Choral Music and Congregational Singing at Grace Church
Music is integral to the worship and community life of Grace Church. Music is not worshiped here, but it enhances the worship experience. While no one can define how music transforms our communal worship life, no one can deny that it happens. Whether it is the quietest chant, or most triumphant anthem, music can do what ordinary words remain powerless to do: it reaches deep into our soul and moves us.
While we highly value the contribution of the choir’s anthems to our worship, we believe deeply in the power of congregational singing and our choir’s primary responsibility is to lead and inspire congregational song. We use the Hymnal 1982 as our primary musical resource, but on occasion draw from other sources as well, including Wonder, Love and Praise.
The Grace Church Choir is the principal choral ensemble of the parish. The choir sings for the 10 am Sung Holy Eucharist most Sundays from the weekend after Labor Day through Trinity Sunday (late May/early June). The choir also sings on Christmas Eve, and for the Triduum during Holy Week (Holy Tuesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Day). Additional services such as Lessons and Carols and Choral Evensong are sung on Sundays at 5 pm throughout the year. The choir’s repertoire spans over 500 years, including masterpieces of Renaissance polyphony, Classical and Romantic repertoire, and music through the 21st century. Please consult the Music at Grace Brochure for a schedule of upcoming services and repertoire.
The Choir rehearses on Sunday mornings at 8:45 am for the 10am Sung Eucharist, and again from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm, following the service. For those Sundays that the choir sings Choral Evensong at 4:00pm, an additional rehearsal is held at 2:30pm. Additionally, there is one optional weeknight rehearsal on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 pm. This rehearsal is intended for those who desire more rehearsal time on the coming Sunday’s anthems, or for those who may have missed the prior Sunday. A detailed schedule of rehearsals and performances is distributed at the beginning of the year.
The choir is anchored by four professional section leaders, providing musical and vocal leadership within each section of the choir.
Membership is open to all, though sight-reading skills are extremely helpful. If you are interested in singing with the Grace Church Choir, please contact Vincent Edwards, Director of Music via email: email@example.com, or by calling (401) 331-3225.
Founded in 2015, the Grace Church Chorister program is a choir based on the Royal School of Church Music scheme and is open to both boys and girls in grades 2 through 12 and is made up of children that attend various schools in the Providence area. The choristers rehearse twice a week and sing for services (both by themselves and with the adult choir) at Grace Church such as the Sunday 10AM Eucharist, Evensong, Lessons and Carols for Advent and Epiphany, and other occasions during the academic year. During the summer, we hold a week-long choir camp, usually at the beginning of August. This allows for the choristers to strengthen friendships, enjoy outdoor activities and begin to prepare music for the upcoming choral season. The Grace Church Chorister program is an excellent educational opportunity and there is no cost for a child’s participation. If you are interested in your child participating in the Grace Church Choristers, please contact the Director of Music for further details. A brochure in PDF format that details the program is available here.
The Summer Choir
The Summer Choir provides musical leadership and choral offerings for the 10 am Eucharist each Sunday from early June through the Labor Day weekend. Like the other Grace Church choirs, it is multi-generational and is open to anyone who would like to participate.
Participants make a week-by-week commitment, with the only requirement being attendance at the 9 a.m. Sunday morning rehearsal on the Sundays when they would like to sing. The Summer Choir does not wear vestments – a real benefit given that the church can be quite warm during July and August!
The Summer Choir leads the hymns and service music and provides a simple anthem or two at the 10 am Eucharist. This is also a wonderful time for volunteer soloists to share their talents with the congregation. Thanks to the Summer Choir we have choral music at the 10 am Eucharist every Sunday of the year.
Ensemble-in-Residence: Collegium Ancora
In addition to the Grace Church Choir and Choristers, we are thrilled to have a professional chamber choir that serves as ensemble-in-residence at Grace Church.
Collegium Ancora was founded in 2016 by Grace’s Director of Music, Vince Edwards, and a number of skilled vocalists from the greater Providence area. This group is made up of roughly 20 professional singers and enjoys a rigorous program year of its own. Most of Collegium Ancora‘s performances take place at Grace Church and include orchestra, featuring a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to close harmony pieces by living composers. To find out more about the group and their upcoming season of concerts, please visit their website: www.collegiumancora.org
RSCM Rhode Island Course
Every summer Grace Church welcomes the participants of the Royal School of Church Music’s Rhode Island Course. This week-long intensive (primarily based in Newport) attracts children and adult choristers as well as organists and choral conductors from around the country. The course culminates in a final Choral Eucharist service for which the participants sing. This choir is often 100+ voices strong and fills our wonderful space with glorious music for the 10AM Sung Holy Eucharist.
The director for the 2020 Course will be Jeremy David Tarrant (Canon Precentor, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, MI).
Past directors of this course have included Scott Hanoian (Christ Church, Grosse Pointe, MI), Walden Moore (Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, CT), Dale Adelmann (Cathedral Church of St. Philip, Atlanta, GA), Sarah MacDonald (Selwyn College, Cambridge and Ely Cathedral, U.K.), and Bruce Neswick (Trinity Cathedral, Portland, OR).