Anton Bruckner’s Christus factus est(Christ became obedient for us unto death, even to the death, death on the cross). The goal is for the singer and conductor to become joined with the music. It is an ever evolving process and sometimes the most poignant revelations come at the last. It is so closely related to spiritual development, a revelation that occurs from one minute to the next can open a new vision of God’s love.
ST. JOHN’S CHOIR June, 2021: Our organist, Jon Lafleur, has organized a small group of vaccinated singers to assist in our worship by singing hymns in harmony from the Chancel. Quiet, masked congregational singing of hymns and the Propers will be tried as well. Prayer Books, Hymnals, and Bibles are located in the designated pews, though we will keep the long, full and complete version of the bulletin.
The St. John’s Choir sings the liturgies of Holy Eucharist and Choral Evensong from September through early June, offering psalms, canticles, anthems and motets from our rich Anglican musical heritage. Additionally, the Choir sings at special liturgies, including Christmas Eve and the Triduum of Holy Week. Our repertoire draws from a broad range of musical styles: plainsong, Renaissance polyphony, Baroque chorales, Classical choruses, Anglican Chant and English anthems from the 16th century to the present. The Choir is open to members of the Parish as well as the community.
The Music Program
The Music Program at St. John’s is a vital component of the life of the church. Music is an integral part of worship and every member of the music program is committed to provide quality liturgical music.
Music offers us an opportunity to come together in a community of creative spirit. The timeless sound of sacred music suggests another way of being, separate from the everyday. It combines both the sacred and human dimensions and its sound world is a place where we can be made more apt for the Divine.
As we pray every Thursday evening at rehearsal, we come together to “perfect the praises offered by Your people on earth.” This refers not only to Sunday mornings, special services and rehearsals. We pray for guidance throughout our lives. The commitment to the singing of sacred music does not stop at the end of Sunday morning. It is a way of life that informs how we choose to live our lives.
As human beings, we long for the transcendent. Our souls sense Deep calling to deep. The holy blend of sacred sound and sacred text blesses those who sing and those who listen.
Unless one believes, truly believes, in what one is doing, it is impossible to sing with understanding. And understanding is not easily come by. It takes a creative mind to respond the Creator’s mind. It takes a holy spirit to receive the Holy Spirit.
The goal, then, is to strive for that blend of body, mind and spirit; to try to balance them and pray for peaceful co-existence of all. And in that struggle lies the sublime expression of the Word of God.