People of all ages striving for excellence, that we might lead the congregation in offering praise and worship to God
Worship through song is a tradition that has been passed down through church history, from the book of Psalms to the canticles of Miriam and Mary, to Christ’s hymn singing after the Last Supper. Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, Classical and Romantic Masses, hymns, and dissonant 20th-century sacred vocal works all worship God, each using their own distinct musical characteristics. At St. Peter’s, we make use of all of these styles in worship. We particularly love the Anglican musical tradition, so we fill our worship services with hymns, chorally-chanted psalms, anthems, and organ music, as well as some more contemporary music to be sung during communion.
The Anglican hymn tradition is musically accessible, poetically beautiful, and theologically rich. Hymns became very popular during the Reformation, as they were written in vernacular language (not Latin) and in a singable and accessible style. In accordance with the Biblical tradition, we believe that singing can act as confession, lament, praise, thanksgiving, history, exhortation, prayer, and petition. The texts of the pieces we sing are often chosen for a particular purpose, according to the church calendar, the lectionary readings, or the sermon topic. We invite you to spend time considering the words of the hymns as you sing them loudly, making “a joyful noise to the Lord” (Psalms 98, 100).
Psalms are often chanted by the choir out of respect for the long tradition of chanted psalms in the church. The congregation sings a repeating musical phrase called an “antiphon” so as to participate in the reading and as a means of allowing “the Word of Christ [to] dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
Anthems (any piece sung by the choir in worship) are sung at the Offertory; this means that even though the congregation may not be able to join the choir in singing, everyone is invited to appreciate the beauty of the music so that together, we will offer a humble noise in praise to God.
Organ preludes, postludes, and offertories are intended to accompany times of contemplation and prayer.
Music at Communion is more contemporary in style, so as to facilitate the participation of the congregation in singing. This should be a time of preparing your heart to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and then responding with thankfulness.