Music Ministries

“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.

During this time of social-distancing and the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, our music program endeavors to meet the needs of our congregation and community. For more information on how we are managing our music program during this time, please click here.

Choirs

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 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 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 7:00pm-8:30pm 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.

Choral Services

The choirs of St. James offer several regular choral services throughout the year.

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.”

Christmas Lessons & Carols is scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 5:00pm.

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.”

Organs

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.