Music has been at the heart of worship in the Judeo-Christian tradition from the earliest times. David, the second king of Israel, was a talented musician who composed many of the Psalms. The apostle Paul encouraged the Christian community of Colossae to “sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude” in their hearts. Plainchant facilitated the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, and every major Christian movement has been defined by the music that proclaims its message.
Indeed, music has resounded with the walls of this sacred space in Meadville since it was built nearly 150 years ago. The hymns, psalms, and anthems we sing each week are vital part of the church's worship, offered to the glory of God and for the nurture of God's people. If you have a musical talent to share, we would be delighted to hear from you!
A mixed-voice choir has been a fixture of our Sunday morning worship since the early 20th century. This choir explores the great musical heritage of the church while including thoughtful works by composers of the present day. Beginning October 2021, the choir's Sunday schedule will be: warmup 9:30-10:00 AM, sing at the 10:00 service, short break, and rehearse until noon. No musical training is necessary, though the ability to sing on pitch is required, as is a basic grasp of musical notation.
Believing in the importance of nurturing the art of choral singing, we annually offer a limited number of scholarships to Allegheny College students who sing with our choir. These singers provide a stable core to our choral sound, and help smooth out seasonal fluctuations in attendance. Click to hear the Chancel Choir sing 'Acclamation for Palm Sunday' by Kevin Dill.
Saint Hildegard Choir (currently on hiatus) Founded in 2014, this 8-10 voice ensemble sings several times per semester, with a focus on Renaissance polyphony, plainsong, and other a cappella music. The choral scholars who sing in the Chancel Choir also sing in the Saint Hildegard Choir. Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings on an as-needed basis.
Click to hear the Saint Hildegard Choir sing 'Sicut Cervus' by G.P. da Palestrina (live recording from Sunday, November 24).
Liberty Bells Established in 1975, this ensemble rings in church about once per month. They have also performed in concerts and other community events, including Meadville’s much-loved ‘Trees of Christmas’ and the annual 'Spring Ring'. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 7:15-8:00 PM. No prior handbell experience is necessary, but the ability to read music is required.
Click to hear the Liberty Bells play 'Carol of the Bells' arranged by William Witherup.
French Creek Brass Quintet (resuming fall 2021) The French Creek Brass Quintet, made up of professional brass players from across western Pennsylvania, has been our artists-in-residence for the past six years thanks to the generous support of Dr. Dennis and Marci Finton. This ensemble typically enriches our worship on several Sundays throughout the year, including Easter Sunday. We look forward to the quintet being with us again in the second half of 2021.
About our Church's Instruments
In January 1970, a disastrous fire damaged the sanctuary and destroyed the four-manual organ built in 1924 by the Tellers-Kent company of Erie. The church engaged the Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo to craft a new instrument of three manuals and 46 (now 47) ranks, inspired by German organs of the 18th century.
This organ was dedicated in November 1972, and since that time has received a new console and blower, but is otherwise largely unaltered. With over 2,500 pipes it is Meadville’s largest instrument, and is frequently used for concerts in addition to being at the heart of our weekly worship.
The stoplist can be found online here at the OHS database.
Please enjoy this short video introduction to our pipe organ!
Piano Our 1897 Steinway model 'B' is often heard at recitals, and is occasionally used for Sunday worship. The rich tones of this historic instrument are an excellent match for the acoustic space it fills.
Handbells We have a full 5-octave set of Schulmerich handbells and handchimes, entirely refurbished in 2015.