Music and Choir
Music is Vital to the Life of Our Congregation!
Choir Music Sundays
At least twice a year, during the December holidays and in the spring, Mark Daugherty, our director of music, and the choir present a major choral work for Sunday service, often with orchestral accompaniment. Recent works have included
- Orff, Carmina Burana
- Brahms, German Requiem
- Linda Twine, Changed my Name
- Bach, Mass in B Minor
- Robert Ray, Gospel Magnificat
- Poulenc, Christmas Motets
- Jason Brown, Chanukah Suite
Special Holiday Music
- Bury last years’ burdens at our New Year New Orleans Jazz Funeral with the Bourbon Street Jazz Band
- Celebrate those who have passed on at our Day of the Dead Service with Los Mariachis Alcones (see below)
- Sing a merry Christmas at our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with the Truly Awesome Choir
- Celebrate African American traditions at our Kwanzaa Service with Abayomi Awodesu and Yomi Peters
Periodically, our services feature guest performers such as Unitarian Universalist singer/songwriter and activist Joe Jencks and singer/songwriter Bernard Sarkissian (see below). Recent guest musicians have also included violinist Lynn Mather, sitarist Thomas Flanagan, and ballet dancers Miranda Lennox and Greg Bomke.
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Mark Daugherty: Director of Music since 1983, Mark Daugherty has built our choir into an outstanding ensemble and led the congregation to its current musically vibrant state. An honors graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Mark also teaches music at Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School and is the Music Director at Old York Road Temple Beth Am. He is listed in the 2006 editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Education. Mark is also our pianist and plays our Austrian tracker organ, which was built in 1964. Mark’s full bio can be found on our Staff page, or click here.
Music Ministry: The Music Ministry works with the Minister and Music Director in planning non-choral music for church services and music for summer services. It also creates programming to minister to musical needs of all church members, and special events such as those shown below.
Choir Leadership: The strong foundation for our musically vibrant congregation, the choir includes some of our most active volunteers. Besides the 5 hour/week commitment needed to create excellent music for services, choir members also prepare for special music services and raise funds to help maintain our instruments. In addition, many serve on other congregational committees. Current co-chairs are Andrea Parry and Linda Smith.
Choir: Under the leadership of our Music Director, Mark Daugherty, and our four professional soloists, our 40-voice choir sings for most Sunday services from September through June. The broad range of selections reaches back to Renaissance and Baroque music—both sacred and secular—and extends to current worship music based in classical, contemporary American and varied world traditions. Rehearses Thursdays from 7:30-9:30 from September through June—open to all. For more information, contact Mark Daugherty.
Instrumentalists, dancers and non-choral singers: Opportunities to make music and dance arise over the course of the year not only accompanying the choir, but also performing solos and in small ensembles (such as our USG Klezmer Band or Medieval Music Ensemble). During the July-August choir hiatus, the Music Ministry arranges music for services using talented musicians from our congregation. Past summers have included singer-songwriters, a spirituals group, a Balkan choir, pianists and other instrumentalists.