Music & Choirs

The Westminster Chancel Choir singing Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque

The mission and structure of the music program at Westminster Church are intended to encourage and enable the entire50th anniversary with choir and congregation church family to participate – to serve, learn, and grow in knowledge and ability, and to have fun in fellowship. Evolving with the changing demographics of the congregation, the music program is geared toward developing and employing potential musical gifts and strengths within the membership. The choir family and I warmly welcome anyone wishing to join us in a most rewarding endeavor, and I encourage you to contact me at the church with any questions.

You can also download this year’s Music at Westminster information in a format suitable for printing.

Peter J. Van Eenam, Organist and Choirmaster

The 2016-2017 choir rehearsal schedule is as follows:

  • Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs (rehearsing jointly) on Wednesdays from 4:45 – 5:45 p.m., beginning August 31
  • Brass Choir Mondays, 5:45 – 6:45 p.m., beginning September 12
  • Chancel Choir on Wednesdays from 7:30/8:00 – 9:30 p.m., beginning August 24
  • Four-in-Hand Ringers on Thursdays from 8:00 – 8:30 p.m., beginning September 15
  • Handbell Choir on Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., beginning September 15
  • Rainbow Choir on Tuesdays from 5:30 – 6:00 p.m., beginning October 4
  • Trombone Choir: TBA
  • Westminster Choristers on Sundays from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., beginning August 28
  • Recorder Ensemble on Thursdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., beginning September 8
  • Westminster Strings TBA
  • Young Musicians’ Class Mondays from 5:15 – 5:45 p.m., beginning in October 3
This is Westminster’s adult choir, devoted to advanced choral repertoire and to leading the music of worship, typically at the 11:00 service, each week. The choir will also lead choral evensongs and sing major works with orchestra.
Comprised primarily of high school students, this choir sings music for mixed voices of all periods and styles. Unaccompanied works are sung as well as music with instrumental accompaniment.
This choir is for boys with unchanged voices in the third through eighth grades. Literature for treble voices is explored as well as music that is traditionally sung by the English choirs of men and boys.
An ensemble for girls in the third through eighth grades, Girls’ Choir also sings fine treble repertoire. As with the Boys’ Choir, rehearsals include the development of part singing as well as a knowledge of hymnody.
An introduction to musicmaking and the choral music program, Rainbow Choir’s activities promote healthy vocal production, pitch matching and other aural skills, and familiarity with music notation. This choir is comprised of children ages four and five.
Generally intended for young singers in the first and second grades, this choir continues to further develop skills nurtured in Rainbow Choir, with an emphasis on ensemble singing. Hymn singing and sightsinging are introduced as well as more advanced notation.
Repertoire for this choir includes music written for English handbells as well as transcriptions. Occasionally members of this group will accompany other choirs. Many techniques of ringing are utilized, including four-in-hand ringing. Anyone with a piano background is encouraged to participate.
Westminster Church enjoys music for brass frequently throughout the year. Repertoire from five centuries is played by this choir of brass players college-age and older.
This choir is a subgroup of the Brass Choir, playing music written exclusively for low brass.
The Recorder Ensemble explores and performs repertoire mostly from the Renaissance and Baroque, including music originally written for recorder as well as transcriptions. The group occasionally accompanies choirs and has played with harpsichord continuo.
This ensemble began as an intergenerational string group in 2000 essentially out of the violin studio of Westminster’s own Helen Bryenton, but in recent years has transitioned into an ensemble of advanced and professional musicians devoted to the string literature. Music also includes repertoire involving choirs.
DCP_2587-editedAn organ recital series, Musica Organi is now in its tenth season, bringing organists from around the world to Knoxville and East Tennessee. The congregation and the community are cordially invited and admission is without charge.

Richards, Fowkes & Company’s Opus 7 organ was installed in the main sanctuary and voiced beginning in September 1998. It was dedicated the following May with a recital given by Robert Clark, who served as the consultant. The organ is 33 ranks, with 25 stops on two manuals and pedal. It is strongly influenced by the work of Arp Schnitger and the North German/Dutch tradition and yet reflects an eclecticism that successfully supports the wide range of musical demands placed on it by the many periods of church music included in worship and concerts at Westminster.

Normal Marsh OrganWestminster also has a lovely organ in the back gallery of the Chapel/Fellowship Hall (the original sanctuary of the church). Marty and Frank Marsh gave it to Westminster in 1969 in loving memory of their daughter, Cathy Marsh, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1968. The organ was dedicated on Easter Sunday of 1969. Alfred E.Lunsford of the Schantz Organ Company built the instrument, modeled after North German and Dutch organs of the Baroque period, combining a Schantz console and German pipework. Its 14 ranks of pipes appear as 12 stops on two manuals and pedal.

More information about Musica Organi can be found at www.musicaorgani.org.

This is an account funded by gifts from friends and members of Westminster Church to make possible concerts and other special musical events.