MUSIC AT CHRIST CHURCH
"Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts." Ephesians 5:19
Christ Episcopal Church has a longstanding tradition of outstanding music programs for all ages. Over the last ten years, the music program has been led by Director of Music Doff Procter, Assistant Music Director Laurel Procter, and most recently added to the staff, Assistant Music Director and Organist Dr. Steven Taranto. As of spring 2021, there are six different choirs at Christ Church, plus a non-profit, after-school choral music program including four other choirs with young musicians from grades 1-12 that is unrivaled in the southeast.
Choral music training begins with Joyful Noise & the Cherub Choir for children ages three through four. Joyful Noise is connected to our Daycare and both of these choirs are taught by Laurel Procter. These two choirs typically sing during the Children’s Liturgy service once a month and during Christmas and Easter. The music training continues for children in K5 through second grade with the Saint Gregory Choir, also taught by Mrs. Procter. St. Gregory also sings for Children’s Liturgy services and at Christmas and Easter time. The Saint Cecilia Singers, our most advanced children’s choir, is for those in grades three through five. They typically sing the other three 9 AM Sunday Eucharists, joining forces with the CEC Family Choir, but also for Evensongs, Christmas, and Easter services.
The CEC Family Choir offers additional opportunities for parishioners to make an impact and to serve in our music program. The Family Choir is for anyone aged 5 through 95 who is interested in singing a few times a month with St. Cecilia for the 9 AM Eucharist. This choir rehearses the week before they sing on Sunday afternoons, and music reading skills are not required. In the past we have also enjoyed our Celebration Ringers, a multi-generational handbell choir that would ring frequently throughout the year and for special services, but they are “in remission” right now. We do possess a beautiful, two-octave, set of German bells, however!
The choral program culminates with our outstanding Adult Choir, one of the most outstanding in the Diocese. The Adult Choir is open to singers of later high school age and older who can read music. The Adult Choir is comprised of both church member volunteers but also paid student and faculty section leaders/soloists and professionals from the University of Alabama and the community. They sing Sundays at the 11 AM Eucharist and also for Evensongs, Advent Lessons & Carols, Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, and other special services.
Christ Church is extraordinarily blessed to have a brand-new pipe organ built by the Canadian firm, Orgues Létourneau of Montreal. It was installed in January of 2018, with a dedication service of evensong on April 15, 2018. The organ is a 38-rank instrument with three manuals and pedal. Currently, three finished divisions (great, swell, and choir) with pedal are housed in the Chancel, but the organ will soon include a new 5-rank antiphonal division placed in the rear of the Nave. It is a beautiful instrument both in craftsmanship and tone, and is very versatile in enhancing the many facets of music ministry at Christ Church. The organ serves primarily as an instrument to accompany weekly worship services, but equally as well for special music and worship events (choral evensong and other seasonal worship), solo organ recitals, and for organ instruction.
We love to host outside concerts in the nave, in Randall Hall, and in our large Music Hall. They might be University of Alabama students and/or faculty giving recitals, or even outside guest artists from all genres brought in by our concert series (now ALSO in remission!).
The Alabama Choir School is a non-profit outreach ministry housed at Christ Church that now encompasses approximately 150 singers after its humble beginnings as the Tuscaloosa Boychoir, beginning with seventeen brave young boys way back in 1985. This after-school, tuition-based, community music organization focuses on choral music education and consists of four choirs for children in grades one through twelve, meeting Monday through Thursday afternoons each week during the school year. Their two most advanced choirs have performed all over the world over the last three decades: Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Please visit www.alachoirschool.org for more information.
Doff Procter, Music Director