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music at trinity

Trinity has known a long musical history and, for at least 150 years, has held a place of distinction throughout the community and beyond as a place where glorious music and the beauty of the Gospel are intimately connected.  The first mention of an organist appears in the vestry minutes of 1823.  Since 1843, the instruments housed here have been considered representative works by their respective builders, now revered in the histories of early-American organ building.  In the 1860s, the Rt. Rev. John Johns, Bishop of Virginia, called the Trinity Choir "the best in the diocese."

The music program aims to nurture Christian community and the musical skills necessary to reach the highest levels of excellence in sacred choral performance.  The repertoire includes a generous amount of English and American music, as well as music from all parts of the world. In any given week, the music in worship may include a Gregorian chant from the earliest centuries of the Church, a Renaissance motet, an anthem reflecting the best of the Anglican choral tradition, and modern anthems and hymns composed during recent years and up to the present day.  In addition, the masterworks of Bach, Mendelssohn, Vierne, Widor, and others showcase the magnificent organ.

The Trinity Music Series features both local musical ensembles and world-renowned artists.  Some events are presented in concert with the Virginia Arts Festival, and some are sponsored by corporate underwriters and generous patrons in an effort to provide quality music freely to the community at large.  All contributions are tax deductible, and donations are always graciously accepted.

For more information on how you can be a vital part of Music & Arts at Trinity, you are invited to contact the Director of Music.

Choir Easter 2012The choir is comprised of both professional and volunteer singers, and provides leadership for the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist on Sunday mornings and Holy Days as announced.  Those interested in participating in the choir should contact the Director of Music to schedule an appointment.

In addition to the sacred offerings presented during services of worship, the choir hosts an annual Cabaret event each year.

organ console

In 1990, the organ enhancement project was begun as part of the capital fund drive, Within the Wall.  New ranks of pipes were added to the swell, great, and pedal divisions.  A 10-rank positiv division was installed behind the console, as well as an antiphonal division located behind the tower grill.  In May of 1994, several digital ranks, designed by Walker Technical Products, were added to form the solo division and complete the antiphonal.  The pedal division was enhanced in November of 1999 with six new ranks, adding a depth heretofore unattainable.

In early 2003, Dr. Norman W. Ream, expressed a desire to acquire a four manual console with multi-memory.  A used console was purchased and transported from Denver, Colorado to Portsmouth.  Once here, it was gutted, sanded, refinished, and retro-fitted with the latest digital technology.  Only the shell, keys, and pedals remain from the console that arrived.  Finally, the choir organ was added in April of 2008, making the organ complete.  Now it is possible to program registrations for the many services, recitals, and concerts that take place at Trinity.

(from History of Organs at Trinity, by James E. Derr, Organist Emeritus)

Organists (as far back as we can go):
William Milsen (ca. 1823)
Miss Christian Davis
Eliza Swepson Wingfield
Louisiana Wilson (1839-1897)
Unknown (1898-1900)
A.G. Eldridge (1901)
Mrs. Charles T. Parrish
Miss Grace Williams
Unknown (1902-1907)
Mattie Hunter Foote (1908-1948)
Robert Evans (1949-1957)
Frank D. Lybolt (1957-1984)
James E. Derr (1985-2009)
Stephen F. Kolb (2009-2011)
Ryan Michael Blake (2011-present)
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