Art and Music
This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of man and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration - Paul VI (1897-1978), Bishop of Rome
Art and music are very important at Christ Church and find a special place in the liturgy.
We prize very much the beauty of vestments, of sacred vessels, and of the liturgy in general.
The beauty of nature is also very important to us, and we are grateful to be able to worship in a space that is directly connected to our garden by means of the windows in the sanctuary.
Organ music, performed to the highest standard, accompanies all Sunday masses. The prelude, the communion voluntary, and the postlude are understood as an integral part of the praise of God and the experience of prayer - not background music!
Each High Mass includes the chanting of Gregorian antiphons, while the people are encouraged to join in the singing of a plain chant psalm and traditional Anglican hymns. Lauds and Vespers are also often chanted. We have a quite traditional conception of the use of music in church, exemplified by the following words:
Just as swine run to a place where there is mire and bees dwell where there are fragrances and incense, likewise demons gather where there are carnal songs and the grace of the Holy Spirit settles where there are spiritual melodies, sanctifying both mouth and soul - St. John Chrysostom
Likewise, at all the minor prayers during the week, we strive for balance and elegant sound:
When chanters chant with the tongue and also with the mind, they greatly benefit not only themselves but also those who want to hear them. To recite the psalms with melody is not done from a desire for pleasing sound, but it is a manifestation of harmony among the thoughts of the soul. And melodious reading is a sign of the well-ordered and tranquil condition of the mind - St. Athanasius
Our pipe organ is small, but befits the space very well. Built in Pekin, Illinois, at the beginning of the 20th century, it came to Christ Church in 1959. It was put together in its present location, with the integration of new pipes acquired from the organ builders L. Vershueren (Heijthuijaen, Netherlands) in 1962 by Harold Knight, who was the organist at that time, with the aid of Jack Coogan, David Thorpe and others. A complete renovation of the mechanical system was effectuated by Steuart Goodwin, who was then at the beginning of his esteemed career as organ builder.
Ranks: Manual I
Nazard 2 2/3'
Tierce 1 2/5'
John Gilmour joined Christ Church as organist in September 2018. He recently graduated from UC-Irvine with a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano, where he was a fellowship student of Nina Scolnik. As a church musician, he has worked as organist, pianist, and choirmaster in Lutheran and Episcopal churches. He currently serves as a Staff Accompanist for the Music Department at Scripps College, and maintains a private piano studio in Claremont.
Jan Aldrich has been cantrice of Christ Church Parish since 1984. She holds a BAE in Music from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She teaches Music and Drama at Colton High School.
Below you find examples of the music performed at Christ Church (organist Mr. David Christensen)