The Choral Scholars of St. John’s in Gig Harbor will present an Ascension Day Evensong service at 7 p.m. Thursday (May 5) at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 7701 Skansie Avenue, Gig Harbor.
All area residents are invited to this free performance.
Under the leadership of Organist-Choirmaster Joseph Z. Pettit, Pacific Lutheran University music majors Marissa Moultrie, Jordan Bowles and Nick Stevens, and graduate Emily Stenson, will sing choral Evensong, a quintessentially Anglican service led almost entirely by music. This particular liturgy for the Feast of the Ascension includes preces and responses by Martin Neary, canticles by John Ireland, and the anthems “God Is Gone Up” by Gerald Finzi and “All People, Clap Your Hands” by Thomas Weelkes, all British composers.
Pettit began the educational, English-style Choral Scholar program two years ago to provide an apprenticeship in traditional, classical church music for university students preparing for a career in music.
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The Choral Scholars, who are currently PLU students, include Gig Harbor resident Jordan Bowles, baritone. Bowles is a sophomore and sings with the University Chorale. Soprano Marissa Moultrie of Tacoma is a freshman and a rare first-year student to win a place in PLU’s famed Choir of the West. Tenor Nick Stevens is a sophomore from Washougal and also sings with PLU’s Choir of the West. All three are active in the university’s opera studio. Mezzosoprano Emily Stenson graduated from PLU’s music and theater programs last year, and continues this year as transitional senior scholar.
Throughout the season, St. John’s Choral Scholars build repertoire for the Episcopal liturgical year, learn the essentials of Anglican and Gregorian chant, assist the organist-choirmaster, and develop musical collaboration and leadership skills in a parish choir context. They gain valuable job experience for their resumes, as well professional and academic references from supervising church musician and clergy.
In return for offering a choral scholars program, St. John’s and its community have the opportunity to experience a wide range of traditional church music at a professional level. In addition, these young music students have become a part of the parish’s greater outreach, preparing a continuous stream of well-trained choral musicians for future ministry in the church at large.