The music at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Eucharist and other special events is led by the Chancel Choir directed by Stephanie Yoder, organist/choir director. The choirs learn a variety of repertoire with a focus on English Cathedral style. Emmanuel regularly invites instrumentalists and vocalists from the region to share their talents in our worship services.
The Chancel Choir leads the music in worship at the 10:30 a.m. service, at evensong services, and at other special events. All interested adults (including high schoolers) are invited to join. Rehearsals are held each Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the choir room.
Emmanuel's first organ was installed in 1921. According to Mary Landrum, former organist and choir director, the women of the church gave the organ in memory of Mrs. Fry Bunting and Mrs. Minnie Bunting Jones. The instrument cost $3,250.
The organ installed in 1954 at a cost of $13,862 replaced the original organ. The Moller Co. built both of these organs. Two ranks of pipes from the original eight-rank organ were used in the 1954 instrument of 13 ranks.
Ernest White, recognized recitalist and scholar, served as tonal designer of the later organ and personally oversaw its installation and voicing. White also decorated the organ's façade with Gothic gold-leaf lettering that remains today.
Though modest in scale, the 1954 Moller pipe organ was an instrument of very high quality that reliably and quite satisfactorily enhanced the worship of God in this parish for nearly a half-century. Over time, however, organs, like any mechanical device, are affected by age and the wear and tear of normal use, which gives rise to the need for significant maintenance and refurbishment beyond routine service and tuning.
The rector appointed a committee in 2001 to evaluate the condition of the organ and recommend how best to proceed. After consulting with numerous organ builders, the committee recommended the organ be disassembled and restored. Additionally, it was recommended as part of the process that the organ should be enhanced with the inclusion of added voices and state-of-the-art, solid-state electronic control mechanisms.
The parish endorsed the organ refurbishment project through generous pledges to a capital fund drive, and Xaver Wilhelmy, a Staunton, Va., organ builder, was contracted to complete the project.
Wilhelmy and his staff began the removal of the organ after Easter 2003. While retaining the original 13 ranks from the 1954 instrument, the organ has been enlarged to 23 ranks. The total number of pipes has increased from 800 to more than 1,200. Wind chests and mechanical parts have been replaced or restored, and all of the registration and control mechanisms have been replaced with computer-controlled, solid-state electronics, including full Musical Instrument Digital Interface capabilities.