Music in Worship

The Episcopal church has a rich congregational singing tradition, drawing from both Protestant hymnody and the Catholic Mass.

At Ascension, we sing a wide variety of hymns and consider both The Hymnal 1982 and Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal to be our foundational collections of hymns that we draw from for worship each Sunday. We also incorporate music from the Taizé Community, the Iona Community, Latin American traditions, hymnals of other denominations, and a myriad of other sources to keep a balance between familiar and fresh music throughout the year.

We usually sing “service music,” which are musical settings of parts of the liturgy such as the Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy), Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest), Sanctus & Benedictus (Holy, Holy, Holy Lord), and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). Sometimes these are exact settings of the traditional texts, and sometimes they are original compositions that have a similar theme (e.g., any “song of praise” in place of the Gloria).

The Episcopal Church has a long tradition of psalm singing in a style called Anglican Chant. At Ascension, we incorporate this tradition as well as other styles of psalm singing, including verses and responses led by a cantor soloist. Sometimes the psalm is simply read aloud in unison.

Music director Bailey Joy Myers leads congregational singing and provides instrumental selections on the piano and organ every Sunday at the 10 a.m. service, as well as for special services on various Holy Days. The Chancel Choir sings a choral anthem and assists in leading congregational singing September through May.

The Festival Choir and The Rising Voices of Ascension Youth Choir also sing regularly for special occasions, and we have a number of instrumental musicians and ensembles as well. The Handbell Choir; The Sligo Creek Recorder Group; and folk musicians Karen Ashbrook, Paul Oorts, and Sophie Chang all make regular appearances in church services throughout the year.