Surprising visiting clergy and bishops as well as lay folk we sing a large repertoire of hymns and service music for a small parish. From plainsong to the most elaborate hymns and canticles the congregation revels is attempting new things.


Psalm 98:1

Music is an important opportunity for everyone at St. John’s Church. From the single hymn sung at the 8 am Sunday Eucharist to a rich musical experience at the 10:30 Sung Eucharist everyone participates in "singing a new song" as directed in Psalm 98 as well as some great old familiar songs. Most often our Parish Choir sings during the program year (September-mid June) supported by organist & music director, Mark Edward Nelson. 

During Advent (the time before Christmas) and Lent (the time before Easter) around a dozen of us sing "Evensong" on Thursdays at 6 pm. Evensong is the 500 year old service which combined the monastic evening prayer services: Vespers & Compline, We hear scripture and sing Psalms and the Song of Mary (Magnificat) and Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis), all in Elizabethan English. 

The Parish Choir, often joined by the Choristers of the Cape Ann Choir School sing Choral Evensong, Lessons and Carols and other special services usually on Sunday afternoons.

We also host musical events by both our choirs as well as musicians from the US, Europe and Asia.




Parish Choir

Open to musicians who love to sing a wide range of music, from ancient chant to the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic period masterpieces to occasional forays into modern, even avant-garde music. It is not necessary to be a member of the church to participate. The choir sings most Sundays during the program year with a warm-up at 9:15 and the service from 10:30-11:40. The choir sings for the special services before and including both Christmas and Easter. The rehearsals are from 7:15-8:15 on Thursdays beginning after Labor Day and continuing through early June.

Cape Ann Arts Alive

A week long Summer Day Camp: Cape Ann Arts Alive is hosted during the last full week before Labor Day each year. Begun in 2016 a group of teachers have formulated a secular arts program exploring the history, legends, rocks, coastline, fish, and sculpture and art of this great place we live. In part, our work has been focused on the 400th anniversary of the first settlement on Cape Ann which is celebrated in 2023! We've partnered with many of the local arts and history institutions and appreciate outside support. This year we'll be holding our sessions August 24-28 for children 5-14. Tuition is $75 per child. Scholarships are available. Fill out the form below for more information.

Cape Ann Choir School

We host a program for children in the community who receive a superlative musical education based in singing, bell ringing, drumming, and learning the rudiments of reading and writing music. The Choristers turn all this into major programs partnering with other groups. The Choristers are featured at Advent Lessons and Carols, Middle Street Walk (2nd Saturday in December at 1 pm), Christmas Eve at 5 pm, and the Great Vigil of Easter (the day before Easter at 7:30 pm.) Fill out the form below for more information. 


Several times a year, St. John's welcomes Festina, a choral ensemble that includes regionally and internationally acclaimed artists drawn from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Henry Purcell Society, and Emmanuel Music, among others. Festina specializes in early sacred music, drawing from the rich catalogue of Renaissance polyphony through Baroque and Classical works. They strive to present masterworks of the Western canon while likewise dusting off the obscurity of lesser-known composers, all in the living context of public worship. Their repertoire spans the gamut of full-scale Masses by Palestrina, Victoria, and Hassler; motets by Antoine Brumel, Rafaella Aleotti, and William Byrd; and incidental works by Henry Purcell and Michael Haydn. They also incorporate more contemporary music from ecumenical sources that complement their core repertoire, such as compositions by Herbert Howells, Benjamin Britten, and Bob Chilcott. Check the church bulletin for date announcements.


Please provide your information and check off all programs you're interested in. Once you submit your request, Mark will reach out to you.


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Invest in our rich and vibrant practice of music

cb fisk opus 97

The St. John's Church, built in 1863 included a small pipe organ built in Boston. It was replaced by an Estey organ (Brattleboro VT) in 1909 and by the CB Fisk organ in 1989.

Concerts have featured organists from the US, Germany, England, and Japan.