“Those who sing, pray twice.” –St. Augustine
Music at St. James is an integral part of how we express our faith.
By drawing on music spanning nearly two millennia, we connect our worship to ages past and present. By a commitment to excellence, we ensure that our spiritual offering is an acceptable sacrifice to our Creator.
When we glorify God through music, we draw together the poor in spirit, the wounded, those who mourn, the joyful, and all who seek a deeper knowledge of God. In hymns, anthems, psalms, and canticles, or through the thrilling sound of an organ voluntary, all are brought into one flock in the worship of Jesus Christ.
With a newly renovated nave and the arrival of our long-awaited new organ, music on Sunday mornings is again a feast of the senses. From the roaring of the organ to the angelic singing of the St. Cecilia Choir, Sunday’s music engages the musical and non-musical alike in deep, transcendent worship. We encourage you to participate fully in the music at St. James. Sing hymns, those treasure troves of spiritual vocabulary and solace, with courage. Engage in active listening as the choir sings the psalm and anthems. Surround yourself with beautiful, timeless, holy music.
St. James has a comprehensive choral program consisting of two choirs, with plans for two more. The St. James choir is an adult choir, consisting of professional and volunteer singers. The St. Cecilia Choir is our treble choir, consisting of girls and boys with unchanged voices, ages 11-17.
St James Choir
The St. James Choir is our adult choir, made up of professionals and volunteers. Boys who are members of the St. Cecilia Choir are also eligible to join this choir upon their voice change.
The St. James Choir sings repertoire ranging from 4th-century plainsong to 21st-century spirituals but based mainly in the English Cathedral tradition. Membership is open to any adult with a basic understanding of how to read music, who can match pitch, and can commit to the rehearsal and service schedule. A friendly vocal interview with the Director of Music will help gauge if the choir is right for you.
The St. James Choir rehearses on Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and sings most Sundays, as well as on Feast Days and Evensongs.
St James Schola
The St. James Schola is a professional octet of paid staff singers who make up the core of the St. James Choir. This group serve as section leaders in the larger choir and occasionally sing services on their own.
St Cecilia Choir
Boys and Girls, Ages 11-17
The St. Cecilia Choir is our advanced Treble Choir.
Members of the St. Cecilia Choir are our most accomplished young singers. These singers are trained as serious musicians using the curriculum of the Royal School of Church Music in America (RSCM), which seeks to foster excellence in music and worship.
The St. Cecilia Choir often sings alongside the (adult) St. James Choir, as well as offering their voices on their own. Members of the St. Cecilia Choir are also eligible to receive a generous annual scholarship totaling up to $500.
All Girls and boys (with unchanged voices) ages 11 and up are welcome to join this choir, via audition. This audition consists of a friendly vocal interview with the Director of Music to gauge the abilities of the candidate – pitch matching, music reading, concentration, and any other pre-existing musical knowledge.
St. Francis Choir
The Music Department at St. James is excited to announce the formation of a new choir program for children in grades 3-5. Led by our Director of Music Shannon Gallier, the St. Francis Choir will introduce the basics of reading music to young students passionate about singing. Membership is not limited to those who are members of St. James Church, but is instead open to any young person who loves to sing, regardless of faith background. Contact Shannon Gallier at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for more information.
The choirs of St. James offer several regular choral services throughout the year.
RISE, HEART: CELEBRATING THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
October 9 | 4 p.m. This event takes place at First United Methodist Church
Join the combined choirs of St. James and First United Methodist Church in a concert celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the most pivotal figures in 20th century church music. Through his work as a composer and musicologist, Vaughan Williams was able to create music which seems both ancient and contemporary; English folk tunes dance with ancient French psalmody; hymns written by the composer like the ecstatic “For all the saints” march alongside his towering, austere “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.” Joined by renowned Baritone Dr. Brandon Hendrickson, the choirs will celebrate Vaughan Williams’ legacy through anthems, hymns, and organ works showcasing the genius of this giant of western music. The program will include the composer’s beloved setting of The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune, O Clap Your Hands, and the sublime Five Mystical Songs, and many other inspiring works.
Free and open to the public.
April 28 | 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a celebration of St. James’s 2021 Goulding & Wood pipe organ, when organist Damin Spritzer will offer an organ recital. Dr. Spritzer is a world-renowned concert organist celebrated for her “spellbinding…fascinating playing.” A reception will follow the concert, during which guests are invited to greet the artist. Damin Spritzer is represented by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC. Free and open to the public.
Our Christmas Lessons & Carols is offered on the evening of the Fourth Sunday in Advent. This service draws on one of the great traditions of our faith to express in scripture and music the “development of the loving purposes of God” as seen through the “windows and the words of the Bible.”
- 4:30 p.m. Pre-service organ recital, Austin Clark, organist
- 5 p.m. Lessons & Carols
Join us for our annual service of Christmas Lessons & Carols, a service which tells the story of God’s redeeming love, from creation through the present day, in timeless music for the season. Organist Austin Clark will perform a half-hour pre-service recital featuring seasonal organ music, and a champagne and shortbread reception will follow in Coleman Hall.
Choral Evensong, one of the crown jewels of the Anglican tradition, is an evening service filled with scripture, music, and prayer. In Evensong, the choir sings much of the service on behalf of the congregation, in a modern-day echo of monastic life. This tradition is suffused with some of the greatest choral literature in existence and embodies the “beauty of holiness.”
The choirs of St. James will embark on a year-long project of offering regular Choral Evensong. Evensong, one of the crown jewels of our tradition, is an evening service filled with sung prayer, candles, chants, and timeless music. Each service is preceded by a half-hour organ recital beginning at 4:30 p.m., with the service beginning at 5:00 p.m.
EVENSONG IN OBSERVANCE OF ALL SAINTS’
Sunday, November 6
- 4:30 p.m. Pre-service Recital, Shannon Gallier, organist
- 5 p.m. Evensong, with music of Stanford, and Sumsion
EVENSONG IN OBSERVANCE OF THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION
Sunday, February 5
- 4:30 p.m. Pre-service Recital, Jerome Wells, organist
- 5 p.m. Evensong, with music of Walmisley, S.S. Wesley, and Moger
Sunday, February 26
7 p.m. Compline
Join the St. Cecilia Choir and the Trebles of the St. James Choir for sung Compline for the season of Lent. Compline, with roots in the monastic tradition, is a beautiful, quiet service with meditative music and chant. The service will include a performance of Pergolesi’s beautiful “Stabat Mater,” accompanied by members of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
EVENSONG IN OBSERVANCE OF THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION
Sunday, May 21
- 4:30 p.m. Pre-service Recital, David Summers, organist
- 5 p.m. Evensong, with music of Dove, Aston, and Spicer
Goulding & Wood, Opus 53
In the spring of 2021, we will see the installation of our new organ, built by Goulding & Wood of Indianapolis, Indiana. Consisting of three manuals (keyboards), pedal, and 42 ranks of pipes, this organ has been designed to enhance our Anglican style of worship. Two expressive divisions (swell and choir) will aid in choral accompaniment, and a diverse stop list will enable organists to play music from all periods of music convincingly. The addition of framework and decorative grill work around and inside of chamber openings will help incorporate the instrument into our beautifully ornate chancel, and the addition of stenciled (painted) pipes will add a stylistically appropriate accent to our 1896 nave.