The Episcopal Church
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Episcopal Diocese of Springfield

Choral Music Programs

Music can powerfully inspire worship. It can sum up all of our prayers and offer them "into thy presence as the incense." All human beings have talents or personal gifts which have been given them by God. And, it is right that we offer our talents to God in service of the Church and our fellow worshippers. Our ministry is to amplify our worship through musical expression, encouraging and nurturing those who have musical gifts, including everyone in our corporate musical expression. It is our firm belief that, since we have been given gifts or talents from God, we should strive to do our best in rendering to our Creator the musical praises offered by us on earth. It is a matter of proper honor to our Lord that we offer music of the highest quality, both in composition and performance.

The Chapel is proud to offer a solid, traditional program of Anglican music at the principal service each Sunday. The Anglican Musical Tradition is a living tradition, evolving, and including works from the ancient to the modern. Hymns, choral anthems, and the organ voluntaries are carefully selected to amplify the biblical lessons and psalms appointed for each day, in compositional styles appropriate to dignified worship.

The Canterbury Choir

The Canterbury Choir is comprised of volunteer singers, all of whom commit themselves to regular attendance at weekly rehearsals and Sunday services. A wide cross-section of persons within the Congregation are in the Choir, including Champaign/Urbana residents and those within the University community, incorporating those whose musical training ranges from amateur to professional. The personal commitment of each member to regular attendance is the key to its musically inspirational success. The very real fun of singing in the choir is a direct result of the fellowship which thinking, listening, and singing together provides. The choral library is one of the most complete in the area, and we commission new anthems from prominent composers within the Anglican Tradition from time to time.

The Canterbury Choristers: Choristers in Training

The Chapel of St. John the Divine is affiliated with the American branch of The Royal School of Church Music and has established a Chorister program for boys and girls according to the RSCM guidelines.

Unlike a typical children's choir, the Choristers sing with the adult choir and are full participants in the music ministry of the church. Through immersion in liturgical music of the highest quality, the Choristers learn the techniques of singing and score reading and develop an understanding of the Liturgy and the lessons of the church year. The Choristers' motto is: "I will sing with the spirit and with the understanding also."

The Choristers In Training program is being established for children of the Parish from the first grade upwards who aspire to become full choristers. The basics of singing, music reading and church decorum are taught, preparing each child for full participation as a Chorister. The Choristers In Training will sing with the Choristers and the full Choir on special occasions.

Bless, O Lord, us Thy servants that minister in Thy temple. Grant that what we sing with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our lives. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
—Chorister's Prayer

Our Organ: Buzard Opus No. 7

The pipe organ was built in 1991 by John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders. It is comprised of 29 straight speaking stops (36 ranks of pipes) and a Cymbalstern, across two manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard. It visually complements the Chapel's gothic architecture, has been tonally designed to embrace the Anglican Musical Tradition.

The Chapel organ is one of the first built at that time which embodies the somewhat romantic English Cathedral style of organ building; the organ was directly inspired by the famous organs at King's College, Cambridge and York Minster. Although this instrument plays organ literature of all periods quite thrillingly, it is intended as an accompanying organ, used to lead hymn singing and accompany the Canterbury Choir. This instrument has directly inspired the creation of several new pipe organs in other parishes and churches across the United States. (For more about the organ, click here.)

The organ's console deliberately does not have a lock. All who are interested may come and play the instrument. We ask however that you announce yourself to the Administrative Assistant in the office at Canterbury House, wash your hands before playing upon the bone-plated keyboards, and wear proper organ shoes for playing the pedals.

Wider Outreach

St. John's and its parishioners sponsor several special musical programs every year, all of which are of the highest quality, and offered without charge. These often include organ recitals, organ and voice/instrumental ensembles and choral concerts.
The Canterbury Choir also offers solemn evensongs and choral masses. An annual highlight is our Service of Advent Lessons and Carols. There is a high percentage of visitors to the Chapel at these services, whom we welcome warmly.

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss membership in the Canterbury Choir or Choristers with the Organist/Choirmaster, please contact Linda Buzard at (217) 344-3426 or through e-mail: lbuzard@gmail.com.

If you would like further information about the Chapel organ or would like to order an organ CD, please contact John-Paul Buzard at (217) 352-1955 or through e-mail: Jbuzard1@aol.com.

The Choir and Choristers have been featured on a number of compact discs. They are all available from the Chapel.