Music at St Mark
Along with the beginning of school is the beginning of our music rehearsal season. Choir and ensembles take a break from rehearsals and from routinely participating in worship services during the summer. After a summer hiatus however we are anxious to be back in rehearsal, practicing and planning music for worship, music to celebrate the spoken word, music to feed our souls, music that uses the marvelous collection of talent at St Mark. To veteran musicians and to those that may want to join a choir…take note of rehearsal times below.
We look forward to the 2017-2018 church year as we celebrate the 5ooth Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 and the 50th Anniversary of St Mark in 2018. The music ministry of St Mark is looking forward to how music will help create glorious celebrations for these two milestones. Along this journey we join in the royal priesthood, a community of voices, joining together in word and song to praise God with our God-given gifts, Sunday after Sunday. Martin Luther himself reflected that, “after theology, I accord to music the highest place and greatest honor.” So does St Mark…lucky us!
Music and Worship
On Sunday, February 19th, the children and youth participated in Worship Services by presenting “Table for 5,000”. Thanks to all who helped to bring this message to our St Mark family.
The sung liturgy is a jewel of the Lutheran church and St Mark offers this sung liturgy as the basis of our worship structure. A shorter service, however, with spoken liturgy and a hymn is offered each Sunday morning at 9:30am.
The worship music at St Mark is rooted in traditional settings gathered from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the Lutheran Book of Worship, With One Voice and other liturgical resources. Changes to both music and liturgy within the worship services are some of the ways liturgical seasons are highlighted and celebrated.
St Mark prides itself with its love of traditional hymn singing with full and creative support from the organ. Worship at St Mark is further enhanced with various styles and genres of music as it serves to glorify God and enhance the scripture. Each Sunday is rich in music, to celebrate, to contemplate, to draw in and to send forth. Thanks be to God!
The organ was built in 1913 by the Austin Organ Company. For seventy-six years it provided music for the congregation of Monumental United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. During that time it was rebuilt twice – in 1939 and again in 1967. In 1989 the council of St Mark recommended the purchase of the organ from Monumental to enhance the worship of the growing St Mark congregation. The organ was completely rebuilt for the sanctuary at St Mark by the Cannarsa Organ Company. Since then a digital component has been added to the organ increasing the size and scope of the musical sounds offered. The present organ has 19 ranks (approx, 1,387 pipes), a floating digital antiphonal division, and additional digital sounds for the choir and pedal divisions via an Ahlborn Galanti Archive Module. The organ serves admirably for services and special occasions at St Mark. Continued upkeep and discussions for organ renovation are ongoing to ensure that St Mark maintains a place of proud pipe organ music on the peninsula of southeastern Virginia.
An adult choir of approximately 30 singers meets regularly on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 for rehearsal in preparation for participation in both 8:00 and 11:00am worship services on Sunday mornings. The choir offers mostly 4-part anthems, a variety of hymn enhancements, support for multiple service music settings used through the church year, and larger works and special music for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
Although hand bells have been around for centuries, tradition holds that the English Handbells we now use began in Great Britain as a way for the ringers of the cathedral tower bells to rehearse without annoying the whole town. As handbells were improved and additional notes were added, handbells became recognized for their own beautiful tunes.
Ringing in a handbell choir is a wonderfully unique way to make music. You are part of a choir, combining to create a resonant melody. But you are also the only member who plays your specific notes. It is this combination of camaraderie and challenge that makes handbell ringing so much fun!
Adult Bell Choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 beginning September 14. We ring to the glory of God about once a month during the 11:00 service.
Youth bell choir rehearses on Sunday afternoons whenever there is Confirmation class at 5:00. Youth Bells rehearses from 4-5 pm. Each choir praises God in church about once a month by ringing the preludes to the 9:30 and 11:00 services. Regular rehearsals start on September 6th for Adults and October 1st for Youth.
MUSIC MAKERS (3 year-olds)
Minister of Music: Greta Melson
Greta presently serves as director of choirs and organist at St Mark. She brings many years of church music experience to St Mark. Greta most recently worked as choral director at Gloucester High School, Gloucester Virginia, from which she retired and now resides in Yorktown with her husband Duane. She has two grown children, Mitchell and Jenna Reed. Greta holds B.S. and B.A. degrees in music education and in piano, respectively. She holds a Master of Music Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Through her work in the United Methodist, the Episcopal and now the Lutheran church, Greta brings a wealth of music and worship experiences to St Mark. Greta has a passion for choral music for all ages, for planning worship and for playing the organ that all gets put to good use at St Mark!