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

This month, there are three musical events to put on your calendar:

Sunday 11/5 at 5:00 pm
Choral Evensong and Benediction, featuring music by Parry, Tallis, and a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Doug Major (yours truly), featuring our wonderful soloists Sarah Hunter and Katie Hoyer. There is no reception following this service, but come and join us for beautiful choral and organ music.

Sunday 11/12 at 10:00 am
Our Youth Choir once again leads the music for worship, singing works by Heinrich Schutz and a very exciting arrangement of "This little light of mine."

Sunday 11/19 at 5:00 pm
The Concert Series continues with Ms. Diane Meredith Belcher playing a program called "French Fest!" Diane is one of America's finest organists, having won competitions both here and in Europe. A reception follows this recital. Come join us, and bring a friend or two!

Dates to add to your calendar

  • Choral Evensong—Sun 11/5 at 5:00 pm
    Music by Parry, Tallis, and Major
  • Youth Choir sings morning Eucharist—Sun 11/12 10:00 am
  • Concert Series—Sun 11/19 5:00 pm Diane Meredith Belcher, 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 11/03/2017