In Jewish, Islamic, and Christian worship, music is the bearer of the Divine Word. Whether in the form of the pealing of steeple bell or the chanting of the muezzin from the minaret, music calls us to prayer. All cultures and civilizations have made of their music an offering to God. The foundation of its association with religious ritual lies buried deep within the common roots of our ancient past. The Psalms abound with injunctions to “Sing to the Lord!” This phrase occurs in varying forms more than three hundred times throughout the Bible, making it the most repeated of all biblical mandates.
Our music program supports and enhances our church’s mission of welcome, inclusion, and diversity by presenting choral and vocal music of varying musical styles and genres that include vibrant choral anthems, sacred motets that have been sung throughout the centuries, and larger choral masterworks with robust accompaniments and orchestrations. Our newly-renovated historic Aeolian-Skinner organ is one of the most beautiful instruments in central Connecticut, and its tonal resources allow us to feature great organ literature and to accompany Sunday worship and choral festivals that occur throughout the year.
Led by our dynamic Chancel Choir, our congregation’s singing is emboldened by the choir’s 25 voices, and our hymnody consists of a breadth of music that is both traditional and contemporary. The choir sings introits, anthems, and hymns every week at the church’s 10:00 worship service. Choir members meet on Wednesday evenings for weekly rehearsals from 7:00 - 8:45.
The Chancel Choir also leads two major services of sacred music during the church’s program year. Memorial Music Sunday is an annual memorial service that occurs on the first Sunday of November, traditionally known as All Saints Sunday. The service honors the memories of those who have passed away before us, and at its center, the choir sings a major choral work of solemnity and praise. Memorial Music Sunday is intended to comfort the living through a shared musical experience, the reading of scripture, poignant symbolism, and prayer. During this year’s service on Sunday, November 3, our chancel choir commissioned and premiered New Every Morning, a multi-movement choral work for choir, organ, and soprano soloist, composed by noted American composer, Peter Niedmann.
A service of Festival of Carols is always a greatly-anticipated annual Christmas festival in December that tells the story of Christ’s birth through readings and music. The 60-voice festival chorus is comprised of the Chancel Choir and members from the GMChorale and Cheshire community. The service fills the church to capacity with all in attendance joining in singing festive traditional Christmas carols. The service ushers in the fullness of the season through pageantry, beautiful Christmas decorations that adorn the historic sanctuary, and music that can not only be heard, but felt by everyone in attendance!
Music has been part of our church’s storied history, and is a living, breathing part of our mission and congregation. Our musical traditions serve in part as our foundation, and our musical enthusiasm and innovation serve as our inspiration to express our gratitude and devotion to Christ’s teachings through song.