Choir


Sanctuary Choir

Rehearsal: Thursdays 7:15 – 8:45 P.M. during the school year, and 9:00 A.M. Sundays during July and August. New choir members are welcome!  To join the choir, please contact the church office.

The choir is directed by Dr. Stanley Engebretson. An active guest conductor and clinician, Engebretson holds performance degrees in Voice and Piano from the University of North Dakota, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from Stanford University. In addition, he has received several research awards and grants for advanced study in Aspen, San Francisco, New York, and Europe with internationally acclaimed conductors including Gregg Smith, Margaret Hillis, Roger Wagner, Eric Ericson, and Robert Shaw. In addition to his role as Director of Music at NYAPC, he is also Director of Choral Studies and a full-time professor at George Mason University, as well as the Artistic Director of the National Philharmonic Chorale, which performs their series in the new Strathmore Center for the Arts. Engebretson has appeared in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Lithuania, and most recently, Iceland, to present workshops in American music. He can be reached at 202-393-3702 ext. 225.

Regular commitments for the choir included the presentation of two anthems plus introits each Sunday throughout the year, with the exception of August, which is the traditional choir summer holiday. The repertoire continues to be inclusive, reflecting our goals as a church community, with music drawn from varied sources reflecting our international Washington community, with traditional European masterworks, American music (including contemporary, folk, spiritual, American-Indian, as well as new works and traditional hymn tune arrangements by Robert Shaw, Alice Parker, and the like); and multi-cultural music, featuring works from Africa, Asia, and South American countries.

For the past several years, the choir has presented major works in addition to their Sunday music; Masses by F. J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart and others, Cantatas and the Magnificat by J.S. Bach, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; Holy Week music including excerpts from Durufle’s Requiem, Schultz’ St. Matthew Passion, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem; Venetian music from St. Mark’s Cathedral with brass quintet on Easter; a contemporary English festival cantata entitled Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten; plus a series of American music beginning in June and continuing into July; and special Christmas Eve music in a Lessons and Carols service with instruments. Each year, music for Lent and Advent is chosen according to a theme.

Choir members generously donate time for not only presenting the music, but behind-the-scenes work in library and robe maintenance, social committees, and other section leader duties. The choir faithfully maintains the stipulations of its constitution with regular meetings of the Choir Council, regular annual meetings of the entire choir, and other functions, such as retreats to learn notes and advanced choral techniques, and choir parties to enhance the fellowship of our service together.

The volunteer choir is usually augmented by four paid Choral Associate positions. Their presence and vocal leadership both in rehearsal and within the Worship Services are immensely valuable to the growth and ongoing development of the choir. In addition to their musical credentials, all of these people are truly members of the choir, with warm personal connections to the singers within their sections and to the choir at large. While these associates and scholarship singers are an important part of the choral and solo presentations, we remain committed to and are grateful for the ongoing support and leadership of volunteer members such as David Williams, Martha Davis and others who perform solos on special occasions.