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

The month of October brings us three Sundays in a row with special events:

October 1st—5:00 pm Choral Evensong will feature music by T. Tertius Noble and Harold Darke, both mid-20th century composers in the Anglican choral tradition. (Noble, who was Organist and Choirmaster at St. Thomas Church in NYC summered in Rockport, and he and his wife and son are buried there.)

October 8th at 10:00 am the St. Michael's Parish and Choir will join our friends at Clifton Lutheran Church for a Combined Eucharist. Music by Bach, Vaughan Williams and others.

October 15th at 10:00 am the Youth Choir will lead the music for the morning Eucharist. And at 5:00pm we'll begin our Concert Series, when I'll present a program of Reformation music (500th Anniversary this year!) based on hymns from the great German composers, with the audience having an opportunity to sing along!

Then, we'll all get through the rest of the month with costumes and frivolity!

Dates to add to your calendar

  • Choral Evensong—Sun 10/1 at 5:00 pm
    Music TBD
  • Youth Choir sings morning Eucharist—Sun 10/15 10:00 am
  • Concert Series—Sun 10/15 5:00 pm Douglas Major, organist

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 10/06/2017