The sanctuary

Music occupies a central role in the worship practice of St. John’s. Our community recognizes the ineffable power of music to open the hearts of the faithful to the divine presence, and Sunday services offer ample opportunities for congregational singing of hymns, service music and Psalms.  On every Sunday between September and June the choir offers an anthem drawn from the vast repertoire of traditional sacred music, from medieval chant and renaissance motets to Victorian cathedral anthems and works of contemporary composers. Our hymns and anthems strive to support the lectionary readings appointed for the day, and a particular focus is the integration of music into liturgy, forming a coherent whole.

The music program is supported by a tracker action organ by the New York firm of J.H and C.S. Odell, dating from 1873, and restored in 1995.  Comprising 17 stops distributed over two manuals and pedal, the organ is relatively small, but possesses a bold voice which is very at home in our sanctuary, and has proven to be a strong support to congregational singing and versatile in the performance of a broad repertoire.

The all volunteer choir welcomes new members. Choir rehearsals usually take place on Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30, and there is a Sunday morning warmup session at 9:00.  Though an ability to read music is a plus, if you can carry a tune we want to know you!

St John’s Director of Music, Douglas Witte, received his undergraduate training in organ and choral music at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, and graduate level organ performance training at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, followed by independent studies in North Germany under the auspices of the North German Organ Academy.  The music of Sweelinck and his German followers is a particular focus of interest for him.

Contact: Douglas Witte

Click here to find out about St. John’s Children’s Choir