Music at St. Mark’s
Music is a vital part of the spiritual life we share together at St. Mark’s. The words that we sing inform and deepen our faith. We sing and hear music from all times and places—music written centuries ago and by living composers, music in the Anglican tradition and music from other cultures and in other styles, music that connects us to the faith journeys of God’s children throughout history.
Mark Reed is our Organist and Director of Music. If you are interested in singing with one of the choirs or playing an instrument in church, please contact Mark by email or by calling the church office. You are always invited to stop by the choir loft after the Sunday service to find out more information about the ways you can get involved in the music ministry!
We have three choirs, Adult, Youth Ensemble, and Choristers (children’s choir), and all play a crucial role in leading us in the musical parts of our liturgy. They are a constant reminder that our gathering for worship brings us into communion with all the saints and angels who forever sing the praises of God in heaven.
The Adult Choir sings choral music in a variety of styles and genres. Our repertoire is grounded in the Anglican choral tradition and also includes selections from the classical, modern, folk, spiritual, and gospel styles. The Adult Choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in Grace Chapel. Membership in the Adult Choir is open to anyone high school or older. We are a group of fun and dedicated individuals, with varying levels of choral experience, who share a love for music. We invite you to join us, there are no auditions!
The St. Mark’s Choristers are a group of kids who enjoy singing, learning about music, playing games, and having lots of fun! By participating in Choristers, children develop musical skills, strengthen their faith, and build friendships within the church. The Choristers rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. in the Common Room. All children in grades K through 6 are welcome!
The Youth Ensemble is geared towards students in grades 6 and higher. The youth develop vocal production and part-singing skills, while preparing music in a variety of styles. Sunday rehearsals are approximately twice-a-month from 12:15 – 1:00 p.m. in Grace Chapel. All are welcome, come sing with us!
The organ is the primary instrument of worship at St. Mark’s. The organ can intone the most thunderous of praise and the soft whisper of God’s “still, small voice.” The organ leads our hymns of praise and accompanies most choral anthems. The prelude and postlude include great organ literature spanning the centuries.
The piano is used more frequently at the 9:00 a.m. service, helping to create a more intimate and informal worship atmosphere. The piano also accompanies choral anthems in folk, spiritual, and gospel styles.
Parishioners who play instruments are encouraged to contact Mark Reed about opportunities to use their gifts in worship. Instrumentalists play preludes and offertories, and can also accompany the choir.
Musical Terms in the Worship Service
A voluntary is a piece of instrumental music heard during the service. A voluntary can be played by the organ, piano, or any other instrument. The most common voluntaries are the prelude (music as we gather for worship), postlude (music as we depart from the service), and offertory (instrumental music as the Altar is prepared for Communion and the collection plates are passed).
A hymn is a congregational song of prayer or praise. Most of our hymns are found in The Hymnal 1982. The Hymnal is divided into two parts. The “S numbers” at the beginning of the hymnal are for musical settings of the liturgical words from the Prayer Book, such as the Gloria and Sanctus. These are songs that we sing almost every week. The rest of the Hymnal includes songs about all aspects of our Christian life. The hymns are chosen to expand on the ideas found in the Bible readings for the day.
A cantor helps to lead the congregation in song. At the 9:00 a.m. service, the cantor sings from the lectern in place of the choir.
An anthem or motet is a sacred choral song. The choir usually sings an anthem at the offertory and sometimes sings a motet during Communion.