Music

Grace Church choir practicing before a special service

Grace Church Adult Choir

Under the direction of Mark Cleveland, this choir of men and women is an integral part of Sunday morning worship at 10:30 (mid-September through mid-June), leading the singing of hymns and liturgical music as well as performing an offertory anthem. They are also present at all major feasts which fall during the week, such as Ash Wednesday; and they sing Evensong typically 2-3 times a year. They rehearse from 7:30-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and again 45 minutes before Sunday worship.

New singers are always welcome! You can reach Mark through the church office or just show up at choir practice!

Music’s on the Menu

Once a month during the program year, ensembles from the Manchester Community Music School perform a free concert in the Grace Church sanctuary.  The concerts take place on the third Wednesday of the month and run from 12:10-12:50 PM.  Audience members are welcome to bring a bag lunch and to come and go as necessary.  The performers range from vocalists singing Bach to wind trios playing contemporary music

Musical Instruments at Grace Church

In 1975, The Andover Organ Company of Methuen, Massachusetts built and installed the fine, two-manual and pedal organ of 16 stops (hand-drawn knobs on either side of the keyboards) composed from 19 ranks (rows) of pipes operated by a totally mechanical (“tracker”) action. There are a total of 968 pipes of wood and metal in the instrument. The Zimbelstern (Cymbal Star), activates a set of small bells and the rotating star visible in the upper center of the case and was added in 1996. A tremolo affecting the manual keyboard stops was added in 2015.

The 1930’s Mason and Hamlin grand piano was purchased by the church in the late 1990’s and expertly refurbished by the New England Piano Restoration Co., then located in the Millyard in downtown Manchester.

The harmonium (reed organ) was built by the Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro,Vermont in 1915. It is a completely portable, single-reed, foot-pumped, so-called Military Chaplain’s Organ or “folding organ.” It came into the possession of the Robert Fox family who donated it to the church. Through the generosity of parishioners and the careful restoration done by Bruce Stevens of Wells River, Vermont, it was first heard in worship on Palm Sunday in 2016.

A parish-wide fund drive in the summer of 2016 resulted in the purchase of four octaves of Suzuki hand chimes to be used by the children of the Sunday School (see St. Michael’s Children’s Chimers).

Four other pianos are available throughout the rest of the church and parish hall building in the Choir Room, Great Hall, Library, and Sunday School area.

The St Michael’s Children’s Chimers

The church building includes St. Michael’s Chapel, named after the patron Saint of Grace Church. The children’s musical group of the same name was begun in September of 2016 and is led by Kenneth Grinnell. Rehearsals are held from 10:45-11:00 am during Sunday school as a regular part of the morning. Music involves chiming and singing and is offered in worship generally on the third Sunday of the month for “Children in Church” and on important occasions such as Christmas Eve and Easter. The basic instruments are the four octaves of hand chimes which, being made of aluminum, are light and easy to play; the pure sound also blends well with young voices. Since the Sunday school is made up of a wide age range of children, the music is arranged simply but effectively to accommodate the different ages and abilities. Since its founding, the St. Michael’s Children’s Chimers has built up a repertoire of fifteen or more songs drawn from what might be called “basic Christian music for all ages from all ages.” This repertoire includes songs such as “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” (American), “Lord of the Dance” (American Shaker) or “Jesu, Jesu” (African); hymns such as “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” or “Morning Has Broken”; and music for season of the church year: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. On the third Sunday, the children also take turns ringing the steeple bell.