Music at Northminster Church
"The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value.... The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.... He who sings prays twice." --Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1156
Northminster has a dynamic program of Music and Worship! We maintain a Baptist identity—drawing on the rich worship heritage of the free church, incorporating many traditions from our members in various religious backgrounds, and remaining open to creative modern approaches to the worship of God. Our worship has dignity, and, at the same time, a caring quality, with great respect for all people, their needs and concerns. Our attitude of worship is energetic and positive; the music is smoothly integrated into creative liturgy, a reverent but dynamic reading of the Word of God, as well as intellectually-challenging and spiritually-fulfilling preaching. The psalms are mostly sung, using various forms including contemporary settings, metered hymn-like settings, as well as Gregorian and Anglican Forms.
The Choir Program
The Northminster Choir typically leads the Sunday worship time. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. The repertoire is eclectic, making use of a wide range of compositional styles as appropriate in the worship setting. Selections range from early and baroque pieces, works of great classical and romantic era composers, and twentieth century compositions with innovative harmonies and rhythms, as in Benjamin Britten, to gospel and spiritual settings. Major works performed include Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise, Vaughn Williams' Hodie, and John Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem. (Membership in the choir is open to all who love to sing.) Perfected musical skills are not a prerequisite. We only ask that you have a commitment to good church music, have some facility with printed-notation, and appreciate the value of and the satisfaction one gains from leading a well-executed worship experience.
Worshiping Through Music
The Sanctuary with its simple beauty, excellent acoustical property for vocal and chamber music, and intimacy, is perfect for recital programs. Northminster makes this space available to performers in the community including great performances by faculty and students of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. We also sponsor recitals by our own music staff and other performers both local and international. Notable figures have included Frederic Swann, internationally renowned organist, formerly of Riverside Church in New York and the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles, as well as performances throughout the year through the Piatigorsky Foundation in New York.
Built in 1971 by the M.P. Moller Company in Hagerstown, MD, the organ in our sanctuary is a 15 ranks mechanical (tracker) instrument of two manuals and pedal. The organ was originally installed in the company’s factory as a tracker prototype. It was later in a private residence in Monroe until the new sanctuary was constructed in 1991 at which time it was relocated to Northminster. The dedicatory recital was played by Frederic Swann in October of that year. Although not grand in scale and without the “bells and whistles” of a large electropneumatic instrument, the 15 rank Moller tracker serves well in its main task of leading congregational singing, a top priority of worship at Northminster. It is used as well to accompany the choir in almost any style of music and to play most styles of organ literature. The design is totally mechanical—the way organs were designed in the 17th- and 18th- centuries. The only electrified elements are the blower, the lights and the zimbelstern.
The Organ Specifications
Rohrflute 8’, Principal 4’, Waldflute 2’, Mixture IV
Gedeckt 8’, Spillflute 4’, Principal 2’, Sesquialtera II
Subbass 16’, Octave 8’, Flachflute 4’
I-Ped, II-Ped, I-II
To read more about our musicians, click here.