We are blessed by excellent music which uplifts, and gives depth to, our worship. Our music ministry is highly-regarded under the creative and dedicated leadership of Sue Ellen Echard. We have multiple volunteer choirs that embrace the gifts of children to adults, as well as a 5-octave handbell choir, and many volunteer instrumentalists who offer their talents. More than 75 people participate in our music program as vocalists, choir members, instrumentalists, and handbell ringers. The music repertoire is broad and diverse, including traditional Anglican hymns and anthems as well as more contemporary offerings. Each year, many of our youth and adult choir members attend the Royal School of Church Music held at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA (Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem). The adult choir has been invited to sing at many locations, including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, and in-residence at Bristol Cathedral, Bristol, England. In the summer of 2015, the COHS choir—joined by members of choirs from several other churches—will sing in residence at Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, England.
We also participate in the local interdenominational Choristers’ Guild. In addition, the choirs have undertaken an intentional outreach ministry and regularly sing for local senior centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes and at community events.
Church of the Holy Spirit has made a high priority of investing in music as an integral ingredient of worship, praise and community building since its founding. This has had a great impact on the integrity of the liturgies we celebrate together, church growth, outreach, community building and a vibrant and continually growing music program for all ages.
The choirs have grown from 8 to about 70 in the last 14 years using the many resources of the Royal School of Church Music. There are now choirs for all ages, various instrumental ensembles, a 5 octave Handbell choir and small vocal groups. In addition to providing inspiring music of all genres and time periods at our worship services each week, the choir has made numerous CD recordings, trips to sing at Washington National Cathedral, St. Paul’s at Ground Zero, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, a week long residency at Bristol Cathedral, UK, performances with other local choirs and orchestras, singing as part of a Philadelphia theatre production and yearly participation in the King’s College Royal School of Church Music Course. The story of music in our parish and how it has aided the growth of our mission church was published a number of years ago in the National Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians. We are now planning for our biggest road trip ever to sing a week long residency at Winchester Cathedral in England in August of 2015 with nearly 100 singers, directors and friends from two other churches!
Services and music events include Taizé style prayer services, quarterly concerts, events at local retirement communities and seasonal Evensongs. We also seek to serve each other and our greater community through our love of music by participating in educational events, festivals, concert series, professional organizations, outreach, the Royal School of Church music summer course and even fun and informal jam sessions! We love to make music together and bring the contagious spirit of joy to others.
Our music programs continue to grow and welcome newcomers to our lively and loving choir family. If you are interested in joining any of the choirs please contact our music director, Sue Ellen Echard