GPC’s Music Ministry

 
 

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 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. Once or twice a month, the choir members lead the congregation in singing. They also present seasonal works during the year. Rehearsals are on Thursdays, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary. If you are interested in joining the Chancel Choir, please contact Paul Byssainthe, Jr., our Interim Organist/Choirmaster.

 

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. Participation is limited, but those who have a desire to ring praise to God and who have music-reading ability are encouraged to speak with a member of Canterbury Ringers. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary.
 

Children’s Choir

Joy Choirs — Kindergarten through 5th Grade

The Joy Choirs meet from September through May and present anthems during worship services six to seven times per year. Programming includes the Joy Chimes for Kindergarteners through 3rd Graders, under the direction of Kris Maldarelli and Sue Luce; the Joy Ringers for 4th and 5th Graders, under the direction of Carol Anderson; and the Joy Singers for all six grades, which is all about singing, dancing, and playing other instruments. The children participate in special programming during the Advent/Christmas season. The program’s team of leaders is 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.

 
 

International Ensembles 

 
At GPC, we are proud of our eclectic, diverse, and thriving immigrant community, and that is reflected in our music groups, as well. Two ensembles with roots in our African population are currently participating in worship on a rotating basis: Christian Women Fellowship Choir and the International Ensemble. Their rehearsal times and spaces vary, so speak to one of our pastors for more information about how to become 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). The Montgomery Philharmonic marks its 14th anniversary with the theme “Editions.” Concert dates for their 2019–2020 season are October 13 (The Dance Edition – Brahms, Still, and Copland), December 8 and January 19 (The Senior Edition – Mozart, featuring violin and viola solos, and Haydn), February 24 (The Youth Edition – Montgomery Philharmonic and MVMS bands and orchestras), March 29 (The Symphony Edition – Price and Tchaikovsky), and June 7 (The Local Edition – Walker and Rachmaninoff). The October, February, March, and June concerts will be on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The December and January concerts will be held at senior living facilities. The February concert will feature the trumpet player who won the 2020 Bernie Rappaport Young Musician Competition.
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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 montgomeryphilharmonic.org.
 
** 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.