Music at Ascension
Music in the Episcopal Church can be as diverse as its worship services. Although final authority over the music used in an Episcopal service is "the duty of every Minister" (Canon 24, Section 1), our hymnal draws all Episcopalians together musically in the same way that the Book of Common Prayer draws us together in prayer and liturgy.
Most recently revised in 1982, The Hymnal of the Episcopal Church offers 720 hymns in addition to liturgical music. While some of the hymns date back to monastic chants, the hymnal offers more modern music as well.
"The Hymnal 1982 retains the best of the past and sets forth many riches of our own time. [The Standing Commission on Church Music] looked for theological orthodoxy, poetic beauty, and integrity of meaning. At the same time, the Commission was especially concerned that the hymnody affirm 'the participation of all in the Body of Christ the Church, while recognizing our diverse natures of children of God.' … Texts and music which reflect the pluralistic nature of the Church have been included, affording the use of Native American, Afro-American, Hispanic, and Asian material" (Preface, The Hymnal 1982, Church Pension Fund, 1985).
For anyone in high school or older, the Parish Choir sings for all 10:30 a.m. Sunday services, as well as special liturgical observances throughout the year. From September through May, the choir meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in the choir room. The choir sings a variety of sacred music, from Gregorian chant, to Tudor anthems, to newly written music, whether accompanied by piano or organ, or a cappella. The choir also lends its support to congregational song and other liturgical functions.
Anyone with an interest in music and singing is welcomed to join the choir. No audition is necessary. Music-reading abilities are helpful, but not required. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Cory Westby, Director of Music.
The newly formed Handbell Choir meets every other Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the choir room. Experience and music-reading abilities are not required, but helpful. We spend time practicing proper ringing techniques, basic music-reading and music theory. The choir is open to anyone in middle school and older. Contact Cory for more information.
Soloists & Instrumentalists
Music at Ascension is frequently enriched by the use of soloists and instrumentalists. We are regularly joined by professional string and brass ensembles, as well as other professional and amateur musicians. Throughout the year, music is also provided by members of the congregation who are talented instrumentalists and vocalists. If you have gifts in any of these areas, please contact our Director of Music!
The Flentrop Organ
Ascension is blessed to be the owners and caretakers of many fine musical instruments. Congregational song is supported primarily by the organ. Our instrument was built in 1986 by Flentrop Orgelbouw of the Netherlands. Comprised of two manuals, 25 ranks, and 21 stops, it follows the classical principals of organ building in the 17th and 18th centuries in that it utilizes mechanical action throughout, slider windchests, and a flat pedalboard. The design of the organ allows it to play a variety of music, but it is partcularly suited to music from the Baroque period.
The church also houses five pianos, including a Baldwin grand piano in the sanctuary, a single-manual harpsichord, and three octaves of handbells.