Music in Worship
Where would worship be without music? St. Paul services feature performances by our adult and kids’ choirs, our bell choir, our music director/organist, and many guest musicians. We love celebrating holidays with bells and brass, but we also feature everything from the electric guitar to the mandolin to the harp. Many of our members are instrumentalists who play saxophone or oboe solos, or organ and piano duets. Our members also help lead worship through song and chant.
Our services are filled with both traditional and contemporary hymns from our main hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, plus the piles of other hymnals our Music Director has collected. During the course of the church year we use six different liturgies and music from a wide variety of countries and cultures.
For a taste of what we have been up to during the pandemic, and a small sample of the types of music we perform, check out our YouTube Channel.
St. Paul Chancel Choir
The St. Paul Chancel choir, directed by our Music Director, Derek Sup, sings for nearly every service (except for a break in the summer). They incorporate a wide array of sacred choral works from well-known classics, to pieces composed by Derek Sup. For high feast days, they often take on ambitious larger works and collaborate with other local musicians in the Bay Area, singing alongside string and brass quartets, guitarists, drummers, and various other musical guests. Some larger works that they have performed include Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle, Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, J.S. Bach’s Cantata 61 Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland, and requiems by Rutter and Duruflé.
When restrictions on in-person gathering hindered choral pursuits around the world, the Chancel Choir has carried on virtually, holding weekly rehearsals over Zoom and putting together pieces through home recording. These virtual choir videos can be viewed on the music program’s Youtube channel, performing favorites such as Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.
We welcome new members! Ability to read music is helpful but not required. To find out about joining our choir, email Derek Sup.
Joyful Noise! Children’s Choir
The presence of children at worship is, and always has been important to our congregation. Children are welcomed and cherished!
Our young children’s choir, Joyful Noise!, sings during worship services on selected Sundays. Since its beginnings in 1988, over 100 children have been choir members. In 2018, Joyful Noise celebrated its 30th Anniversary, with many former members in attendance. Fond memories were shared of how meaningful it was to be part of the congregation, and not merely “a kid in the pew”!
While we miss our long-time leader, Mary Gotelli who moved away in 2019, THE BEAT GOES ON! … with the choir now under the excellent leadership of Elenka and Christian Refsell.
St. Paul Bell Choir
Come one, come all! Following a Christmas Eve service in 2019, the children of one of our members expressed a fascination for the St. Paul Handbell Choir, which had played Carol of the Bells as part of the pre-service music. After the service, the children (aged 8 and 9) went over, picked up a couple of bells, and started experimentally ringing them. Many bell choirs treat their bells (quite literally) with kid gloves and reserve them for adult ringers, but St. Paul’s music director, Derek Sup, embraced the enthusiasm of these children and invited them to join the choir!
St. Paul uses a wide variety of instruments and styles as it presents sacred music, and the handbell choir is an important piece of that. But even more important is how St. Paul conveys its core message that “All are welcome” through its inclusion in the bell choir.
During the pandemic, the bell choir performed several times via video, including some lovely father-and-children performances featuring these same two children.
Whether you take your part with bells in hand, or simply let the sacred music speak to your soul, we pray that the handbell choir is as much of a blessing to you as it is to us! Ring on!