We rejoice in many special services throughout the year that involve our members, guest speakers, and youth. Many of them follow the church calendar and revolve around liturgical seasons in the life of the church. Westminster’s special services and worship traditions offer unique opportunities for musical participation as well.
Our annual Lovefeast, presented by the Youth of Westminster on the afternoon of the first Sunday of Advent, is a musical feast as well. It features musicians entirely from within Westminster’s family. Thanks to the participation of approximately 20 volunteers from our Chancel Choir, who meet in a series of separate rehearsals to prepare for the occasion, the Lovefeast holds special meaning and deep joy for all participants. What a wonderful opportunity to work on more of the great Advent/Christmas music that so warms our hearts! For singers who cannot find the time to join the Chancel Choir on a regular basis, here is a very gratifying seasonal opportunity to participate.
Our Chancel Choir presents special Advent/Christmas programs, often in a lessons and carols format, during Sunday morning worship on the second or third Sunday of Advent. These programs are interactive in nature, drawing the congregation into a beautiful musical world during this very special time of year. Here is another seasonal opportunity to sing in the choir, since we often have very specific rehearsal times for this music.
“Instrument Sundays” throughout Advent help keep us focused on the progression of this preparatory season, involving children and adults as full participants in the lighting of the Advent wreath. This is one of Westminster’s most heart-warming musical/spiritual traditions, bringing a very creative perspective to the Advent season as it offers opportunities for Westminster’s members and friends to use their talents to the glory of God.
Ash Wednesday at Westminster is a richly symbolic event, marking the beginning of our Lenten journey. After a church-wide pancake supper, worshipers move to the sanctuary for a touching, multi-dimensional service filled with music, scripture, and prayer.
Westminster’s somber Maundy Thursday service is widely cited as the most profoundly meaningful worship event of the entire year. Through a progressive and unforgettable series of readings, anthems, and hymns, worshipers are made ever more aware of the darkness of Christ’s suffering and death as lights are dimmed and candles are extinguished. Leaving the sanctuary in rare silence and utter darkness, sorrowful hearts wait for the hope and joy of Easter morning.
Easter services at Westminster are spectacular events, filled to the brim with exuberant music for brass, choir, and congregation. Brass players and choral singers graciously and joyfully participate in both morning worship services as the community rejoices in the resurrection of our Lord! The contrast between this morning and the Maundy Thursday service, musically and otherwise, could not be greater.
For a number of years now, our Chancel Choir’s very popular interactive spring program has been held in the Music Room on the first Sunday evening in May. Each themed program is designed to delight, inform, and inspire. Welcoming audiences into the choir’s home space – the beautifully resonant Music Room – fills everyone present with remarkable life and energy. Our audiences interact with the choir throughout, joining in as we creatively sing praise. This approach fosters a wonderful sense of fun-filled community as Westminster’s fellowship is enriched through music.
Though Westminster does not have a regular concert series at the present time, our in-house choirs and ensembles regularly participate in special programs and events. Occasionally, the church also hosts outside musical groups. Music is an ever-present part of our lives at Westminster, whether in the context of concerts, special events, or worship services.
Weddings and memorial services at Westminster provide many opportunities to demonstrate just how varied and meaningful our rich traditions of sacred music can be. In weddings and memorial services, as in all services at Westminster, the focus is on worship. To that end, we always aim to include music that is uplifting, comforting, and appropriate for the worship of God, both in times of joy and in times of sorrow.