The Choir of St. John's
The Choirs of St. John's sing 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. They also perform for 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.
St. John’s Chancel Choir is a mixed-voice, four-part (SATB) ensemble dedicated to musical excellence and the joy of collaborative music-making within the context of worship. 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 group includes volunteer singers from the parish and wider community as well as professional choral scholars and section leaders. The Chancel Choir typically sings during the 10:00 am service on Sundays, providing leadership for congregational hymns, psalms, and service music, and presenting a special Offertory Anthem. The ensemble is open by audition to singers of all ages and experience levels who can “carry a tune”, blend well, and follow a musical score. Advanced sight-singing skills are helpful but not required. Regular weekly rehearsals are held on Sundays from 9:15 am - 9:45 am, and occasional supplementary rehearsals may be arranged if and when necessary. Individuals who wish to participate in the Chancel Choir from time to time are absolutely welcome to show up whenever their schedules permit. Although regular attendance is encouraged, “occasional” members are also valued and appreciated!
St. John’s Schola Cantorum is a chamber choir composed of professional choral scholars and staff singers from throughout the region. The Schola will specialize in Renaissance polyphony, Gregorian chant, and other a cappella liturgical music from the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions. Inspired by the European cathedral choir model, the group provides invaluable opportunities for talented young treble choristers to sing challenging repertoire alongside experienced adult tenors and basses while developing advanced musicianship and leadership skills in a rigorous professional environment. At the 10:00 am service on most Sundays from Labor Day through Trinity Sunday, the Schola presents a brief Choral Introit and/or Communion Motet. On select occasions, they also perform a full polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary.
Meet the new Organist & Choirmaster
Tom Brand is Founding Artistic Director of the Elm City Girls’ Choir, United Choir School, and Earthly Sound Vocal Ensemble, and has served as Organist & Choirmaster of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bridgeport, CT since 2005. He received early musical training in the Choir of Men & Boys at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Haven under Walden Moore and at the American Boychoir School of Princeton, NJ under James Litton. Tom began conducting at age 16 under the guidance of Chris Shepard and went on to receive degrees in music and choral conducting from Yale, where his mentors included Marguerite Brooks and Jeffrey Bernstein. He has a particular interest in early music and has performed Renaissance polyphony and Gregorian chant with many ensembles, including Phoenix, CONCORA, and the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society. Tom has held faculty positions at Vassar College and the Taft School has served as a clinician and guest conductor at conferences of the American Guild of Organists, United Church of Christ Musicians’ Association, Music Educators’ Associations of Connecticut and New York, and American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA), and has served on the board of Connecticut ACDA for over nine years, most recently as President from 2015-2017. In 2016, Tom founded Saecula Choir Foundation (SCF) as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to Transforming Lives through Choral Music. As Artistic Director of SCF, he has developed a variety of outreach initiatives and leadership training programs for talented young musicians, and he is now working towards the long-term goal of establishing Saecula Choral Academy as North America’s first pre-college residential conservatory for choral conducting. Tom is looking forward to becoming Organist & Choirmaster of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, CT in September, 2021 and is excited to join the community!