Ministry of Music
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” - Ephesians 5:19
Music speaks to parts of the soul that words cannot reach. On festive Sunday mornings, meditative Good Fridays and joyous Christmas events, music at St. Andrew and St. Paul proclaims the Word of God in song, complementing preaching and scripture reading. Every Sunday, our award-winning choir leads the congregation in the singing of hymns, and presents choral introits and anthems a cappella or with organ accompaniment. The Choir also presents special concerts and services throughout the season, often accompanied by an instrumental ensemble. The Church’s monumental pipe organ can be heard in preludes, postludes, hymns and choral accompaniments during church services. Outstanding local and international musicians also perform recitals here throughout the year. Some of the highlights of the Church’s musical season include the annual CBC Christmas Sing-In, a national radio broadcast recorded at The Church early each December; an annual benefit concert for the Maison du Parc, held each November in collaboration with the Montreal Symphony Players’ Association; the major choral service on Good Friday (in the recent past this has included Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart, Fauré and Duruflé’s Requiems); and the Organ Intermezzi solo organ recital series. The choir and organ are also featured on the CD “A New Heaven”, issued in 2016 and available through the church office. A Christmas CD, “LUX”, was launched November 17, 2017 under the label ATMA Classique.
The renowned Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul is a 45-voice ensemble that includes professional singers and auditioned members from the church and Montreal communities. In addition to providing music for the church’s regular worship services, it presents concerts and choral services throughout the year, including the annual CBC Christmas Sing-In, a benefit concert for Maison du Parc in collaboration with the Montreal Symphony Players’ Association, and the presentation of a major choral work on Good Friday.
Photo by Tam Lan Truong
Auditions for the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul are held in May for the professional choristers and in August for the volunteer singers. For more information regarding the requirements and specific dates, please email the choir manager.
The organ of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul was built in 1931 by the renowned Casavant Frères of Ste. Hyacinthe, as that firm’s opus #1457. It is one of the largest instruments on the island of Montreal, containing nearly 7,000 pipes. About 70% of the pipes are located in the chancel; the other pipes speak from the rear gallery. Only the Trompette en chamade (installed in 1992) is visible, mounted prominently below the Black Watch window.
The instrument was cleaned and overhauled by Casavant in 1976-77, and several stops and a new console were added by Caron, Gagnon, Baumgarten in 1992. The tonal work of these rebuilds lent the instrument a neo-baroque flavour, but was unfortunately of uneven technical and musical quality. The console was rebuilt by Casavant in 2001. A gradual tonal renovation of the organ has been ongoing since 2010, whose goal is to replace the 1970s and 1990s-era neo-classical stops with pipework of the early 20th century, of superior material and tonal quality. Like all of the Casavant instruments built between ca. 1890 and 1960, op. 1457 was conceived in the late-Romantic Anglo-American style, and remains a monumental essay in the genre.
The tonal design of the instrument was conceived for the playing of orchestral transcriptions and orchestrally-inspired solo repertoire and accompaniments; the Wagnerian orchestra, with its kaleidoscopic yet seamless colour changes, was the aesthetic ideal for many organists of the period.