The music at St. John’s spans centuries of sacred music tradition, from Gregorian chant to Taize. We use any one of seven settings for the Eucharist, from traditional Merbecke to a setting specially written for St. John’s by our former Director of Music, Lawrence Ritchey.
Director of Music, Helen Suh plays the organ and leads the choir of female and male volunteers. The choir is intergenerational, with ages ranging from the teens to somewhere-in-the-seventies.
During Advent and Lent, the bidding and response for the Intercessions are sung by the Cantor and Congregation.
Ours is a singing congregation – we use “Common Praise” (published by the Anglican Church of Canada in 1998). The Psalm is sung in chant, with antiphon – newly composed each week. On the first Sunday of each month, we learn a new hymn from “Common Praise”, which is then sung on subsequent Sundays of that month. In this way we have built up a good repertoire of hymns.
While the accompaniment for singing at the Cathedral is usually provided by the Casavant pipe organ, or by the Baldwin grand piano, it is not unheard of for other instruments to be used: drums, flutes, trumpets, harps, and on at least one occasion every year, a full orchestra, have all been incorporated into the music of St. John’s.