Some recent music at St John’s
“This is the record of John” – Orlando Gibbons’ magnificent verse anthem (with Spencer Britten, tenor)
God Omnipotent Reigneth (Charles Wood) – on Feast of Christ the King
Remembrance Day 2016 with Point Grey Secondary Chamber Choir (dir Ann Chen)
In Flanders Fields (Paul Aitkin) – Point Grey Chamber Choir
O Radiant Dawn (James MacMillan) – Point Grey Chamber Choir
Kontakion (Rupert Lang) – St John’s Choir with the Point Grey Chamber Choir
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom teaching and encouraging one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3.16)
St. John’s has one of the finest musical traditions in Vancouver and we continue to promote musical excellence in the Anglican liturgy. We have a fine Musical Director in Michael Dirk whose biography may be found in the staff pages. Our choir provides congregational leadership for singing, whilst at the same time participating and sharing in the worship. If you might be interested in joining us please contact our Music Director.
Why is congregational singing such an integral part of our worship?
There are over 200 scriptural references to music, such as:
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart(Ephesians 5:19)
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!”(Psalm 150:1-6)
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name(Hebrews 13:15)
Singing in church stems from our Hebrew tradition where a prayer isn’t a prayer unless it’s intoned. This tradition was adopted into the early church and thus continues in our present liturgy.
Considering the great variety of instruments available, the only one God handcrafted Himself is our voice, naturally to sing his praise. Just as every face unique, so is the timbre of each voice and music serves as the ultimate medium to unite everyone on the same pitch and rhythm for corporate worship. Hymns serve as part of our confessions, reflecting on the scripture readings of the day as well as the liturgical season. Thus so, the hymnody of our tradition focuses on Christocentric (what was done for us) rather than anthrocentric (our response).
For near half a century St. John’s nave walls have resounded with strong choral leadership in worship assisting with liturgy and hymns while also introducing new hymn tunes. St. John’s is one of few Anglican churches outfitted with Common Praise Hymnals in every pew and encourages harmony singing for those musically so inclined. Beyond hymns, the choir embraces a wide variety of repertoire to further support worship. New singers are always welcome at our Thursday evening rehearsals at 7pm.
The pipe organ has served as the primary instrument for leading worship in the Anglican tradition for the past several hundred years. When the present doors of St. John’s Memorial first opened at Granville/Nanton in 1949, a used three manual Estey reed organ was brought up from the US, was installed and served until it was economically unviable to continue with repairs in 1967. Simultaneously at that time, Fred Carter had just been appointed Music Director and thus proceeded to serve as consultant for the $120,000 contract awarded to the Hallman Organ Company of Ontario. They proceeded to build a grand instrument of some 3600 pipes to Mr. Carter’s specifications that would be the magnum opus of that firm which included some unique features. Being the second largest organ in the GVRD, it has a movable four manual console with adjustable bench, five divisions in the main organ, plus a gallery division with copper State Trumpet and gallery console.