Focus of the Music Program

The primary focus of the music program at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the liturgy: The music chosen is to strengthen each worshipper's spiritual growth and sense of belonging to a community that worships not only with spoken words but also with sung anthems. Much of our liturgical music is sung a cappella and includes works from the rich heritage of renaissance and classical music as well as from African and twentieth century liturgical music. At present, the congregation has a repertory of six different musical settings for Mass and the music changes with each liturgical season. The secondary parts of the music program include the choir programs for adults and children and the concert opportunities that provide an enriched musical life for the greater Chappaqua community. Four times a year, the choirs present a formal Evensong service that is combined with or followed by a concert, and the renowned concert series, Ars Antiqua, presents three concerts per season at St. Mary's. The church organ, Gress Miles opus 1 built in 1964, was recently replaced with a three-manual Allen, reconditioning the best of our pipe ranks and creating a superb digital-pipe combination instrument.

Senior Choir

The senior choir is open to all parishioners from high school through adult ages. The membership of 18-22 singers rehearses in the Parish Hall each Wednesday evening from 8:00-10:00 PM and again on Sunday mornings for an hour before the main service. In addition to leading the principal weekly liturgy, the choir presents four Evensong services a year and sings daily during Holy Week including the Easter Vigil and the Easter Day services. Its repertory covers most periods of the Anglican musical heritage with the emphasis on Elizabethan and Tudor a cappella music and works from the latter part of the twentieth century, including PSrt, Tavener, and Stravinsky. Twice a year, the choir has full-day workshops with specialists in vocal technique to help us improve our singing abilities. And then there are the choir parties that happen spontaneously several times during the year!

Junior Choir

The Junior Choir is open to all children in the second through sixth grades. The emphasis is on learning to sing properly and learning the music for the liturgy. At present, the twenty-six members of the choir meet on Wednesday evenings from six to seven o'clock and then have a pizza dinner together in the Parish Hall. The choir sits together every Sunday and performs once a month at the principal service. Two assistant directors who are Junior High students with exceptional musical talent assist the music director in the training of the choristers who receive public recognition of their accomplishments by the awarding of the Cottas when they have passed various stages in their musical development.