Music & Choir

Music is an integral and vibrant aspect of worship at St. Michael’s. The program consists of Music Director Dr. Douglas Major, two professional section leaders, and our adult parish choir.

The choir sings in the 10:00 am Mass from Michaelmas (September) through Trinity Sunday (usually in early June), as well as at monthly Evensong and most major holy days—including the Holy Week Triduum. The choir’s repertoire encompasses such diverse music as plainchant, Renaissance polyphony, nineteenth century choral works, and the great heritage of Anglican cathedral music.

Evensong is sung here on a regular basis, occasionally by guest choirs, and there is also an organ recital series. The organ, a two-manual tracker-action instrument of 29 ranks, was built in 1975 by The C.B. Fisk Company of Gloucester, MA and is housed in an E. & G.G. Hook case dating from 1830.

Doug Major


February and March bring us an array of musical events for your calendar:

Sun 2/4 at 5:00 pm Choral Evensong and Benediction
There will be no reception so all can get home to watch the Patriots go for their 6th Superb Owl :)

Off campus at St. Andrew's Church, Marblehead:
Sun 2/11 at 5:00 pm Concert: Giovanni Pergolesi’s celebrated Stabat Mater will be presented. Our own Sarah Hunter and Katie Hoyer will be performing. A light reception will follow the concert. Requested donation, $10.

Sun 3/4 at 5:00 pm Choral Evensong and Benediction for Lent

Sun 3/18 at 5:00 pm Organ Recital Series featuring Brian Jones. This will be Brian Jones’ third appearance on our series, and his programs are always engaging and delightfully musical. Brian is Emeritus Music Director of Trinity Church, Boston and is Director of the Copley Singers. His program will include music by Schumann, Hollins, Sweelinck, Widor, and J.S. Bach.

Off campus at Christ Church, Andover
Sun 3/25 at 5:00 pm Palm Sunday Brahms' Requiem performed by the combined choirs of Christ Church, Andover and Christ Church, Hamilton, with Jack Russell, conductor, Barbara Bruns and Douglas Major, piano. "A German Requiem", as Brahms called it, is not really a Latin requiem mass, but rather Brahms' own selection of biblical passages set to exquisite music and considered Brahms' masterpiece in the choral genre. Barbara Bruns and I will play the original piano-four-hand arrangement of the composer, and the work will be sung in English.

Thu 3/29 through Sun 4/1 Holy Week liturgies and music, with the Youth Choir singing for Maundy Thursday, the Adult Choir for Good Friday, and The Great Vigil of Easter, all at 7:30 pm.

Dates to add to your calendar:

  • Choral Evensong—Sun 2/4 at 5:00 pm
  • Youth Choir Sings Service—Sun 2/11 at 10:00 am
  • Stabat Mater at St. Andrew's—Sun 2/11 at 5:00 pm
  • Choral Evensong—Sun 3/4 at 5:00 pm
  • Concert Series: Brian Jones—Sun 3/18 at 5:00 pm
  • Brahms Requiem at Christ Church, Andover—Sun 3/25 at 5:00 pm

What exactly is Evensong?
We hope the following excerpt from a great New Yorker article by James Wood may inspire you to attend the next Evensong service:

Suppose you find yourself, in the late afternoon, in one of the English cathedral towns—Durham, say, or York, or Salisbury, or Wells, or Norwich—or in one of the great university cities, like Oxford or Cambridge. The shadows are thickening, and you are mysteriously drawn to the enormous, ancient stone structure at the center of the city. You walk inside, and find that a service is just beginning. Through the stained glass, the violet light outside is turning to black. Inside, candles are lit; the flickering flames dance and rest, dance and rest. A precentor chants, “O Lord, open thou our lips.” A choir breaks into song: “And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” The precentor continues, “O God, make speed to save us.” And the choir replies, musically, “O Lord, make haste to help us.” The visitor has stumbled upon a service, Evensong, whose roots stretch back at least to the tenth century, and whose liturgy has been in almost continuous use since 1549. ... —from the Oct 22nd, 2012 issue

Isn't it nice to know that you don't have to go all the way to England to experience this ancient musical tradition?

Music at St. Michael's: Our online playlist
Evensong, February 2011, featuring the combined choirs of St. Michael's and St. John's Beverly Farms. Listen here
  • Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A, Charles Stanford
  • Anthem: Greater Love Hath No Man, John Ireland
  • Organ Postlude: Carillon Sortie, Henri Mulet



Our Music Director, Dr. Douglas Major

Recordings: Songs of Heaven

Songs of Heaven
Love the music you hear Sunday mornings? Now you can have it anytime you like at home. The musical CD of St. Michael's choir and organ is here! Order copies from the Church Office for just $10 each.

Songs of Heaven CD cover-front
front cover
Songs of Heaven CD cover-back
back cover
last update 03/03/2018