Music at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Music at Emmanuel Episcopal is a strong part of our parish identity. Through it, we connect with Christians throughout history and across cultures. We intentionally include a wide variety of musical styles appropriate to our liturgy and we strive to perform quality musical works applying our best possible musicianship.
Our goal is to enhance the collective worship experience through music. Our primary tools are choir and organ; a 4-part choir and a 3-manual, 29-rank Austin pipe organ (1971/2000). We encourage the whole congregation to participate in singing hymns, service music and psalms. We enhance the Sung Eucharist service with choral anthems, instrumental and vocal solos, preludes and postludes.
Our choir is a phenomenal blessing; a cadre of bright, energetic, talented and dedicated volunteer musicians. They are a caring ensemble who not only minister to the people who are able to attend worship services, but also share their musical talents with parish shut-ins and others in the Rockford community. The choir sings nearly every Sunday from September through May, and occasionally for other services. New singers are always welcome to join the choir. If you sing in the shower, why not expand your audience - share it with others! Simply talk to either Wayne Hatwich or Trish Rooney to let us know that you’re interested in giving choir a try. Reheasals are on Sunday morning from 9:00 to 10:20.
Our annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is modeled after the King’s College service and is much anticipated by both our congregation and the Rockford community. It features the Emmanuel Festival Choir, our own resident choir along with invited members of the Rockford choral community, and a boy soprano soloist from Kantorei who leads us in singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City.’
A couple of times a year, musical leadership of the service is provided by our own indigenous bluegrass fusion group “The Soggy Undercrust” for a fun-filled trip to remote reaches – far away from the fray of the mainstream!
For festival Sundays, we like to have extra special music, achieved sometimes by hiring excellent brass groups, sometimes by featuring other instrumentalists and vocal soloists.
Emmanuel Episcopal regularly opens its doors to the community so that all may have an opportunity to experience the particularly rich acoustics and beautiful visual experience of our nave. Partnering with the Rockford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, sponsoring concerts through the Aspire program, and inviting instrumentalists and vocal soloists to participate in worship services, all serve to strengthen Emmanuel Episcopal’s role in the community at large.
Music has profound advocates from diverse climbs: Plato – Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything; Longfellow – Music is the universal language of mankind; Copland – To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable; even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter – “Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
May each of us likewise be inspired!
Wayne Hatwich and Trish Rooney
Organists/Choirmasters at Emmanuel