Music at Holy Comforter is offered to the glory of God. We understand that music has the power to reach people on an emotional and visceral level that goes beyond the spoken word. The musicians at Holy Comforter strive to harness their musical gifts not only to reinforce and illuminate the readings of the day, but to inspire and touch people’s lives.
The choirs of Holy Comforter draw from the wealth of the Anglican choral tradition. Our continually expanding repertoire ranges from plainchant to music by modern composers. We consider ourselves fortunate to be Episcopalians who have inherited a fine musical tradition, and we believe that it always will stand the test of time.
Holy Comforter’s choirs are comprised solely of volunteer musicians, from both the church and the larger community. All groups welcome new members at any time.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in any of the music programs at Holy Comforter, please contact David Kelley, Minister of Music, to set up an interview. Church of the Holy Comforter is an affiliate of the Royal School of Church Music in America.
Holy Comforter’s Organ
The current organ at Church of the Holy Comforter was installed in September 2012 by the Walker Technical Company of Zionsville, Pa., and features more than 80 stops playable from four manuals plus the pedal keyboard.
A fully digital instrument, its voices draw on Walker’s extensive library of electronic samples taken from pipe organs built by the famous Aeolian-Skinner company of Boston, which was active from 1932 to 1972.
As the current clergy and Vestry have recognized in discussions and planning sessions for the future direction of Holy Comforter, our great strength is meaningful worship; and, as our previous rector Bob Denig expressed in 1988 before purchase of our previous organ, “Music is at the heart of that worship; it plays an absolutely irreplaceable role…(and) so often says what cannot be said.”
Music surrounds and enfolds the liturgy and readies us all to be in the presence of the majesty and mystery of our relationship with God. The new Walker Technical Company organ greatly enhances our music program in several ways: it allows the authentic performance of most all of the classical and traditionally Anglican repertoire; it enhances all parishioners’ worship experience, and better leads hymn singing; and it enhances the literature sung by the choirs.
We envision our organ as the foundation of a variety of musical events in addition to use in worship, with concerts becoming the basis of various outreach and other fund-raising activities.
Normally, from mid-September to early June, the Adult Choir sings weekly at the 11:00 a.m. Sunday liturgy. We offer leadership in congregational singing as well as an anthem at the offertory and sometimes during communion. We also sing at special services during the year, particularly during Advent and Lent. Twice a year we sing choral evensong, a rich evening service derived from elements of the offices of Vespers and Compline, and occasionally we present major works in liturgical or concert settings.
Normally, from mid-September to early June, Holy Comforter’s Chorister Program follows the precepts of the Royal School of Church Music in America. Modeled after the cathedral choir school tradition, the choristers learn about music, liturgy, teamwork, and leadership. The Choristers sing weekly at the 9:00 a.m. liturgy, and occasionally at special services throughout the season. There is no fee to participate in the program. Choristers are encouraged to participate in local choir festivals and regional summer training courses. Scholarships are available for these types of events. Young people are eligible to participate in the Chorister Program beginning in second grade, and can continue through high school.
Taizé Contemplative Worship
Normally, from September through May, Holy Comforter’s Music Ministry sponsors evening services in a contemplative style, offering a unique opportunity to decompress and prepare for the week ahead. The service occurs on the last Sunday of the month at 5:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s Chapel. Taizé contemplative worship is a powerful and moving combination of song and scripture featuring lush greenery, candles, icons, and considerable time spent in silent meditation.