In mid-August of 2021, John Karl Hirten began his tenure as Music Director at St. John’s. We want to thank retiring music director David Montgomery for all of his wonderful work with the choirs and helping to sustain the program here. We also want to thank Cheryl Ziedrich and Betsy Bennett-Smith for their work as organist and soloist during the pandemic.
ST. JOHN’S CHANCEL AND CHILDREN’S CHOIRS: As the pandemic slowly eases, we continue to follow community health guidelines of the County of Marin, the State of California, and the Episcopal Diocese. As such, we are slowly beginning to have the Chancel Choir meet in a limited fashion, wearing masks, and getting ready to sing for services in the Fall. We will also begin forming a Children’s Choir program.
In 1961 the Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston installed the two-manual, 34-stop forerunner of our present sanctuary organ. In 2001 J. Nelson and Company enriched the instrument by the addition of 61 digitally-sampled voices and a 3-manual console from the Allen Company in Pennsylvania, allowing the performance of repertoire ranging in style from baroque to contemporary. The dedicatory concert of the present organ was given by the late Dr. Philip Hahn, then Music Director at St. John’s. Images of the instrument may be viewed here.
CHRISTMAS 2019, BELOW
The 2019 St. John’s Christmas Choir sings the Choral Prelude, Christmas Eve.
Benjamin Britten: from A Ceremony of Carols (text: Antiphon to the Magnificat)
Hodie Christus natus est; Hodie Salvator apparuit:
Hodie in terra canunt angeli Laetantur archangeli
Hodie exsulant justi dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves (text: William Dix, 19th c.)
Peter Warlock: Adam lay ybounden (text: 15th c. English)
Ne had the apple taken been,the apple taken been,
Ne had never Our Lady, a-been heaven’s queen.
Blessed be the time that apple taken was!
Therefore we may singen Deo gratias!
Peter Warlock (text: Bruce Blunt), from Bethlehem Down. Betsy Bennett-Smith, soprano
When He is king they will clothe him in gravesheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the soft arms of Mary
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.
Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.
Gustav Holst (Richard Proulx / text: Michael Perry), O God, beyond all praising (on Thaxted)
Adolphe Adam (English text: J.S. Dwight), O Holy Night. Betsy Bennett-Smith, soprano
Franz Xaver Gruber/Carl Reinecke (Joseph Mohr) Silent Night (congregational hymn)