Music in Worship
Music plays a significant role in our worship services throughout the year. Several places in scripture command us to “make a joyful noise…”. In Psalm 98:4, we are told to “…break forth into joyous song and sing praises.”
A variety of music is enjoyed by the congregation, which is led in song by our choir and accompanied by our pipe organ. The hymns are selected to reflect the scripture lesson and/or enhance the message conveyed through the sermon.
Several members of our congregation volunteer for the choir, which rehearses weekly preparing an anthem as part of worship services between September and June. During the summer months when the choir is on hiatus, talented local musicians, vocal and instrumental, provide special music during worship.
The gentle organ prelude sets the tone in the sanctuary as we prepare for worship. Music is woven throughout the service with hymns, the offertory, the doxology, and closing with a postlude, providing worshipers a peaceful opportunity to reflect upon the morning’s message and the call to service in God’s name.
The Presbyterian Hymnal (Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1990) is the source for most congregational singing. It includes more than 600 hymns, psalms, and spirituals, as well as many responses. At times music and text are selected from other sources, including publishers working with OneLicense.net, making available the use of any of their thousands of copyrighted titles.
The pipe organ, located in the loft at the back of the sanctuary, is a two-manual, electro-pneumatic action instrument with 12 stops in the Swell (upper) organ, 10 stops in the lower (Great) organ, nine stops in the pedal organ, and several couplers. Pipes range between 16' (Bourdon and Lieblich) and 2' (Flautino) in length. The organ was built by the M. P. Möller Company, #5959 of more than 12,000 instruments produced by the company. It was installed in the congregation's previous home on Washington Avenue in 1931, and moved to its current location in the summer of 1959. The instrument was extensively rebuilt in the early 1980s.
The chimes are a completely automated digital system which can also be played manually using a small keyboard attached to the organ console. The system plays through speakers in the bell tower and those in the sanctuary. The system is programmed to play selections from thousands of hymn arrangements depending on the season of the year.
An electronic keyboard in the front of the sanctuary is used to accompany the choir’s anthem, vocal and instrumental soloists, as well as for occasional duets with the organ.