Music at Saint Ignatius
St Cecilia window in the former choir loft.
Click here for a high resolution image of the window.
Music and worship have been inextricably bound together for millennia. From the earliest days of the Church, prayers, psalms, and hymns have been offered to the glory of God as a regular part of corporarte worship. Music is yet another way in which we experience God’s presence in our world and in our lives, as well as the beauty of the divine.
At Saint Ignatius music is a very important part of our corporate life. Traditional choral music is an integral part of all our Sunday and feast-day liturgies. Our professional Choir offers music at all our principal liturgies.
The Choir, an all-professional ensemble, led by Dr Gwendolyn Toth, sings at the 10:30 A.M. Solemn Mass from September to June and at special services throughout the year, such as the great liturgies of Christmas, Holy Week and Easter, All Souls Day, and the festivals of Corpus Christi and the Assumption of the Virgin. Some of our ensembles-in-residence and the Evensong Choir provide the music for other feast days.
At each Mass the Choir usually sings a polyphonic setting of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei), and a motet or anthem. They also sing the traditional Gregorian chant minor propers, brief passages from scripture that are appropriate to the particular day and season set to music.
The large repertoire of mass settings, motets, and anthems is mainly drawn from the glories of Medieval and Renaissance music and from the Anglican Choral tradition. The Choir has also premiered a number of liturgical works by prominent composers and produced several recordings.
You will find a list of our upcoming liturgical music here.
Our grand organ was built in 1966 by the Canadian firm Casavant Frères, and renovated in 1981 and 2009. It has electropneumatic action governing 44 ranks of pipes distributed over four divisions (three manuals plus pedal). Designed in the “American Classic” style with a strong French cast, it is suited particularly for repertoire from the Baroque, Romantic, and Modern periods, and for accompanying congregational singing.
Our single-manual chamber organ was built for us in 2015 by the Dutch firm Klop Early Keyboard Instruments. Its four ranks of pipes are governed by mechanical action, with wind supplied by an electric blower. A handsome oak casing contributes to the mellowness of its tone, which nevertheless resounds throughout the church. It is especially useful for accompanying soloists and small ensembles, and for early keyboard repertoires.
How you can help.
Tax-deductible contributions to the Saint Ignatius Music Fund, in any amount, are welcome and will be used for the music program if you make your check payable to “St. Ignatius’ Church” and indicate “Music Fund.” You may also underwrite the cost of the music on any Sunday or at a major festival by becoming a mass sponsor. At this time $600 will cover the full expenses, but donations from $150 up are welcome to support part of the cost of the music. Music sponsors may designate their gifts as memorials or in honor of some person or event. A notice of such designations will be printed in the service leaflet. To sponsor music, please email the Church office.