We hold music, with its power to move and inspire human hearts, to be an integral and essential element of our liturgical worship. In the words of our former Interim Rector, Mother Teri, we try to make our music a “window through which we glimpse the Holy.”
Liturgical music at Saint Giles is congregation-oriented. Hymns and other music are carefully coordinated with the lectionary readings for each Sunday. The Ordinary of the Mass is usually sung by the entire congregatin, along with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The primary resources for our liturgical music are published by the Episcopal Church. These include The Hymnal 1982, Wonder, Love, and Praise, Lift Every Voice and Sing II, and Voices Found, along with other liturgical materials from Church Publishing and leading church music publishers.
The Saint Giles Singers minister as our volunteer parish choir. They are the backbone of the music program. The choir sings weekly from September through May and for the major feast days of the church year, and rehearses on Monday evenings. Cantors provide additional musical leadership. Our choral repertoire draws upon the rich and varied treasures of the Anglican tradition, ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st Century. While most anthems are sung in English, works are occasionally presented in Latin and other foreign languages (translations are always provided). Handbells are occasionally rung, adding a special aural dimension to our liturgical music.
Saint Giles Parish is fortunate to worship in the extraordinary setting of Saint Mary’s College Chapel, with its wonderful music-enhancing acoustics. The Chapel boasts a magnificent 65-rank pipe organ, created in 1998 by Austin Organs of Hartford, Connecticut. One of the largest instruments in the East Bay region, it incorporates historic mid-19th and early-20th century pipework by Henry Erben of New York City (1859) and Murray M. Harris of Los Angeles (1902). A fine grand piano is also located in the Chapel and is used when musically appropriate for hymns and anthems.
If you are interested in becoming part of the music ministry at Saint Giles Parish, please leave a message for our Organist/Choirmaster at the parish office (telephone (925) 376-5770, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or introduce yourself in person at the Sunday morning service.