Sing to God, sing praises to his name
sing to the lord a new song
our music program
Calvary is blessed with an outstanding music program, including an excellent choir, an organist/choirmaster who is also an acclaimed composer, and a number of musicians who offer their gifts at Sunday services, Coffee House evenings, the parish picnics, and other special events. Calvary also offers a choral scholar and organ scholar program.
Additionally, Calvary hosts several annual concerts featuring internationally-known organists and/or conductors, and also presents programs featuring the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble (a professional chamber choir), with its co-founder and director (and our organist and choirmaster) Howard Helvey. Musicians who would like to participate in the music program, who wish to play or sing at Calvary, are encouraged to contact Howard.
The Calvary Choir
Comprised of skilled volunteers and between six and eight Choral Scholars, the Calvary Choir primarily assists in liturgical leadership during the weekly Sunday 10:30 AM services. The choir season runs September through May; rehearsals are on Thursday evenings at 7:30 in Hannaford Hall (the parish hall directly behind—and connected to the church), and a brief rehearsal is held in the Chancel at 9:45 AM each Sunday prior to the 10:30 AM service.
The Choir also participates periodically in other services and programs, including the Annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, special liturgies on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and in collaboration with guest conductors, composers, organists, and choirs. Recent collaborative highlights have included singing under the guest-direction of Mack Wilberg (Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Gerre Hancock (former Organist and Master of the Choristers, St. Thomas Church, New York City) and Stephen Cleobury (Director of Music, King’s College, Cambridge, England).
The repertoire of the Calvary Choir is diverse, based largely on the classical choral/organ tradition, but with an eye and ear to contemporary expression as well. In any given period of a few weeks at Calvary, one might chorally experience: Gregorian chant; motets and anthems by Thomas Tallis, Orlando Gibbons, J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, Eric Thiman, Herbert Howells, John Rutter and K. Lee Scott; and spirituals and folk-hymn settings by William Dawson and Alice Parker. Anthems, hymns and service music by organist/choirmaster Howard Helvey are frequently presented as well.
Congregational singing enjoys a fervent, special tradition at Calvary Church. Led primarily by the magnificent 3,240-pipe E. M. Skinner organ, Calvary’s hymnody and service music is expressed primarily from two books: the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 and Lift Every Voice and Sing II. 21st-century hymn texts and tunes are incorporated as well, drawing from poets and authors such as Mary Louise Bringle, Thomas Troeger and Brian Wren, and composers David Hurd, William Rowan and Jane Marshall. The psalms are sung weekly primarily using Anglican chant with newly-composed congregational antiphons.
On occasion, Howard Helvey seeks to pair hymn texts and tunes that have historical significance, such as Nearer, My God, to Thee (words by Sarah F. Adams) with the tune HORBURY (composed by John Bacchus Dykes), widely reputed to be the final piece of music played by the 8-musician band aboard the RMS Titanic as it sank during the early hours of 15 April 1912.