Music at Ascension

At Church of the Ascension, music drives our 10:00am Eucharist. Through the music of our Choir, Instrumental Ensemble, Piano and Organ, we come together in songs of worship, reflection, and praise. In a typical worship service, you can expect to hear music from a variety of cultures, styles, and traditions. The Hymnal of 1982 is the backbone of our congregational singing, but other hymnals such as Wonder, Love, and Praise, Lift Every Voice and Sing, and Gather are represented as well.

Choir and Instrumental Ensemble

If you sing or play an instrument, you should consider using your musical abilities in our choir or instrumental ensemble. We are always recruiting new members and welcome musicians of all ages and skill levels.

The Ascension Choir is a fine group of around 18 volunteer singers. They perform every Sunday morning at the 10:00am Eucharist between September and early June. Sight reading ability is helpful, but not required to join. Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm to 9:00pm, but between the months of February and May, they rehearse on Tuesday evenings instead.

Our Instrumental Ensemble is a small but energetic group who plays some of the congregational music in our worship services. They meet at 6:30pm the same evenings the choir rehearses since some our members like to participate in both groups. Reading music notation and chord charts are important skills to have in this group. If you play guitars, keyboards, strings, or winds, this is the great group for you to try.

The Great Organ at Ascension

In 1999, Ascension was afforded the wonderful opportunity to purchase a pipe organ as the result of a large gift by long-time Ascension choir member, Graham Hartwell. The gift was in response to Graham’s love for Ascension, and his commitment to the church’s music program, and the liturgy of the Episcopal Church. After many months of deliberation and research, the organ committee awarded a bid to Casavant Freres of St. Hyacinth, Quebec. Casavant’s tonal and physical design enhanced and supported the diverse musical program of the church and supported the Eucharist as the central focus of our worship.

In January of 2001, the brand new Casavant Pipe Organ was shipped and installed. This organ is made up of 23 ranks, and is played from a 2 manual console. The console is situated on a moveable platform that may be moved to the center of the chancel area for recitals and concerts. Casavant Opus 3801, has a diverse musical timbre, yet with a decidedly French speaking tone. It has rich diapasons, melodious flute stops, and rich and exciting reeds. It is a versatile instrument that allows the choir to be conducted from the console, supports the congregational singing, and performs well as a solo instrument.

The organ’s location is at the left of the main axis of the sanctuary and shares a small portion of the front wall. This instrument was designed to speak well into the nave and was voiced to provide a rich and full organ sound throughout the sanctuary. Many organists comment that the organ speaks much larger than a traditional 23 rank instrument. Whether this instrument is supporting congregational hymn singing, accompanying the choirs, or being utilized as a solo instrument, the sound is energizing and exciting at times, yet soft, warm and consoling when needed. This diverse instrument will be a wonderful addition to the musical culture of this congregation for many, many years.

To hear the Casavant Opus 3801 and other musical selections performed by former Ascension Organist and Choirmaster Paul Kelley on the Great Organ, see below.