Whether you’re participating from the pulpit or the pews, you can enjoy lively musical worship. Our children and adult choirs and our Bell Guild are made up of Christ Church congregants. For a glimpse into the voicing of the more than 3,000 pipes of the new C.B. Fisk organ, read organist Parker Kitterman’s personal reflection, or check out this short video showing the building of our new organ.
The Christ Church Choir
The Christ Church Choir is a collegial mixture of volunteer and professional singers, parishioners and community folk. We sing at services every Sunday at 11 a.m. from September through May, and we rehearse Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m.
New singers of all levels of experience are welcome! Our choral and congregational repertoire is expansive; on a given Sunday, one may hear a rousing African chant calling the people to worship, a traditional hymn accompanied by organ, an American shape-note hymn sung a cappella, or an anthem by Britten, Brahms, Billings or Byrd.
We also sing monthly Evensongs or special seasonal services for All Saints, Advent, Christmas Eve and during Holy Week (see schedule below). Please contact Director of Music Parker Kitterman at 215-922-1695 x27 if you are interested in being part of our groups.
The Christ Church Children’s Youth Choir offers kids a great musical education and singing experience in our historic church. No singing experience or religious affiliation is necessary. We rehearse Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and sing once or twice per month in Sunday morning services or for special occasions. Please contact Parker Kitterman to register children 7 and up.
The Bell Guild
The Bell Guild at Christ Church is a group of parishioner volunteers with keyboard training who peal the bells in the tower before and after worship services. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Bell Ringer, please contact Cecilia Wagner.
The Organ at Christ Church
Christ Church has had many great organs in its 300-plus-year history, including the 1766 Feyring organ, the 1836 Erben organ and The Curtis Memorial Organ, which blessed the worship at Christ Church for more than 75 years.
In September 2017, a new organ arrived at Christ Church. C.B. Fisk Organ Builders of Gloucester, Massachusetts, have designed a new pipe organ to fit our restored 1836 organ case.
Unlike mass-produced organs that rely on electricity, mechanical-action pipe organs send pressurized air through pipes operated by a keyboard. Each pipe offers one sound, a pitch “voiced” through a laborious and timely tuning process, making the organ uniquely fitted to the architecture of historic Christ Church. As the pipes sing with one another, they will call us to worship with beauty, power and sensitivity.
We dedicated the new Esther Wideman Memorial Organ in May of 2018 (for more info, click here). You can join us to hear it played during Sunday morning services and at special events.
Please join us in building an endowment to maintain and preserve this new tracker organ, handmade specifically for acoustics and architecture of Christ Church Philadelphia.
Contribute to the Preservation Trust to help fund the organ
Musical Calendar 2019-2020
Choral Eucharist (music, prayers and communion): Sundays at 9 & 11 a.m.
Open Choir Rehearsals: Thursdays in September we invite anyone interested to sit in on our choir rehearsals, from 7-9 p.m. in the choir room of Neighborhood House. We sing each Sunday for the 11 a.m. service, but no commitment is required to join at this time. The music that month will be fun and accessible, and it’s a great chance to see if it might be for you. Even if you don’t sing but play an instrument or could volunteer to usher for our concerts, let us know by contacting Parker Kitterman at email@example.com
Vespers and “First Friday” concerts:
Friday, Sept 6, 7 p.m. Kleine Kammermusik This unique ensemble of oboes, recorders, and continuo instruments presents a special program of French baroque chamber music.
Monday, Sept 23, 7 p.m. Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians Audience Appreciation Concert An orchestra ensemble offers a free, interactive program as part of a citywide day of events.
Friday, Oct 4, 7 p.m. Fantasmagoria Duo Anna Meyer and Erik Meyer premiere five new works for flute and organ, featuring the Esther Wideman Memorial Organ, C.B. Fisk Op. 150.
Sunday, Nov 3, 5 p.m. All Saints Service of Remembrance featuring Requiem by Parker Kitterman, a work described as “producing a seamless fabric in which plainchant, modern classical, and jazz styles not merely co-exist but come together to proffer a whole greater than the sum of all their individual parts.”
Tuesdays in December (Dec 3, 10, 17, 24): Tuesday Noon Organ Recitals Sponsored by the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, each week at noon a different organist will present a half-hour program of varied repertoire on our fabulous Fisk organ. Dec 3 Sean Burns; Dec 10 Andy Heller; Dec 17 Mark Bani; Dec 24 Paul Fejko
Sunday, Dec 8, 5 p.m. Lessons & Carols An annual Advent tradition with seasonal carols sung by the Christ Choir, with preludes by John Lionarons, hammered dulcimer.
Sunday, Dec 22, 5 p.m. “Carols for a Cause” Get in the Christmas spirit with candlelit caroling in historic Christ Church, led by the combined choirs of Christ Church and Old First Reformed, all while benefiting their shared ministry to the homeless. All are welcome, free of charge, donations gratefully received.
Tues, Dec 24, 8:30 p.m./9 p.m. Christmas Eve Cantata followed by 9 p.m. Festive Eucharist A special performance of Handel’s Messiah, Part 1, with the Christ Church Choir and soloists, precedes a worship service full of favorite hymns and other beautiful music.
Sunday, Jan 12, 5 p.m. Quintave and Epiphany Singers, two chamber choirs of up-and-coming young artists, perform a special Vespers concert
Sunday, Feb 9, 5 p.m. Jazz Vespers Jay Fluellen and the Philadelphia Community Mass Choir with the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas choirs, join forces with the Christ Church Choir and the Lucas Brown Trio
Stay tuned for more of the winter/spring schedule!