Church of Saint John & Saint Mary
of Chappaqua, New York


Come be a part of the Music Ministries

At Saint John and Saint Mary’s in Chappaqua!

The Music Ministry of SJSM gives you the opportunity to let music become a part of your gift to God.  Indeed, there is a place for all ages to share in the joys of serving God through music. Through the music ministries, there are opportunities for spiritual, personal and musical growth.  Although musical excellence is strived for, the priority is for each individual to be nurtured in the love of God and lead the congregation to “Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord”.

Adult Choir is a group of volunteers and professionals who have a shared love of music and are dedicated to enriching the worship experience of all. Adults of all ages are welcome. In addition to preparing and presenting music at weekend liturgies, September through May, the choir presents an annual Advent-Christmas concert, and sings for all Solemnities and important Feasts Days of the Liturgical Year.  Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings, at 7:00 pm, and a calendar of rehearsals and events will be posted on the parish website and is available from the Music Office.  New members are always welcome!  

Cantor Ministry is for women and men who may enjoy this  role of liturgical leadership, as you lead the assembly of God’s people in sacred word and song, and proclaim the responsorial psalm.  Convenient rehearsals and appropriate background and training provided to those interested individuals.  Contact the music office for more info or to see if this ministry is of interest to you.

Children’s Festival Choir is for children in grades 1-5.  The program develops musical skills such as part-singing and vocal development.  Schedule of rehearsals and masses the choir will sing at are updated seasonally, and will be posted on our parish website, or from the music office.  New members are always welcome!  Interested children (and parents!) should contact the music office.

Contemporary Ensemble  is for anyone in middle school and older who enjoys contemporary and ‘praise’ music;  a little jazz, a little gospel,  light rock, and sacred hymns.  The program introduces music fundamentals and singing.  Singers are always welcome, as well as instrumentalists who play flute, violin, guitar, trumpet, percussion, etc. 

The Contemporary Ensemble sings for liturgies and masses as scheduled.  New members are always welcome!

For more information about any of our choirs or music ministries, contact Joe Nigro at 914-318-3268 or email him at

“Praise the Lord

Praise Him with trumpet sound

Praise Him with harp and lyre

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!"  -Psalm 150

Three good excuses for joining our Music Ministry:

1. You Love to sing and wish to make a joyful sound unto the Lord!

2. You want to contribute to the life of your parish.

3. You want to have a rewarding, social, musical and religious experience

Three bad excuses for not joining our Music Ministry:

1.  It takes too much time and I’m too busy! Most of our choirs rehearse for an hour and a half each
     week during the choir season, with summers off! Where else can you get such a return for
     so small an investment of time and effort?

2.   I can’t sing well enough and don’t read music! If you can carry a tune, you can greatly
       contribute.  Ability to read music is of secondary importance. 
They don’t need me!

3.  Young or old or in between, experienced or novice, high voice or low—the more, the merrier!

Music at Liturgy

One of the principal ways we pray together at Mass is in song.  Music is not an interruption in our prayer, it is an integral part of our liturgy, and the most important style of common prayer. We do not just have “music at liturgy,” but we have a “musical liturgy.” It is therefore important that all of us pray the song-prayers that are chosen. Even those who cannot sing or who don’t feel that they can sing well enough, should be encouraged to pick up the hymnal and pray the words with the rest of the assembly.

The whole point of our coming together is the common worship and praise of God. Whether or not we arrive at that goal is first judged by the participation of the assembly.  Only when each person joins his/her heart and voice to our common prayer can we truly say that our parish has arrived at that goal. And so it is not simply from a musician’s point of view that we all need to sing. It is from a liturgist’s point of view that we need to pray our songs.

The songs at Mass are chosen because of the liturgical season being celebrated or to enhance the message of the Scripture. Hymns and songs are repeated for a whole block of time so that they become easier for people to remember. It has been said that people don’t leave church humming the homily. What sticks with the worshiping members is the music.

The song leader, or cantor, in the liturgy is meant to be the assembly’s “security blanket.” He/she is the one that helps the congregation to pray the music. Through the spoken and non-verbal direction of the song leader, the assembly knows when to come in and what songs we will pray. When the assembly responds enthusiastically, there is nothing that can match a community united in song. When we are one in our praise of God, we almost become the song and then our worship is a “sacrifice of praise.” Church is people, and that is never more obvious than when a song unites our faith and gives expression to God’s presence among us. Song at liturgy is not there for individual devotion, or self-enjoyment, not even for individual inspiration—it is a common prayer that is worship. The role of the song leader is to help strengthen our praise of God in music. Our song is always meant to be prayer and our prayer should empower us to go forth to build God’s kingdom, not out of a sense of duty, but with a song in our hearts.

Sung Prayer

Song is not an interruption to prayer— song is the best kind of prayer.  St Augustine said: “The one who sings once, prays twice.” Worship has always included song from the earliest days of the church. The psalms are songs and most of what we sing now has the Book of Psalms as its source. Our external response in song is only one dimension of our participation. Perhaps even more important is uniting oneself to what is being sung, so we can together raise our thoughts to God and become one family in our praise of God.

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