Music at All Saints serves worship, community building, and outreach programs. The new All Saints Director of Music will lead the development of music offerings to come.
All Saints Choir
The All Saints Choir, with more than 150 years of history, is one of the oldest choirs of its type in continuous service in the United States. It began as the choir of Men and Boys, founded in 1868, and the St. Cecilia Choir for girls, established in 1878. Today the boy and girl choristers sing the treble part, and adult volunteers sing the lower three parts. Adults and youth may join following an audition. The assembled choir is a vibrant church program that is truly multigenerational.
The choir provides music for the liturgy at Sung Eucharist on Sundays, seasonal choral evensongs and complines, weddings and funerals. The annual service of Lessons and Carols just before Christmas is especially well attended by parishioners and the wider community.
The All Saints choir has produced CDs, collaborated with other choirs and music organizations in Worcester and beyond. The Choir also has toured domestically and internationally. When the pandemic forced the church to close to in-person services, choir members recorded their sung parts separately, and were reunited by technology to form a virtual choir. Staff and volunteers gave their skills to create very high quality service music for remote worship experiences.
Our youngest members
Prelude Choir. The choir community starts young. Children six to eight years old may join the Prelude Choir, where they begin to learn to sing in a group.
Choir membership and music education. The Choir provides unique music education for young people, following the guidelines of the Royal School of Church Music. Choristers learn to read music, develop strong music theory, and sing with supportive direction. They enjoy the milestones of advancement within the ranks of choristers and in the summer, they attend a week-long choir camp.
The mission of the Alumni Association is to support music at All Saints Church. Alumni give financial support to the choir for its activities and for scholarships awarded to graduating choristers. The Alumni Association also helps keep the alumni community in touch with the church, invites members to volunteer with many events, and sponsors reunions.
Rice Memorial Organ
An impressive organ accompanies the choir and also serves as a solo instrument for services, recitals, and performances. The Rice Memorial Organ debuted in 1934 and changes and additions were soon made, funded by William and Lucy Rice. Since then more additions and updates have followed, plus regular maintenance. The Rice Memorial organ is noted for its great power, clarity, and brilliance. Dedicated funds ensure that a tradition of organ recitals continues at All Saints. The recitals typically take place during Lent, and include the Ronald Stalford Memorial Concert in honor of a long-term organist and choir director.
Music and the Arts at All Saints
All Saints seeks to use music and the arts to foster growth of the spirit in people of all ages. There are several opportunities for learning to make music and to enjoy hearing others perform.
Music lessons for young people
- Afternoon Tunes
Afternoon Tunes is a long-standing program at All Saints held on Friday afternoons. Free music lessons for community children from 5 to 15 years old are taught by high school students under the mentorship of professional musicians. Students may borrow an instrument for instruction. The program continued virtually during the pandemic, but the director hopes to reopen fully in fall 2021. Afternoon Tunes is supported by All Saints, the Worcester Arts Council, and the Rex L. Allison Educational Foundation.
“At All Saints, we believe music lessons are for everyone! Learning a musical instrument is, for some kids, a rite of passage and an introduction to a lifelong love of music”
- Pakachoag Music School
Additional options for music education are offered weekdays by the Pakachoag Music School, a tenant of All Saints Church that occupies much of the upper two floors of the church. The School’s philosophy states “The arts live within our spirit”. The Music School and All Saints have been partners in recitals and outreach to the community. Students come from a wide radius, are of all ages (including adults), and every level of musical experience. Some scholarships are offered by the Music School.
The All Saints Music Series
This series has provided a program of special events throughout the year that are educational and build community. The Series accepts additional funds from subscribers and donations. It has featured groups from within our parish plus music professionals from across the nation.
Other performances and recitals
Pre-pandemic, All Saints also produced or hosted shows like Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, held dinner-time fund-raisers that included popular music offered by choir members, and hosted instrumental or voice recitals. Most recently All Saints held a series of concerts for the Choir’s 150th Anniversary. This three-part series explored music across the decades since the birth of the choir and connected the content to the history of All Saints.
A community chorus at All Saints, Vox Omnis, is made up of adults and some youth of the Worcester area. The group explores the choral repertoire and gives occasional performances.