Music’s role in Worship at East Church
Music is a vital, integral part of the worship experience at East Congregational Church. It is as much a part of the fabric of our worship service as are prayer and preaching. East Church doesn’t see music as being in addition to worship, but rather sees music as inseparable from worship.
Organist and Choir Director Lynn Salmonsen, herself a professional performer and music educator, carefully selects music to support the liturgical season drawn from a broad repertoire that ranges from the classics to contemporary arrangements including gospel and spirituals.
Except for the summer months a small but accomplished Adult Choir contributes a four part anthem or offertory (often both) to each Sunday service and many special services during Lent and Advent seasons. Once or twice a year the Choir is the worship service, performing all or part of larger classical works. “Music Sundays” recently have presented moving, significant works by Britton, Mozart and Vivaldi.
The Adult Choir is a friendly and inclusive group and can always find a place for enthusiastic new voices whether or not they are experienced singers!
Our Soprano section leader, a graduate student at New England Conservatory, participates with the choir and frequently presents solos. In addition to the Adult Choir, Youth and Children’s Choirs participate at regular intervals.
Two superb instruments reside in the East Church sanctuary:
In 1998 the Taber Family generously provided matching funds as a memorial to Marie Taber, enabling East Church to purchase a Baldwin grand piano.
Our organ was originally installed by the Frazee Organ Company in 1951. The organ was renovated by John Hendriksen of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company who completely revoiced the pipework and updated the console extensively, making the organ much more effective at supporting congregational singing.
East Church is fortunate to have talented instrumental musicians in the congregation as well, and these wonderful resources are often woven into the worship service. Professional musicians from outside the congregation make occasional appearances too.
The East Church congregation is very much a vital participant in music for worship, not merely an audience. Services frequently include choral responses, Taizé meditative singing and hymns sung by the congregation. Our hymns are drawn from the United Church of Christ hymn books. The most recent edition, the New Century Hymnal, is a remarkable achievement in liturgical music with a particular emphasis placed on gender-inclusive texts. In the forward to the hymnal, Thomas Dipko writes:
“[hymns] become for us a language that transcends human speech. The New Century Hymnal… is boldly committed to a spirit of inclusiveness. It welcomes and celebrates the diversity of all the people of God as surely as it confesses the mystery of diversity within God the Holy Trinity.”
familiar and new music,
classical or contemporary music,
sacred music permeates, moves and enriches the East Church worship experience.
We would love it if you would consider singing in the East Church Choir. What’s in it for you? Here are some thoughts from current choir members:
For me, singing in the choir is an integral part of worship.
I like to sing and we have lots of fun!
The most spiritual experiences I have in church happen when I’m singing.
No matter how tired I am, singing energizes me and makes me happy.
That’s where I met my guy!!
I can express myself more freely when I sing, even when I don’t get all the notes.
I am transported and one with all people.
I love the spiritual connection!