Our Music Program
Music at St Hilary’s is an integral part of the worship service and an opportunity for service, musical education, and spiritual enrichment for all ages. St Hilary’s has a wonderful musical tradition and has always focused on its ministry rather than the performance of music. Our mission is to bring the Word to light and to lift the spirits in God’s presence.
The music at St. Hilary’s seeks continually to enhance the worship experience through a balanced repertoire of traditional hymns, music of the masters from the 16th to the 21st centuries, psalms, and songs of praise and renewal. The service music and hymns, most of which are congregational, come from the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church as well as from several alternative sources.
Music at the Saturday evening “Come As You Are” Eucharist is led by piano/keyboard and is typically more contemporary.
The adult choir sings at the 10:30am Rite II service each Sunday and during the special services of the church year. Since many of our choir members are seasonal residents to Southwest Florida, we switch to music suited for 15 or less voices during the summer time period of June, July and August. The choir membership swells to nearly 34 during “season” here in what we call “paradise,” yet there is always room for one more!
In addition to the more serious task of providing suitable music for worship services, St Hilary’s choir likes to have fun. We’re proud of our real “family” feel and look forward to opportunities to get together to enjoy each other’s company outside of our rehearsals and worship service times. St Hilary’s may in fact be the only Episcopal congregation that has a kazoo ensemble that likes to “perform” at parties and light-hearted programs when appropriate! We like to have fun.
Our Music Director, Stephen Brittain and Accompanist, Alena Michel, as well as many of our choir members, participate in other musical endeavors locally. St Hilary’s plethora of musical talent is very visible community wide!
Our rehearsals are 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM each Thursday and and warm-up time is at 9:50 AM Sundays. All members of the choir are volunteer adults. There are no auditions, and an ability to read music is not a requirement, although the majority in each section sight-read very well. New members quickly learn how to follow a score.
Did You Know?
While most of us just see the choir in their musical role on Sunday mornings there is a tremendous amount of time and effort that often goes unnoticed.
Did you know…
The choir learns and sings over 130 anthems in a regular church year?
Over 60 hours are spent together on Thursday night rehearsals during choir season?
The choir provided $24.95 (each) for purchase of 38 new energy saving light bulbs in the choir gallery?
The choir and congregation raised $6,000 for the pipe organ upgrade?
The choir director approached the Price Foundation (a philanthropic organization) that agreed to match the $6,000 for the pipe organ upgrade?
The choir, with help from generous church members, spearheaded and raised over $3500.00 to replace the organ chimes as a memorial to two special choir members.
A member of the choir who is a retired organ builder agreed to spearhead the retrofit of the pipe organ console and install the chimes which saved thousands of dollars?
The choir has been to the bedside of sick St Hilary’s members?
The choir has taken their Classical Kazoo Ensemble to several functions?
The choir has sung Christmas Carols for several for group functions?
The choir annually presents Fredrick Moyer, pianist, in concert?
The choir purchased a new piano bench with the proceeds from the Moyer concert?
The choir will be repainting the interior of the Parish Hall this summer?
Choir members also serve this congregation as eucharistic visitors, vestry members, and celebrants?
We are grateful for their willingness to get involved in so many facets of the life of St Hilary’s. When you see them, be sure to express your thanks.
Let the Chimes Ring Out!
It is with great pleasure that I announce that the Memorial Chimes, given in honor of Steven Jessop and Dick Garland, have been installed. These high quality chimes replace the ones that had been in service for many years and were almost unplayable due to their age and mechanical condition.
Installation was no easy task as it required scaffolding be rented and then erected to reach the nearly 20 foot height off the floor. Additionally the chimes are over a stairwell so extra steps had to be taken in order to safely work on this installation procedure.
St Hilary’s is fortunate, once again, to be able to call upon retired pipe organ builder David Melrose who engaged the able assistance of Dale Koehn (Stephen Brittain’s partner) in order to accomplish this. This “labor of love” saved St Hilary’s several thousand dollars in installation costs and we are grateful for the help of these gentlemen.
This gift will be presented to the congregation sometime later this year once the family of those memorialized have returned to Florida to share in this moment with us.
For those that helped make this gift possible, let me express my thanks on behalf of the Choir, the music program and our organist, Alena. Personally, I will remember the fine friends that this gift represents and am grateful for this wonderful addition to our music program.
Stephen Brittain, Music Director