Music'...What you sing and the way you sing it can take our hearts to Heaven, so that we come away with music resounding in our hearts and memories to strengthen us for the day and the week ahead until we meet again...' - the Rev. Canon John Andrew.
“…“Lift up your hearts!”, [is] the ancient challenge to the people of God to give themselves heart and soul and voice in worship. “Lift up your hearts,” what in Latin is known as the Sursum Corda. It is the rallying cry to worship: the most important human activity, the most costly response the soul can offer. More important than impassioned personal witness, worship is the bedrock response of love to the Lord, who has brought you to this day and to this hour. And you, choristers, have the responsibility in leading it. What you sing and the way you sing it can take our hearts to Heaven, so that we come away with music resounding in our hearts and memories to strengthen us for the day and the week ahead until we meet again, or it can cause injury – boredom, irritation, what we call turn-off when we shut the doors of our souls like the slam of a door. What is the purpose of a choir? It’s not to perform difficult music before a silent and intimidated (or irritated) congregation. It’s not there to impress the faithful. It’s there to encourage the faithful to find their voices to praise God in his holiness. It is there to give the people their voice. It is what we call a ministry… The ministry of music is to get people’s imaginations going, to offer God something they perhaps hadn’t realized they had in them. Music can take them out of themselves. It makes some people cry, when they feel overwhelmed by the sheer force of its beauty. I know it’s true. I confess to being vulnerable to this when a great hymn or its descant’s majesty sweeps me off my feet… I don’t apologize for it. It’s not cheap emotion. It’s God’s people finding their voice, their response with their uplifted hearts…”
From a sermon given by the Rev. Canon John Andrew to those participating in the annual Girls’ Course at St. Thomas Church, NYC; first published in The Journal of the Anglican Association of Musicians
Take the Plunge
St. John’s has an active, vibrant music program, and we invite you to join us! See Nancy Radloff (our organist and choirmaster), any member of one of the choirs, call the church office at 273-6532 for details, or just come to a rehearsal (times listed in sidebar on right)! We rehearse weekly during the church’s program year [September to June] and participate in worship regularly. We also provide concerts, productions, talent shows, and evensongs. We represent St. John’s within the community by giving programs in other venues, and our work brings new members into the church. We have given concerts to benefit the church music program and St. John’s at large, but we have also presented concerts to raise money for churches ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. We have presented joint programs with choirs from churches in Owego, Binghamton, and Ithaca, New York, and Enon, Ohio. The children’s and youth choirs sing at churches without a children’s music program [most recently in Penn Yan and Owego] and go caroling in December. Our bell choir has presented holiday concerts for the senior citizens of the area. All of our musicians are volunteers and amateurs who worship God through music. If you enjoy making music in a positive, happy group, please come join us.
Our Groups (we would LOVE to have you join us!)
St. John’s has a long choral tradition – just check out the pictures in the choir room!
Children’s and Youth Choirs
The Youth Choir is for middle- and high-schoolers. Most of them started in the children’s choir, but this is not a requirement.Our children’s choir is a bright group of elementary-school-aged children who learn part singing and proper vocal technique as they sing in English,Latin, Italian, and German. If your child is in the 5th grade or younger, this is the choir for him or her. This choir ‘feeds’ the youth choir, is often a child’s first opportunity to be a worship leader, and is arguably the most important choir we have.
Our handbell choir has been rehearsing weekly for over 12 years now. If you can count to 4, we can teach you to ring handbells. This group plays special music for church services and performs in local assisted living facilities as their schedules allow. This is a dedicated, enthusiastic group that is always glad to add new members.
Top Ten Reasons to join the choir:
10. We have the best seats in the house.
9. We participate as worship leaders on a regular basis, remaining connected to the practice of our faith.
8. We are a multi-generational family, We support and care for each other.
7. We learn Bible stories through song.
6. Each new piece or skill we master increases our self-confidence, positively impacting the rest of our life.
5. We learn a lot of really great music, including pieces not usually possible for volunteer church choirs.
4. Working on music keeps us mentally sharp. And we all need to stay sharp!
3. Working on our music helps us forget problems or difficulties we’re facing. It’s nice to have a break.
2. Coming to rehearsal revives us and gives us new energy for our lives.
1. It’s fun!
So come on. Join us and celebrate, praising God through the talent He gave us.