Sacred Music

an icon through which we experience the Divine

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What to expect

Music is integral to the life and worship of St. John’s.

Our tradition of sacred music is very rich, but it is not an idol to be worshipped. Rather, music is an icon through which we can experience the Divine.

St. John’s is not just a place where music is performed—music and worship are woven together here. Music is a standard feature at our traditional Sunday 9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist and is also integrated into the Sunday 8:00 a.m. service.

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There are many opportunities for singers of varying ages to participate in one of the choirs.

The choirs rehearse weekly, and although there is no formal audition to participate, the choir directors assess each voice and determine how that voice can assist with the needs of the choir.

If you wish to join one of the choirs, please call 717-243-4220).

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Adult Choir

The adult choir sings a variety of music from plainsong chant and music from the Baroque period to music of the Anglican Renaissance and contemporary Christian arrangements.

The Adult Choir rehearses Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. from the end of August until June. They sing at two of the 9:30 a.m. services each month in addition to a variety of other services during the year.

Men and Youth Choir

The structure of the choir is based on the Anglican traditional of the Men and Boys choir. The choir has grown from singing simplified two-part music to performing advanced four-part music. The Royal School of Church Music training program assists in guiding this choir’s training.

We welcome youth singers from age 8 through 18 and adult male singers.

The Men and Youth Choir sings twice a month at the 9:30 a.m. service. In addition, they sing four times a year for Evensong and participate in special services such as Advent Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve and the 12th Night Boars Head Festival.

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The M. P. Moller Reese Memorial Pipe Organ provides the foundation for our musical life.

The organ was installed in 1980, with chimes added in 1996. The console controls a Great Organ with 8 ranks (684 pipes), a Swell Organ with 8 ranks (635 pipes) and a Pedal Organ with 8 ranks (196 pipes).

The instrument is well voiced for our building and complements and enhances our music program.

Scene at St. John's: Twelfth Night Musicians

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Evensong is the sung Anglican office of Evening Prayer which combines the older monastic offices of Vespers and Compline. This liturgy is more than 400 years old and one of the Church of England’s unique contributions to Western civilization.

Evidence of the genius of Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury and author of the first Book of Common Prayer, the words of this liturgy have been set to music by some of the Church’s greatest composers.

Although Evensong is a choral office intended to be sung by the choir, the congregation also participates actively. The service also provides an unique opportunity for meditation.

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Other opportunities

Throughout the year there are opportunities for musicians who cannot commit to participation in one of the choirs.

We need instrumentalists at a variety of times, including the 12th Night Boars Head Festival and to support the choirs when an anthem includes accompaniment other than organ or piano. We have recently used the musical talents of individuals who played trumpet, oboe, piano and guitar.

For the past several years singers, mainly from the adult choir, led singing for one of the Friday Lenten observances of Stations of the Cross and chanting of Tenebrae, a special Holy Week service.

During the summer, while choirs are on recess, we need a variety of instrumental or vocal soloists and ensembles to help lead worship at the 9:30 service.

Instrumental and vocal groups are also needed to support special worship services during the year such as the recent Jazz Eucharist. These groups do not need to make a long-term commitment to a group but rather come together for a short time to prepare and lead a worship service on an occasional basis.

If you have musical talent that you’d like to share with us, please contact the Parish Office.

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