Music at Northminster
The Northminster Choir
The Northminster Choir typically leads the Sunday worship time. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:00 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, Mozart's Requiem, 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.
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.
Northminster's Choral Scholars
The choral scholar program at Northminster provides opportunities for students (most are from our local university, The University of Louisiana at Monroe) to participate in a traditional music ministry. They provide a consistent base of singers, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, for our choir. There are opportunities for solo and ensemble work. They are exposed to a variety of good choral literature including major works such as Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem. The program is designed to enhance their musical experience and education and to provide our church members an opportunity to interact on a personal level with these bright and talented young people. The students receive a stipend to assist with expenses of their education. They greatly enhance the vitality of our church. We are committed to care for them and provide an enriching experience.
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.