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.

Organists and Choirmasters at Grace Church

1855-1876
Lewis T. Downes

1876-1888
Albert A. Stanley

1888-1898
Nathan B. Sprague

1898-1900
Ralph Kinder

1900-1901
W. Louis Chapman

1901-1910
Arthur H. Ryder

1910-1916
Arthur Lacey-Baker

1916-1934
John S. Matthews

1934-1938
Grace S. Regester

1938-1946
William C. Heller

1946-1948
Ralph A. Harris

1948-1972
Frederick Cronheimer

1972-1979
Donald Dame

1979-1982
Gregg Romatowski

1982-1990
James Morgan

1990-2014
Mark Johnson

2014-2015
Christian Lane (interim)

2015-Present
Vincent H. Edwards