Excellent music has long been a part of the culture of Holy Trinity. Indeed, this legacy is one of the things that attracted me to the position as Rector. I am a classically trained musician who greatly values our Anglican choral tradition. I grew up in a boychoir, I took piano through the 12th grade, I took voice lessons in high school, and I have a degree in music performance from UNC Chapel Hill. High quality music is in my bones as it is in yours. Building upon the legacy of Dr. Richard Cox, Dr. Ben Brafford has built a program that lifts our hearts in God’s praise as only music can.
On September 12, we return to our full worship schedule (8 a.m. in the chapel, 9 a.m. in the nave, 11:15 a.m. in the nave) and will continue that way throughout the school year, COVID allowing. However, due to budget constraints, you’ll notice some differences from the recent past. The Vestry and Rector are committed to living within our means. Over the last two years, we have cut nearly $500,000 from our annual budget due to giving shortfalls. These cuts touch every aspect of our parish life, including music.
Those differences are as follows:
- We cannot afford to have an organist at the 8 a.m. liturgy.
- We cannot afford all the paid singers (16 across the two liturgies), organist, assistant organist, accompanist, and string quartet at both the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. liturgy each Sunday.
- We cannot afford the full complement of all paid musicians who have customarily led Still Point on Wednesday evenings.
In an effort to continue to offer something as close as possible to the experience to which the parish is accustomed, we are focusing our resources on the Sunday, 11:15 a.m. liturgy. This is the liturgy that is live-streamed on our YouTube channel. That service will continue to have eight paid singers, the full force of our volunteer choir, Dr. Brafford, an assistant organist, and an accompanist. The string quartet will join in the music making once a month.
Wednesday evenings will continue to offer Taize, but we will be exploring other ways of making music together without all the paid musicians of the past – not because we don’t like them, but because we simply do not have the money to pay them.
I’m asking your help in deciding what the 9 a.m. Sunday service will look like. Rest assured, that whatever we offer, it is my intention to offer the very best we can, for God’s glory and the upbuilding of God’s people.
Please vote for Option 1 or Option 2 in the survey below by Wednesday, August 11.
Option One: We continue to explore other musical offerings as we have done this summer at the 9 a.m. service, but in the nave instead. We have received great positive feedback on the alternatives experienced in Haywood Duke. Traditional hymnody, Taize, and other sources have been offered in a variety of styles by volunteer musicians, Dr. Brafford, and one paid coordinator. Music in The Episcopal Church is significantly broader than what some folks think and this arrangement allows us to explore the full breadth of that tradition.
Option Two: We engage a quartet of paid singers who will sing from the balcony, offering a pared down, simplified version of the 11:15 a.m. liturgy. Dr. Brafford will lead our singing from the organ, though without the support of a full choir. Anthems and other offerings by the quartet would be scaled to fit their diminished size. For those who worshipped in the nave when we first returned to it during the pandemic, you will recognize this as similar to what was offered then when the number of singers was limited by COVID regulations.
Life has returned to Holy Trinity in powerful and tangible ways over the last few months. I look forward to us all experiencing it together. Don’t wait until September 12. Come back to church this week!
Peace and blessings,