Over and over again, one hears that “what brought me to St. Paul’s was the music,” or “that liturgy,” referring to the liturgy fully sung by presider, choir, and congregation, for this is who we are as a people.
The St. Paul’s Parish Choir, which sings at the 10:45 mass, is known for the beauty of its tone, its pure intonation, and the subtle musicianship of its unaccompanied singing. Its repertoire ranges from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, emphasizing renaissance motets, composers of our own time (such as Arvo Pärt and John Tavener), and the music of the quintessential Anglo-Catholic composer Healey Willan. The Parish Choir sings every Sunday from September through June and rehearses weekly.
The 8:30 mass features a smaller choir. Its repertoire includes accompanied and unaccompanied music from the Anglican tradition, shape note hymns, Celtic music, and music drawn from other sources. The this choir sings three consecutive Sundays followed by two Sundays off in a five-week cycle. This group rehearses once every five weeks.
Additional ensembles sing on an occasional basis and provide singing opportunities for parishioners who are unable to commit to an ongoing rehearsal schedule. The Women’s Chant Choir, the Men’s Plainsong Choir, the Women’s Choir, and the Shape Note Singers are groups that sing a few times during the year.
The largest choir in St. Paul’s parish, and the most important, is the congregation itself. The level of congregational singing of hymns, psalms, and responses is impressive. One of the joys of many a liturgy is to be singing a hymn and have the organ drop away, leaving the entire congregation singing in remarkable four-part harmony. These occasions expose the beauty, intimacy, and often lump-in-the-throat poignancy of singing together to the Creator with our very human voices. We are a singing community, and music is one of our most bountiful gifts to all who enter.
About Our Organ
St. Paul’s organ was built by the German firm Gebrüder Späth and installed in 1963, making it the first modern tracker action organ to be installed in a church anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Today, the Seattle area boasts many fine mechanical action organs (along with two of the world’s leading organ builders), but it all started here at 15 Roy Street!
|Koppelfloete 8||Gedacktfloete 8||Subbass 16|
|Principal 4||Gemshorn 4||Choralbass 4|
|Rohrfloete 4||Larigot 1 1/3||Fagott 16|
|Flageolet 2||Sesquialtera II||COUPLERS|
|Mixture IV||Trompete 8||I – II|
|Zimbelstern||Krummhorn 8||II – P|
|Tremulant||I – P|