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


Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany always bring light and life to St. Michael's Church. There are many wonderful events that bring our community together as well as enable us to welcome our Marblehead friends and neighbors. Here are the special musical events for the season:

Sun 12/10 Advent Lessons and Carols
At 5:00 pm, St. Michael's Church presents Advent Lessons and Carols, with traditional carols "O come, O come Emmanuel", "Sleepers, Wake, a voice is calling", and "I sing of a maiden", and the Magnificat by Thomas Tallis. The service of readings and music is free open to all; a reception follows in the Parish Hall.

Sun 12/24 Christmas Eve Services
- At 5:00 pm, the Family Service with Pageant and Eucharist (Music by the St. Michael's Youth Choir)
- At 9:45 pm, the Festival Eucharist for the Nativity of Christ (Music by the St. Michael's Adult Choir) will feature traditional carols, beautiful anthems, and seasonal organ music.

Sun 1/7 Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
At 5:00 pm, this beautiful sung service of readings, prayers, anthems, and hymns will feature the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Orlando Gibbons, and Felix Mendelssohn's "There shall a star from Jacob", highlighting the Feast of the Epiphany and the visit of the Three Kings to Bethlehem.

Sat 1/20 The American Songbook

At 3 pm, Sarah Hunter, Katie Hoyer, sopranos, Ian Hunter, percussion, Nick Yeager, bass, and Douglas Major, piano revisit The American Songbook. Featured songs include music from Bernstein's "West Side Story", and songs by Cole Porter and others. Last year, this concert was enthusiastically received, and this year's line-up will be another great afternoon of music in the Parish Hall. (Suggested Donation: $10)

Dates to add to your calendar:

  • Advent Lessons and Carols—Sun 12/10 at 5:00 pm
    Traditional carols and the Tallis Magnificat
  • Youth Choir sings Family Service—Sun 12/24 5:00 pm
  • Choral Evensong and Benediction—Sun 1/7 5:00 pm
  • The American Songbook—Sat 1/20 3:00 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 12/02/2017