GPC’s Music Ministry

Teresa McCoy, Director of Music and Worship Arts
Paul Byssainthe, Jr., Assistant Director of Music and Worship Arts

Chancel Choir

Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church believes that the congregation is the foundational choir for glorifying God in worship, but the foundational group in our music program is the Chancel Choir. This SATB, multi-cultural, multi-generational group is open to anyone of any age who wishes to praise God through singing. We seek to sing the Lord’s song, to belong to a caring group of Christians with similar interests, to improve our skills, and to have fun doing it! The ability to read music is not a requirement. During the 11:00 worship service once or twice a month, members of the Chancel Choir lead the congregation in song to connect with one another and with God. Under the direction of Teresa McCoy, the Chancel Choir also presents seasonal works and musical productions throughout the year. Rehearsals are on Thursdays, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary.


Canterbury Ringers

GPC has a great tradition of excellence in handbell ringing. Our premier adult handbell ensemble, the Canterbury Ringers, is affiliated with the Handbell Musicians of America. Each spring, they participate in a large festival held in Ocean City, Maryland, with hundreds of other ringers from across five states. This choir’s primary mission is to provide musical leadership in Sunday worship approximately once per month. Those who have a desire to ring praise to God and who have music-reading ability are encouraged to speak to Teresa McCoy about the possibility of joining. Participation is limited. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary. A workshop for beginning adult ringers is offered each year before the beginning of the fall season.

Children’s Choirs

Cherub Choir —

Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade

The Cherub Choir is open to our youngest budding singers and musicians who want to sing praise to God in worship. The program includes singing, music theory, rhythm exercises, Melody bells, and other instruments. The Cherub Choir sings during Sunday worship services approximately five times per year, as announced. This group is currently conducted by Teresa McCoy. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., in the Choral Room, as part of GPC’s FourthNight activities.

Joy Choirs —

2nd through 5th Grades

The Joy Choirs are three groups that meet from September through May and present anthems during worship services six to seven times per year. Programming includes the Joy Chimes for 2nd and 3rd Graders, under the direction of Kris Maldarelli; the Joy Ringers for 4th and 5th Graders, under the direction of Carol Anderson; and the Joy Singers for all four grades, which is all about singing, dancing, and playing other instruments, under the leadership of Teresa McCoy. The children participate in special programming during the Advent/Christmas season, and present a concert in the spring. The program has a team of leaders dedicated to inspiring and educating our children while having fun! Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., in Fellowship Hall, Handbell Haven, and the Choral Room, as part of GPC’s FourthNight activities.

Intergenerational Ringers 

The Intergenerational Ringers are a less advanced, multi-generational group of ringers that includes adults, senior adults, and youth members. If someone has not been introduced to ringing techniques but is interested in learning more about handbells, this could be a great place for them to start. A workshop is offered before the beginning of each fall season to teach the basics of ringing. Speak with Teresa McCoy or Paul Byssainthe about your level of interest in ringing handbells with this laid-back yet hard-working group. Rehearsals are on Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., in Handbell Haven.

International Ensembles 

At GPC, we are proud of our eclectic, diverse, and thriving immigrant community, and that is reflected in our music groups now, as well. Two ensembles with roots in our African population are currently participating in worship on a rotating basis: Christian Women’s Fellowship Choir and the International Ensemble. Their rehearsal times and spaces vary, so speak to Teresa McCoy or one of our ministers for more information about how to get involved.

Special Music Events

Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church has one of the most vibrant church music programs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. We are pleased to present our own members and musical groups in special concerts and productions, but we also host numerous outside groups, concerts, and events throughout the year. GPC has hosted traveling college choirs, recitals, and other types of musical or theatrical events.


From 2003 to 2014, GPC hosted a Visiting Artist Series, which brought nationally recognized choral clinicians here to work with our Chancel Choir and handbell choirs. Click here for a list of clinicians and short history about the inspiration for the program.
Our 2016 Visiting Artist event, entitled “HeartSongs: A Praise & Worship Workshop” and held the weekend of September 16–18, featured Zamar Music Group, led by Paul Byssainthe, Jr., our Assistant Director of Music and Worship Arts. The Workshop was held Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and there was a Showcase on Saturday night. The worship services at both 9:30 and 11:00 on Sunday morning included Praise & Worship music, with Zamar and a small group of GPC praise band singers leading the congregation. It was a wonderful weekend!
From 2008 through 2017, usually in January, we hosted the National Capital Band of the Salvation Army for a Sunday evening concert and hymn sing.
Montgomery Philharmonic is a community-based orchestra that, through GPC’s generosity, rehearses weekly at the church and performs in the Sanctuary two to three times per year. Ensembles have also participated in Easter morning and Advent worship services (most recently in December 2017, accompanying selections from Handel’s Messiah). In 2014, they honored Ann Y. Schmidt, former Director of Music, with a postlude by Beethoven on her last Sunday at GPC. 
This year, the Montgomery Philharmonic marks its 13th anniversary with the theme “They Changed the World.” Concert dates for their 2018–2019 season at GPC are October 27 (Stravinsky, Milhaud, Amaya, and Vali), March 17 (Mozart, Beethoven, and Adams), and May 19 (A German Requiem – Brahms). The concerts are on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m.
In addition, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125 “Choral” with choir on December 1 and 2, 2018. As another outreach effort, on January 14 they will partner with Montgomery Village Middle School Band & Orchestra students in a concert that will feature the winners (violinists) of the 2019 Bernie Rappaport Young Musician Competition.


In the summer, the Montgomery Philharmonic hosts a free Youth Chamber Music Festival at GPC, with orchestra members serving as coaches for the ensembles. At the end of the festival there is a free concert by participants and an ice cream social. The orchestra also offers free Summer Reading Sessions for musicians of all ages who are accomplished enough to play in a symphony orchestra and who have reasonable sight-reading skills. Orchestra members come from various professions with one focus in mind—the enjoyment of learning and making music together. They consider themselves a teaching orchestra and rarely turn anyone away. For more information about the Montgomery Philharmonic, visit

**************************************************** Please consult this website periodically for information on these and other upcoming events. **************************************************** Also, from time to time, we take our music-making outside our church.
Click here
to read about a trip that Ann Y. Schmidt (former Director of Music) and several Chancel Choir members took in June 2009 to sing at Carnegie Hall! Click here to read about a patriotic concert at DAR Constitution Hall, in Washington, D.C., in October 2013 in which Ann Y. Schmidt (former Director of Music) and several Chancel Choir members participated.