Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Southern Pines NC
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Music at Emmanuel Episcopal Church


Music is a pathway for the expression of our faith.  Be it through membership in one of our choirs or simply through congregational participation, music is a valued way for us to express and experience the joy and love of the Gospel message. Exploring the richness of the musical corpus, the music ministry of the church promotes and offers music from the across the musical continuum in its mission to use music to enlighten the sacred texts of the church.  As a community of worshippers, music is integrated into many aspects of our liturgies.  It is not only a way to “pray twice” by singing, but it serves as a platform for prayer, meditation, and praise.


In addition to our musical offerings in worship, Emmanuel Episcopal Church is home to the monthly Bach’s Lunch Recital Series, offered one Friday afternoon each month from October to April.  Held at Noon in the church, these monthly concerts allow for a musical respite at the end of a week.  Whether gainfully employed, a retiree, or a student, all are welcome to these free recitals.  Attendees are invited to bring a brown bag lunch to enjoy during the music. 


Additionally, our parish is home to a Choral Evensong series, the most particularly Anglican service in all of Christian worship.  With offerings from September to May in approximately six-week intervals, the clergy and choirs of the church sing Choral Evensong on Sundays at 5:00 p.m., with a reception that follows in the Parish Hall foyer.  The setting we use is from the service of Evening Prayer II from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  Originating from the monastic hours, it consists of distinctive parts of the ancient offices of Vespers and Compline. Choral Evensong is a liturgy of rare and mystical beauty in which the Word is illuminated by music.  It is sung regularly in many cathedrals and parish churches throughout the United States and daily in many places in England. 



The Emmanuel Choir


The primary choir of our parish, The Emmanuel Choir has a long history as one of the leading choral ensembles of the Sandhills, singing some of the finest sacred music each week for our 11 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist, Rite II.  The choir consists of members of our parish who range from high-school aged youth of advanced musical talent to adult members of all ages.  The choir’s repertoire encompasses the full-spectrum of sacred choral literature, from Renaissance motets and lush English Cathedral anthems, to settings of American hymnody and contemporary choral works which incorporate mystical modern harmony.  The Emmanuel Choir is the musical body that leads our beautiful Evensong services.  Membership in the choir is open to any interested individual, although a brief audition for proper placement may be requested.  A weekly commitment is required from September to May.  Rehearsals are held each Wednesday evening during season from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Choir Room.  Please contact Dr. Homer Ashton Ferguson III, Choirmaster, for more information.


The Cherub Choir


At Emmanuel Episcopal Church, we believe that there is no better way for a child to learn about the faith, than to sing the faith. We have two choral ensembles for the youth of the parish.  The Cherub Choir  is a choral ensemble for children ages 4-grade 2. This choir follows the pedagogy of the Royal School of Church Music and provides a framework that instructs choristers in basic musical skills, proper choral production, and the dynamics of belonging to a group. A recent study by Chorus America found that singing in a school or church choir is strongly correlated with the qualities that are associated with success throughout life.  Greater civic involvement, discipline and teamwork are just a few of the attributes fostered by singing with a choral ensemble.  The Cherub Choir rehearses in the Choir Room every Wednesday, 3:15 p.m. to 3:35 p.m., during the academic year.  The choir sings monthly at the 9 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist, Rite II.  All are welcome, and choristers may join at any time of the year.  Contact Dr. Ferguson, Choirmaster, for more information.


The Chorister Choir


A place where lifelong friendships and fond memories are made, the Chorister Choir is for youth in grades 3-8.  The upper tier of our choral program for the youth of the church, this choir rehearses every Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.  It sings monthly at the 9 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This choir sings a variety of anthems, including compositions that explore the ancient hymn texts of the church to more contemporary idioms. This choir sings primarily two-part music.  Choristers are welcome to join any time during the year.  Singers learn more advanced musical skills and hone their craft during weekly rehearsals.


Though not required to be a member of the Chorister Choir, singers are prepared and encouraged to participate in one of the summer RSCM course offerings. Not only do these courses provide a major musical benefit to the overall education of our youth, they also serve as a spiritual retreat.  Choristers spend a week with their peers from throughout North Carolina and the Southeastern United States immersed in musical preparation for the leadership of Sunday worship and Choral Evensong, with music offered at the highest level of skill. It is truly a transformative experience.


The Red Door Ringers


Emmanuel Episcopal Church is home to the cross-generational handbell ensemble, The Red Door Ringers, who utilize a 4-octave set of Schulmerich handbells and a 4-octave set of Malmark Handchimes, in the presentation of musical offerings.  This group of 14 ringers rehearses every Thursday in the rear gallery of the church from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and rings monthly at the 9:00 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist.  This incredibly fun-loving group of musicians benefit not only from the outlet of artistic expression and social interaction this ensemble provides, but they also view ringing as a challenge, a workout, a team sport, and a respite from the daily grind.  For more information, please contact Dr. Homer Ferguson III, Bellmaster.


Steinway B Grand Piano


In December 2014, six parish families united to present our church with the gift of a new grand piano for our sanctuary, a long-held dream for the musicians of our parish.  Delivered in late February 2015, our Steinway grand fills our acoustically resonant space with deep, rich piano tone.  With this instrument, the entire repertoire for the piano is available for the enhancement and enrichment of our worship services. It can also lead a full congregation in song. Additionally, the piano is a gift for the wider community, serving as a tool for practice or recital, as one of the finest pianos in the area.


C.B. Fisk, Opus 145, Pipe Organ


In 2013, Emmanuel Episcopal Church commissioned the organ builders of C.B. Fisk, Inc. of Gloucester, MA to build a new pipe organ for our parish community.  Construction of the instrument began in the spring of 2014 and was completed in November of 2015.  This new instrument was delivered in December 2015. 


This new organ is the only mechanical-action pipe organ in Moore County, and has been built to the same standards employed in the building of the great organs of Europe, some more than 500 years old and still in regular use.  C.B. Fisk, Inc. was selected as the builder for our new organ, not only because of their world-class reputation as builders of fine pipe organs for some of the great American churches, concert halls and institutions of higher learning, but because of their sensitivity to the musical needs of an Episcopal congregation.  This organ is the thirteenth installation of a pipe organ in North Carolina by the craftsmen and women of C.B. Fisk.  The organ is a total of 35 stops with 2,115 pipes divided over two manuals and pedal. More information about the organ and a complete stoplist can be found here: http://www.cbfisk.com/instruments/opus_145


Dr. Homer Ashton Ferguson III, is the organist/choirmaster at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines, North Carolina, where he oversees an active music ministry, focused on the rich heritage of the Episcopal & Anglican traditions. 


Dr. Ferguson was raised in the St. Louis metropolitan area and spent his formative years studying piano and organ with Mrs. Peggy Shaw and Mr. Glenn Freiner. A graduate of Illinois College, Dr. Ferguson studied organ under the direction of Dr. Rudolf Zuiderveld and piano and conducting with Dr. Garrett Allman. In the summer of 2000, Homer moved to Arizona to pursue his Master of Music degree in Keyboard Performance (Organ) at Arizona State University under the tutelage of Dr. Kimberly Marshall. He received the Master of Music degree in May 2002 and continued his studies until being awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in May 2008. His dissertation, John Brombaugh: America’s Master Organ Builder has received wide critical acclaim by those in the field of organ scholarship.


Dr. Ferguson gave his first international performance on the 1734 Hinsz organ of the St. Petruskerk in Leens, The Netherlands.  Other European musical tours have included performances in Berlin, Meissen, Prague, Hradec Kravlove (Czech Republic), Santiago de Compostela, Sevilla, Santander, and Toledo.  Dr. Ferguson has played with the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, the Tempe Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra.  Dr. Ferguson has served on the faculties of Illinois College and Arizona State University.  Dr. Ferguson served as the Dean of the Central Arizona Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in 2007-2009 and was the Co-Coordinator for the Region IX 2009 Festival held in Phoenix in June 2009.  He is currently the Dean of the Fayetteville-Sandhills Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.


350 E. Massachusetts Ave, Southern Pines, NC     eec@emmanuel-parish.org      (910) 692-3171            

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