History of Music at Grace

Music has been an important part of the Grace Church community since  soon after its founding. It is clear that music was seen as vital as early as 1845, given that Richard Upjohn’s design of the present church provided for an organ. In 1855, the Rev. Thomas March Clark was appointed rector and brought with him his organist, Lewis T. Downes, to organize the first choir at Grace Church. The Grace Church Choir has played an active and important role in the parish ever since.

Over the years the structure and makeup of the choir has varied widely and changed often from a quartet of soloists to a choir of adults, to a choir of men and boys, and as early as the 1920s, to the first incarnation of a multigenerational choir incorporating boys and girls as well as men and women. While adapting to the needs of the times, it has remained an important presence in the parish since its inception.

Organist-Choirmasters of Grace Church

Lewis T. Downes, 1855-1876

Albert A. Stanley, 1876-1888

Nathan B. Sprague, 1888-1898

Ralph Kinder, 1898-1900

W. Louis Chapman, 1900-1901

Arthur H. Ryder, 1901-1910

Arthur Lacey-Baker, 1910-1916

John S. Matthews, 1916-1934

Grace S. Regester, 1934-1938

William C. Heller, 1938-1946

Ralph A. Harris, 1946-1948

Frederick Cronheimer, 1948-1972

Donald Dame, 1972-1979

Gregg Romatowski, 1979-1982

James Morgan, 1982-1990

Mark Johnson, 1990-2014

Christian Lane, 2014-2015 (interim)

Vincent H. Edwards, 2015-Present

David Heinze, 2019-Present*
*Associate Organist

Frederick Cronheimer, for whom our choir rehearsal space (Cronheimer Hall) is named.
Vince Edwards, our current Director of Music