Music & Choirs

Experiencing music in our parish church with its fine acoustics, distinctive architecture, and celebrated stained glass windows is a feast for the ears, eyes and soul.  It is the intent of our music program to support our congregation in ways that allow parishioners and visitors to grow musically, spiritually and in community.

The Choir of the Church of the Messiah
Our adult choir of volunteers and professional voices sings at the 10:00 service every Sunday from September through May. Special offerings dot our summer schedule. The choir welcomes all those with  musical experience, a love for singing, and the ability to commit to the choir’s schedule. Rehearsals are held each Sunday from 11:45am to 12:45pm.

The Saint Nicholas Choir
Children, ages 7 and up, are invited to sing with our St. Nicholas Choir.  The choir offers an anthem at special services throughout the year. Rehearsals are held as needed.  No audition is required; all young people are welcome to join.

To learn more about Messiah’s music programs or to participate, email the Parish Office.

The Organ

The organ at the Church of the Messiah was installed in 1923 by the celebrated E.M. Skinner Company of Boston. The company, which had a reputation for creating instruments of superb quality and great tonal beauty, built organs for prominent churches and universities including both the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and St. Thomas Church in New York.

The organ was a gift to the parish by Captain Vincent Astor in memory of his father, John Jacob Astor, who had died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. 

In 1915, Norman Coke-Jephcott, the Organist of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Coventry, England, was been brought to Rhinebeck by the Astor family to found one of the first residential choir schools in America. The installation of the Skinner organ was part of Coke-Jephcott’s overall plan for the school. During his eight years at Messiah, he became famous for his Sunday afternoon organ recitals and his skill as a choirmaster. One year after the organ at Messiah was installed, Coke-Jephcott traveled to France to win the Premiere Grand Prix d’Orgue at the prestigious Fontainebleau School. He would go on to become the organist at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York. 

The organ has just returned to The Church of the Messiah following a major restoration by Quimby Pipe Organs of Warrensburg, Missouri.

Director of Music

Timothy Lewis has served as Director of Music at The Church of the Messiah since 2015. He has been heard in concert at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the early music series at St. Peter’s Church, and at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church where he performed the New York premiere of Ruth Schonthal’s The Temptation of St. Anthony. Lewis, whose articles on church music have been published by Yale University, is a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  He holds a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where his teachers included Alec Wyton, Amy Kaiser and Dennis Keene.