Music and Catholic Worship
St. Augustine said, “He who sings, prays twice.” The Bible refers to Jesus and the apostles singing a hymn while they were together. The Apostle Paul called the Church in the city of Ephesus to “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and make music to the Lord in your hearts.” This is why we say that music is an “exalted form of prayer.”
At the Church of the Epiphany, everyone in the congregation is a part of our ministry of music. As we lift our voices in song during the Mass, we call ourselves together as a community of faith, praising God, and participating fully in the mysteries of our religion.
Special Vocations in Music Ministry
The Apostle Paul once compared the Church to a body, with different parts having different roles, while remaining part of the One Body of Christ. So it is with our music ministries at Epiphany. We have various vocations that parishioners can share in. These are the vocations of cantor, of being a member of one of our choirs, of playing instruments, and also of composing and arranging music for Catholic worship.
The Contemporary Choir sings at the Saturday 5:30 Mass, and is accompanied with various instruments. Generally, each Saturday they have acoustic guitars, electric bass, piano, and some small percussion. Occasionally they add cello, string bass, trap set/drum kit, and congas. They offer a lively, contemporary interpretations of the hymns of Catholic worship. The Contemporary Choir practices before each Mass at 430 PM, and at other times (often Sunday evenings at 5 PM) when getting ready for Christmas and Easter.
Three Kings Choir
This choir sings at the 10 AM Mass, and generally also at Holy Days of Obligation and the Triduum of Holy Week. This is a group of about 35 choristers, and dates back to the founding of the parish, with some members having sung in the choir for our entire history as a parish. The choir sings a broad repertoire ranging from Gregorian and Anglican chant, to Southern Gospel, Renaissance polyphony, and modern choral music. The director, Bob Waldrop, and assistant director, Mary Freeh, do a considerable amount of arranging of music for the choir, and Bob occasionally offers the choir an anthem of his own composition. The choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings, from 7 to 830 PM. No audition is required. Just show up!
Handbell ChoirThe parish Handbell Choir has been in hiatus for the past year because of the retirement of several of its core members. If more volunteers can be found, we will reorganize the choir. In the past, they have generally rehearsed between the 10 AM and 1230 PM masses.
The Cantor Guild of St. Gabriel
The ministry of Cantor is to lead the assembly in worship, and particularly to proclaim the Psalm at each Mass. Cantors are needed for the 8 AM, 10 AM, and 1230 PM masses. An audition is required and cantors must be able to read music. All cantors of the parish are considered to be a member of “the Cantor Guild of St. Gabriel,” who proclaimed the good news to Mary and has traditionally been considered the Herald of the Gospel.
Carl Brandt Memorial Pipe Organ
The parish Organ is the oldest organ in the state of Oklahoma. It was originally built in 1865 in a church in Watertown, NY, and has outlasted two church buildings before being installed at Epiphany in 1984. It has 27 ranks of pipes and is all mechanical inside, except that in the 20th century, with the advent of electricity, the hand pump bellows were removed and an electric fan installed to pressurize the wind chest.
Yamaha Conservatory Grand Piano
The piano in the church is a Yamaha conservatory grand that was purchased in the 1990s. It is a fine instrument that proclaims the glories of God with every note.
Music at the Various Masses of the Church
At all the Masses, we sing the Glendalough Mass for the Holy, the Acclamation, Amen, and Lamb of God. The 530 Mass sings the Gloria from the St. Anne Mass. At 8 AM and 1230 PM, we sing the Gloria Simplex. The 10 AM Mass sings the St. Benedict Gloria. All of the Ordinary of the Mass music is found in a small white booklet located in the back of the blue hymnals in the pews. “Ordinary” refers to the music “ordinarily” sung at each Mass – the Gloria, the Creed, the Sanctus (Holy), the Acclamation following the Consecration (“the Mystery of Faith”), the Amen after the priest's Doxology (“through Him, with Him, in Him, etc.) and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). At Epiphany, we do not sing the Creed.
A Capella Music at Epiphany
During Lent, at the Sunday Masses, until Palm Sunday we fast from the use of musical instruments except to give pitches for the beginning of hymns and other service music. This connects us with the early history of the Church, and with the religious monastic experience through the ages. It prepares us for the glories of the music of Holy Week. The Contemporary Choir uses less instrumentation, and sings the Ordinary of the Mass without accompaniment.
Joining the Epiphany Music Ministry
Everyone joins the music ministry when you sing the music at the Mass. It doesn't matter if you think you can't sing, or someone once told you you can't sing. Everyone can sing at Mass, and all the diverse voices blend together in one tremendous song of praise to the Trinity.
If you would like to try serving in one of the special vocations within the pastoral music ministry of the parish, contact Bob Waldrop, director of Music, at 405-722-2110 ext 115, or through the Contact form at this website.
April 19, 2015 Commemorative Concert
Bob Waldrop, Epiphany music director, was on the planning committee for the Oklahoma Alliance for Liturgy and the Arts 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building Concert, held April 19, 2015. Several Epiphany musicians sang in the choir for that moving service. Program for We Rise to Bless You Still: Oklahoma City Remembers April 19, 1995.