Music – Ensembles

The Bryn Athyn Church supports several regular ensembles, alongside seasonal and ad hoc groups.

Cathedral Choir
The Bryn Athyn Cathedral Choir is the weekly adult choir for the community.  They primarily sing at the Cathedral Adult Service (11 am) approximately every alternate Sunday during the academic year, and serves as the core of the Festival Chorus at major church holidays.  The choir is made up of adults from all walks of life from current students to retirees, and numbers about 40 singers. Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings, and anyone interested in singing with the choir is welcome to contact the Director of Music.

Cathedral Choristers
Photo by Stephen Conroy

Cathedral Choristers
The Choristers are an auditioned choir of trebles that rehearse weekly under the direction of Dr. Robin Bier, with the assistance of Nathan Odhner.  Each semester they sing at the four different Bryn Athyn Church Sunday services, and are featured at Thanksgiving and often at the Choral Vespers services before Christmas and on Good Friday.  Auditions are held in September, and sometimes in January if there are any spaces available mid-year.  Girls and boys with un-changed voices in grades 3-8 are welcome to audition.  To express interest, contact the Director of Music.

Informal Service Band
A rotating group of musicians that lead the congregation in song at the Informal Family Service in Heilman Hall each Sunday (9:20 am).  The music (typically around seven songs) is selected by a designated Songleader who puts together the team and announces the songs during the service.  All instruments (within reason) are welcome, and all singers who are comfortable leading from a microphone in front of the congregation.  To express interest, contact the Director of Music.

Festival Chorus
Photo by Stephen Conroy

Festival Chorus
This larger choir prepares for evening services to mark major holidays.  The main two events are Christmas Choral Vespers the weekend before Christmas, and a Choral Vespers on the evening of Good Friday.  They are frequently accompanied by orchestra, and have recently undertaken Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, and a version of the famous Nine Lessons and Carols.  In recent years, they have also been gathering on June 19th to sing the final movements of Messiah.  Rehearsals are typically for 4-6 weeks prior to the performance and fall on Thursday evenings.  To be put on a mailing list announcing Festival Chorus projects, please contact the Director of Music.

Shepherd and Angel Choir

Shepherds Choir

The popular Tableaux services at the Cathedral involve a large cast of volunteers, including a choir costumed as angels and shepherds who sing while the congregation visits the nativity scene.  Members of this choir take part in an intense rehearsal schedule the two weeks following Thanksgiving and perform in all four Tableaux services.  Participating children must be accompanied by an adult family member, making it a popular activity for families to sing in together.  Please contact the Director of Music prior to Thanksgiving to reserve a place in this popular ensemble.

Handbell Choir

Christmas Eve Handbell Choir

Taking part in three rehearsals the week prior, the Handbell Choir prepares eight pieces each year to play at all three of the Christmas Eve services at the Cathedral.  The only requirement beyond committing to the rehearsals and services is a steady sense of rhythm and the ability to count.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Brass

Ranging from a quartet to a septet, the Bryn Athyn Cathedral Brass is a professional ensemble led by euphonium player Keith Genzlinger that traditionally plays for Palm Sunday and Christmas Tableaux services.

Festival Orchestra

During vespers services involving orchestral pieces, an ad hoc orchestra is drawn together of instrumentalists from our community and the greater Philadelphia area to accompany the choir.  Recent projects have included Fauré’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, and orchestrated versions of selected Psalms by C.J. Whittington.

Visiting Ensembles

The Cathedral is not available as a performance venue for concerts, but we do welcome interest from musicians and ensembles who are genuinely interested in volunteering their music to beautify our church services.  Our congregation has a deep appreciation of sacred music.

Select high school ensembles in our area have attended our 11am Adult Service at the Cathedral to offer their music to our congregation.  In recent years, choirs have visited from the Academy of the New Church, Central Bucks East High School, Central Bucks West High School, Hatboro-Horsham High School, and the advanced string ensemble from Harriton High School.

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