Music at Saint James Church

pipesIf we consider and ask ourselves what sort of music we should wish to hear on entering a church, we should surely, in describing our ideal, say, first of all that it must be something different from what is heard elsewhere; that it should be a sacred music, devoted to its purpose; a music whose peace should still passion, whose dignity should strengthen our faith, whose beauty should find a home in our hearts to cheer us in life and death; a music worthy of the fair temples in which we meet, and of the holy words of our Liturgy; a music whose expression of the mystery of things unseen never allowed any trifling motive to ruffle the sanctity of its reserve.  
– Robert Bridges

The Music Program at Saint James is directed by Mark Douglas Frye, Director of Worship and Music/Organist. St. James maintains a choir program in the English tradition, affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music. "Singing is like praying twice."  So wrote St. Augustine about this powerful element of worship. From the earliest times, music has been a vital part of the life of the church, a means of praise and prayer like no other.

The purpose of music at Saint James Church is, quite simply, the musical rendering of the Liturgy, whether that be chanting of plainsong, singing of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/Benedictus, Agnus Dei) and motets by the choir, hymns sung by the congregation, or voluntaries played on the organ. The repertoire is extremely wide-ranging, from the earliest known medieval music, through the Baroque/Classical/Romantic eras, to the most compelling and beautiful classical music being written today.

Music permeates virtually every aspect of the life of Saint James Church, from the liturgy to special concerts throughout the year offered as part of the Dunford-Ridenhour Memorial Concert Series. As Lutherans, we have a musical heritage that is one of the world's richest and most deeply spiritual. Music at Saint James is inextricably woven into the liturgy. For the vocal choirs, learning and singing music automatically reinforces the words that are sung and ministers to the choir by teaching the scriptures and by giving each chorister a vehicle to praise God. For listeners, music gives beauty and definition to the Word, much like a marble sculpture or a stained glass window can portray a biblical lesson. The music ministry takes very seriously the music it uses to form God's people. The Saint James Music Program ministers to parishioners of all ages--from 1 to 100! There is a place for everyone in the music program.

The Choirs are a worshiping body and continue in this regard by offering musical leadership during the Eucharist. The Saint James Choir is heard at the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Eucharist. The Saint James Choir is comprised of the The Parish Choir (an adult, volunteer mixed choir), and the RSCM Choristers (boys and girls in the RSCM Chorister Training Program). In sung services, this parish church draws upon a vast repertoire embracing chant, the motets of the Renaissance, the Full and Verse anthems of the Restoration through the rich English Cathedral tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Saint James Choir performs choral music as it has always intended to be performed—as a part of the Liturgy itself. On major feast days and for special concerts or presentations, the Saint James Organ is augmented by players from the Charlotte Symphony, by timpani, or full orchestra. Whether you are directly involved in the music ministry or are a recipient, we hope that the music at Saint James will enhance and beautify your worship experience, uplifting you and bringing you closer to God. 



Parish Choir Sunday 9:00-10:00 a.m. Choral Rehearsal Room
  Wednesday 7:00-9:00 p.m. Choral Rehearsal Room
Bells of Saint James Wednesday 6:00-7:00 p.m. Balcony
Cherub Choir Sunday 9:00-9:30 a.m. Chapel
RSCM Choristers Wednesday 4:30-6:00 p.m. Choral Rehearsal Room
Singing Seniors Thursday 10:00-11:00 a.m. Choral Reheasral Room
Cabarrus Chamber Singers Monday 6:30-8:30 p.m. Choral Rehearsal Room



  • Sanctuary Organ: 1928/1986/2004 Hook and Hastings (Opus 2554), three-manual, 48 rank Chancel Organ, seven-rank Gallery Organ with Trumpet en-chamade
  • Chapel Organ: 1995 Allen Organ , two-manual
  • Tower Carillon: 1966 VanBergen Bellfoundries, Inc., completed to 28 cast bronze bells in 1992
  • Timpani: Five Adams Timpani; Thorn, Holland
  • Harpsichord: 1976 Willard Martin two-manual, three stop (with Lute stop) with custom cabinetry and pitch conversion mechanism
  • Handbells: Schulmerick Carillons, Inc., five octaves
  • Handchimes: Malmark, five octaves