Music at Christ Church
“Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.” (Ps. 100:1)
From the beginning, Christ Church has always placed a high priority on music. The first choir at Christ Church was organized in the early nineteenth century. Christ Church purchased its first pipe organ in 1788—an organ which, at that time, was the largest in New Jersey. And more recently, thanks to the gracious and intimate acoustics of our 1853 nave, we have produced and sponsored countless musical programs as an outreach to the community.
In our music ministry, we strive for the following:
- Excellence: adorning the worship of God with the best we can offer;
- Inclusiveness: providing opportunities for all to join in a meaningful way and selecting music that lets all who listen know that they are welcome here;
- Outreach: providing service to the larger community, often in partnership with those of other faiths;
- Enthusiasm: being God-filled in our worship style.
We welcome all to join with us in this music ministry, whether by singing in one of our choirs, playing an instrument, offering non-musical program support (serving on the music outreach committee, hospitality, promotion, etc.), or raising your voice in praise with us in our worship services. More information can be found below.
Christ Church’s Choirs
For most of the twentieth century, choral leadership was provided by a choir of men and boys. In the 1970s, this was succeeded by a semi-professional adult mixed choir, along with a children’s choir of girls and boys in the 1970’s. By the early 2000’s, the parish had as many as seven choirs. Christ Church now has two adult volunteer choirs, a “summer choir,” and will be reorganizing a children’s choir in the fall of 2016.
The Parish Choir is composed of about 20 choristers. Anyone with choral experience and who can read music is cordially invited to join. The Choir sings a broad selection of repertory at most 10:30 am Sunday Eucharists, major Church festivals, and special concerts–see repertory lists below. Choir rehearsals are Thursdays from 8:00 to 10:00 pm during the academic year. For more information, contact John Sheridan at email@example.com.
Click here to hear the Parish Choir sing “Beati quorum via” by C.V. Stanford.
Canticum Novum is an all-adult, all-volunteer choir. All adults are welcome, and no choral experience or previous musical training is required–come with a desire for good singing and great fellowship. The Choir sings approximately once a month at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Eucharist during the academic year, major Church festivals and occasional Evensongs. Rehearsals are Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, contact John Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to hear Canticum Novum sing “Joy in the Morning Shall Be Mine” by D. Wagner (with Diane Michaels, harp).
The Summer Choir is a group of volunteers who gather at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings during the summer to learn an anthem for the 10 a.m. Eucharist. Anyone who can read music—of any age—is welcome to join us! Simply arrive in time for the rehearsal and remain for the 10 a.m. liturgy. There’s no requirement to sing every Sunday, so you can come one time or many times. For more information, contact John Sheridan at email@example.com.
Christ Church Choral Repertory
Christ Church’s Organ
Our current organ, which was dedicated in 2002, is a two-manual, 24 stop organ built by Richards, Fowkes & Co., and is considered one of the finest organs of its type in the nation. Apart from its use in leading our liturgies, the organ is also used by the organ department of Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts for teaching and practice, and can be heard in concert several times a year, in programs sponsored by Rutgers, by the American Guild of Organists, and by Christ Church. Recent programs have featured American organist Kimberly Marshall, French organist Michel Bouvard, Rutgers’ organ professor Renée Louprette, students of Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Christ Church’s Director of Music and Organist, John Sheridan. A photo, description of the organ and specification can be found at the Richards, Fowkes & Co. website here.
This 2003 video, featuring former Christ Church Director of Music, Mark Trautman, former rector, the Rev. Joan Fleming, and chair of the organ committee, Andrea Cunnell, gives a brief overview of the organ:
In this 2016 video, Christ Church’s Director of Music, John Sheridan, performs the “Veni Creator en taille à 5” from the Premier Livre d’Orgue of Nicholas de Grigny:
Click here for a full history of Christ Church’s organs by former Christ Church Director of Music, Mark Trautman.
For further information about Christ Church’s music outreach ministry and program, please contact Director of Music, John Sheridan, at (732) 545-6262 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Choir Pages, click here.