At the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, we firmly believe that music is an essential and integral part of our spiritual lives, be it in the act of communal worship or on our own individual journey of faith. The universal language of music helps to deepen our faith, affirm our beliefs, inspire us to action, and build community.
The Meeting House is proud to have a distinguished history of quality music and is committed to offering musical opportunities for all to serve. From preschool to more seasoned adults, we have several choirs and instrumental groups that help enhance worship and serve the greater community through concerts and outreach.
Please browse the tabs below to learn about our various choirs, instrumental ensembles, our two incredible mechanical-action pipe organs, and other musical resources. We encourage all who have a voice to raise or an instrument to play to join in our vibrant music ministry at any time! Please contact our Director of Music, Dr. Steven Seigart if you are interested in becoming a part of the musical life of the Meeting House.
The Adult Choir leads the music at the 11 a.m. Sunday worship service from September through May and at special services throughout the year. Our repertoire spans from the earliest chants to newly-composed sacred music, and everything in between. Biweekly Thursday rehearsals from 7:30–9:00 p.m. run from September to May. To join the Adult Choir, please contact Dr. Steven Seigart.
Meeting House Singers is a chamber choir of eight to twelve auditioned singers drawn from the Adult Choir who sing on an occasional basis at both Sunday morning services. Rehearsals are held as needed in conjunction with the Adult Choir.
Age 3 through Kindergarten
They meet from 9:30–9:50 a.m. each Sunday throughout the program year. Faith formation and music making come together in fun ways as our youngest children gather to sing. The Cherub Music Group sings occasionally for Sunday morning worship services and at the Christmas Eve family service.
Grades 1 through 5
They meet from 9:30–9:50 a.m. each Sunday throughout the program year. This choir begins to explore liturgy, hymnody, and choral singing in ways that relate to grade-school choristers. The Children’s Music Group sings occasionally for Sunday morning worship services and at the Christmas Eve family service.
Grades 6 through 12
Music is integrated into the youth fellowship program, and is led by Mary Pratt Perry Youth lead music on Youth Sunday, and at various other times throughout the year.
Our worship music during the summer consists of solos, duets, and ensembles (vocal and instrumental) by members of the congregation and guests for the one Sunday morning service at 10 a.m. during summer months. If you sing or play an instrument and are interested in helping with summer music, please contact Dr. Steven Seigart.
Taizé services are candlelit ecumenical participatory prayer services that consist of music, song and silence. The character of the music is meditative, joyful, prayerful, chant-like, and repetitive. This allows the gathered group to enter into sung prayer that is both corporate and individually centering. The music is designed to be played/sung by any and all musicians available, so if you are interested in helping to lead the music at a Taizé service (held intermittently throughout the year), please contact Dr. Steven Seigart.
From September to June, the Meeting House offers several free concerts as a gift to the community, with free-will offerings to support various charitable causes. These range from our popular and intimate Noonday Noels during the month of December to large-scale performances of choral/orchestral works like Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem. We will be announcing the 2019-20 season shortly, so stay tuned!
About the Meeting House Organs
Prior to the installation of the church’s first pipe organ, congregational singing and chanting of psalms was unaccompanied or supported by a string instrument. In 1817, Jacob Hilbus and Henry Harrison of Washington, DC built and installed the church’s first organ. This organ was destroyed in the 1835 fire and was replaced in 1849 by an organ built by Henry Erben of New York City, which was installed in the apse behind the pulpit. This organ was relocated to the rear balcony in 1927. The Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas installed an organ on either side of the Erben in 1965. In 1997, the Erben organ was returned to its original location in the apse, the Reuter organ was donated to a local congregation, and a new instrument by Lively-Fulcher Organ Builders was installed in the rear balcony.
Lively-Fulcher Organ Builders, 1997 (Balcony)
Mark Lively and Paul Fulcher have each been building organs for more than thirty years. Their goal is simply stated: To build a small number of organs, one at a time, that are of the highest artistic quality using the finest materials available.
Mark Lively has studied music, art, history, and electrical engineering. In 1976 he established the first company in the United States to utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the construction of pipe organs. In 1989 he became Tonal Director of the venerable English firm of J. W. Walker and Sons. Subsequently, he was appointed Artistic Director.
Paul Fulcher, a native of England, studied piano from an early age. His training in organ building includes a formal English apprenticeship program with J. W. Walker specializing in the voicing of pipes. He worked at Walker and Sons for twenty years, eventually becoming Head Voicer and Joint Tonal Director with Mark Lively. During this period, Lively and Fulcher were responsible for building and voicing scores of organs all over the world.
Now having joined forces as partners in the US, the Lively-Fulcher organ in the Meeting House (Opus 4) has mechanical key action with a detached console and electric stop action. The mahogany case features polished tin façade (front) pipes with carved pipe shades. The organ has 31 stops, 35 ranks, and 2026 pipes.
|16′||Bourdon||(49 pipes/12 from PD 16 Subbass)|
|8′||Open Diapason||(61 pipes)|
|8′||Stopt Diapason||(61 pipes)|
|8′||Harmonic Flute||(49 pipes/ 12 from GT Stopt flute)|
|4′||Open Flute||(61 pipes)|
|22⁄3‘||Cornet III||(183 pipes)|
|11⁄3‘||Furniture IV||(244 pipes)|
Swell to Great
|8′||Chimney Flute||(61 pipes)|
|8′||Voix Celeste||(49 pipes)|
|4′||Tapered Flute||(61 pipes)|
|22⁄3‘||Sesquialtera II||(122 pipes)|
|1′||Mixture III||(183 pipes)|
|16′||Open Diapason||(32 pipes)|
|8′||Bass Flute||(12 pipes)|
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Henry Erben, 1849 (Apse)
Henry Erben, born in 1800, was son of Peter Erben, a distinguished New York City organist of Trinity Church. At the age of seventeen, he was apprenticed to organ builder Thomas Hall, and by 1821 was a partner in the company. Upon his death, Hall’s name was dropped from the company and business for Erben was most promising. By 1845, 153 instruments had been built including six located outside the United States. From 1847 to 1863, a branch facility was maintained in Baltimore MD for the distribution of organs to the South. When Erben died in May 1884, his obituary in the New York Tribune stated that he had built 1734 organs in his career.
The Erben organ at OMPH is a reflection of English organs of the period. Eight-foot stops are divided on a single manual. A pedal stop was added a few years after its 1849 installation; in 1997 the pedal board and pedal bourdon were removed into storage.*
8′ Open Diapason
8′ Stopt Diapason