Music & Choir
Praise ye the Lord! Praise Him with stringed instruments and organs!
Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1,4,6
The St. Andrew’s choir loves to sing. It is not just about singing though. It is the fellowship. They are a very welcoming group of people who are also dedicated. In the short time I have been here, I have seen how they take in new members as if they are family. Yes, the choir is growing. It is a lot of fun to be in the choir. And, most importantly, spiritually enriching.
Members sing because they know it is a great gift to offer up to God. Not just their voices, but their time. He who sings, prays twice is an oft heard adage from my childhood. Even as a child, I looked forward to rehearsals. I felt like I belonged to something special. I get that feeling from the St. Andrew’s choir and am glad of it. Nobody is a stranger here. Everyone is warmly welcomed. In this busy world, there are some who cannot commit to every Sunday. We can make a place for you. If you can give your time only on certain Sundays, I will work with you. It is a great thing to sing during the holidays. If that is what you can offer, then do contact me. If you want to come every week, better yet!
You do not need to be a professional singer. Reading music is not a requirement: some do, some don’t. Give us a try! We rehearse on Sunday mornings before the Service at 9:00 am, then again at 11:30. I can be contacted by e-mail Susan@standrewshopkinton.org, or just come see me at church. I’m easy to find.
St. Andrews has the privilege of not one, but two historic tracker organs. The instrument on the floor is an E. & G.G. Hook & Hastings, Opus 714, built 1873 and installed in 1874. While small, with only one manual and a straight pedal board, it is tonally vibrant and can lead the worship with everything from the gentle 8' Stopped Diapason to the brilliant Sesquialtera. Over the years it has undergone many renovations, including the restoration of its golden oak case and stenciled front pipes, the replacement of its original hand pump wind supply with an electric system, and tonal revisions. In the early 1970's, many pipes were replaced with new ranks purchased from Anderson of Brattleboro and Kaes of West Germany, for the purpose of "finer tone, greater versatility, better clarity, and more brilliance." The pedals were recapped with teak and hard maple, and the instrument was tuned in a meantone temperament. A celebratory concert was held in December, with Mr. John Skelton presenting works of Swellinck, Frescobaldi, Bach, Purcell and others. Extensive cleaning and restoration work was done in 1999 by Andover Organ Company. At this time a proposal was made to add a second manual to the instrument, which would include a Dulciana and a Principal stop, among others. A more moderate proposal was accepted which included stripping the case, which was then painted, and restoring its natural finish, re-stenciling the facade pipes, and releathering the reservoir.
In the balcony is another tracker organ, a Henry Erben, which has been disassembled and moved numerous times during its long lifetime. It was lifted into the balcony by crane, and includes ranks which provide some of the tonalities lacking in the main organ. While only having an 8' in the pedal, it is not suited to leading hymn singing, but can be used for solo organ works. When tuned together, the two instruments create a wonderful opportunity for organ duets!
The Organ Committee
The Organ Committee was formed by the St Andrew’s Vestry and the Rector in Spring, 2019. Membership included our staff music directors(Eric Dolch, at first, then Dr Susan Armstrong), the Rector, Bob Wilson, George Schell, Annie Junkin, Linden Rayton, Ellen Exner, John McCausland, Binney Wells and committee chairs: Pete Mitchell and Fred Briccetti.
We were tasked with the following:
-Evaluating the current organs in our church, their current state, the role they play in our congregation’s worship, their advantages and limitations.
-Evaluating the options for replacement of one or both organs: what type of organ would better fit our congregation’s musical needs?
We approached the assignment by educating ourselves on organ types, and engaging 3 consultants who evaluated our space, the current instruments and made recommendations for future options. We plan trips to an organ workshop, and visits to area churches to hear various types of available organ types. We plan to issue a report of our findings and recommendations to the Vestry by late 2019/early 2020. We will remain available as a committee to advise the Vestry in the process of investigating the larger musical and capital needs of the congregation and discerning where a replacement for our current organs may fit into that process.