Welcome to the music program at The Congregational Church. Whether you are a singer, a handbell ringer, a keyboardist, an instrumentalist, or a listener, our church welcomes and nurtures your talents! The church is a safe place for everyone from ages 2 to 100 to participate. We encourage everyone to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” either in a choir or as a member of the congregation. New members are welcome at any time!
The Chancel Choir, led by Jody Blaine Davis, is the adult choir which sings weekly in the 10:00am service and in special services throughout the year. Each Advent and Lenten season a major work, with a small instrumental assemble, is featured at the 10:00am service. Special services include a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and the Mary Bradley Clarke Benefit Concert. Six section leaders assist with the vocal support of the choir. Rehearsals are Thursdays from 7:30 – 9:00pm and Sundays at 9:00am for the 10:00am service. The varied repertoire includes anthems that are classical, hymn based, gospel, and contemporary. These may be accompanied by the organ, piano, instruments, or a cappella.
Joyful Ringers began during COVID and has continued to enhance the worship services. This adult choir has five octaves of bells: four octaves of White Chapel Bells and one octave of Schulmerich bells. Music reading skills are essential in this choir. Weekly rehearsals are to be announced in the near future.
The Mary Bradley Clarke Fund
Mary Bradley Clarke was the wife of The Reverend Merrill Fowler Clarke, minister of The Congregational Church of New Canaan from 1922-1950. Mrs. Clarke sang in the Chancel Choir, and was vitally interested in the ministry of music. During her time here, much was done to improve the quality and interpretation of the heritage of church music, and to introduce appropriate new forms of musical worship into the worship services. In her last will and testament, Mrs. Clarke bequeathed monies to the Music Ministry of The Congregational Church designated to provide singers and instrumentalists for special musical programs. The Mary Bradley Clarke Memorial Fund was established in 1973.
In May of each year, a concert is held in celebration of her continuing legacy to this church and to the wider community. The concert is free and open to the public.
Children’s Music and Drama
We have a robust program schedule for Children’s Music and Drama planned for this coming season. We look forward to all the children joining us as we sing together. To register, fill out a form online, click here grab a paper form from Smith Hall. All choirs will follow the New Canaan Public School guidelines to ensure that children will stay safe and healthy.
Age Three – Five. Tuesdays, 3:00pm – 3:30pm
Cherubs are introduced to basic music concepts, develop musical skills for the voice, and are introduced to percussion instruments through rhythm and dance. Cherubs sing in the worship services occasionally and participate in the annual children’s musical.
Grades K – 2. Tuesdays, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Spirit Singers continue building good vocal and rhythmic skills and sing both contemporary and traditional repertoire with Christian emphasis. Spirit Singers sing an opening hymn on the first Sunday of the month and preludes or anthems during the program year. They participate in the Mary Bradley Clarke Benefit Concert and present a musical each year. Spirit Singers enjoy outreach by singing twice a year at The New Canaan Inn.
Grades 3 – 4. Tuesdays, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Joyful Noise sings regularly and leads in service anthems with the Chancel Choir or Spirit Singers as well as solos and small ensembles. The Christian emphasis continues in our repertoire where we fine tune musical skills, vocal production, musical reading, rhythm advancement, and instrumental knowledge through contemporary and traditional pieces. Joyful Noise sings twice a year at The New Canaan Inn, participates in the Mary Bradley Clarke Benefit Concert, and has significant leadership roles in the spring musical.
Junior Worship Team
Grades 5 – 8. Select Sundays at 11:15am
The Junior Worship Team is a great way for kids to continue being musically involved in the church and helps them prepare for when they’re ready to contribute and lead praise and worship in youth group. The Junior Worship Team meets once a month and sings regular engagements with both the adult choir, children’s choir, and on their own. This year, we are going to focus on the concept of worship, and how it enriches our spiritual lives. We are also going to focus on how the act of freely offering oneself in service affects our own worship and praise to God. This year, the Junior Worship Team will join the Chancel Choir for the Lessons and Carols service and Mary Bradley Clarke Benefit Concert.
Music Ministries News
Our Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ
Built in 1956. Originally the Great was in the right-hand chamber. In 1996, a new chamber was built behind the choir loft and a new Austin Great windchest installed with the original pipes, plus a 2’ Fifteenth and 8’ Trumpet. (Note the flourescent lighting in the chamber in the photos).
The original Great windchest is still there, called Enclosed Great. Only two flute (8’ & 4’) ranks are installed on this chest. Mr. Feldhaus also changed the expression shades from horizontal to vertical – a good change.
Otherwise, the organ is as original. The Aeolian-Skinner console was rebuilt by Mr. Feldhaus at this time.