PAST CONCERTS AND SPECIAL MUSIC SERVICES …in the historic 1894 Zabriskie Memorial Church of Saint John the Evangelist 
Download past quarterly music events flyers:

Music at St. John’s Spring 17   (April through June 2017 events)

Music at St. John’s Summer 17 (July through September 2017 events)


Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  Christmas on the Point at the Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Newport: A Christmas in Newport event. 

A festive concert with special lighting and decorations, sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School and the adults of St. John’s Choir, with harpist Susan Knapp Thomas, vintage 1894 Hook & Hastings organ, guest soloists and a traditional reading of the Christmas Story. Includes Benjamin Britten’s complete A Ceremony of Carols for treble voices and harp, congregational carols, and the premiere of a new organ work by Peter Stoltzfus Berton, Shepherds and Angels. $15 suggested donation. 


The Most Unique Christmas Carol Comes to Newport!

Lest there be any concern or confusion, nothing has changed for the Saturday SNOW show schedule…it takes a lot more than a wee bit of slush to get these thespians or choristers down!

What Cheer, Shakespeare? presents its own unique interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. This modern telling of the old story has us laughing along with Ebenezer and the Ghosts as he finds the true meaning of Christmas! This show is fun for the whole family! 100% of the proceeds will benefit The Choir School of Newport County’s upcoming trip to England.

A Christmas Carol will be performed on Friday and Saturday, December 8th & 9th at 7pm at the Guild Hall of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 61 Poplar Street, Newport, RI. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and are available online here up to three hours before each performance: and at the door. The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County will provide entertainment at intermission.

The What Cheer, Shakespeare? Theatre Company has been performing Summer Shakespeare throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts for the last 10 years and has been an active theatre company in the region for over 20 years. The founders of the company, Joseph Wallace and Karen Valcourt, have been involved in theater for most of their lives. Joseph is a published playwright whose shows can be found at Samuel


Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Advent Lessons and Carols

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School, the adults of St. John’s Choir, and the choir of Emmanuel Church, Newport, at St. John’s Church    


Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

A candlelight Concert of Remembrance, celebrating All Saints/All Souls, Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day, benefiting national and international disaster relief. The Professional Choristers of The Choir Schol of Newport County and St. John’s Adult Choir will  be joined for two pieces by special guests The Newport Navy Choristers.The performers and program also honor the historic connection between St. John’s Church and the Naval War College, commemorating Stephen Bleecker Luce and Alfred Thayer Mahan, the first two presidents of the Naval War College, who as vestrymen played key roles in the early history of St. John’s.

The program includes They that go down to the sea in ships by Herbert Sumsion, the Navy Hymn, How lovely is thy dwelling place from Brahms’s Requiem, Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem, Pie Jesu from Peter Stoltzfus Berton’s A Poet’s Requiem, Greater love hath no man by John Ireland, and the complete John Rutter Requiem with choir, organ and chamber orchestra of flute, oboe, cello, harp, glockenspiel and tympani. Thanks to generous underwriting of the concert costs, all ticket sales are a 100% benefit for natural disaster relief through Episcopal Relief and Development. $50 premium reserved seating, $25 adults, $20 seniors/students. Tickets available online here and at the door. Reception following.

Download the poster: Nov 5 concert poster art


Friday, October 20 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Pipescreams on the Point   VIDEO PREVIEW HERE

Opening with the comedy short “THE HAUNTED HOUSE” starring Buster Keaton, the concert moves on to the feature-length original 1923 silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with live organ accompaniment improvised by the spooktacular silent film artist Peter Krasinski of Boston. Krasinski, past Dean of the Boston chapter of The American Guild of Organists, is known internationally for his silent film accompaniments, and delighted Newport in 2015 with his playing of The Phantom of the Opera at St. John’s.  The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County will sing as part of the film “soundtrack” in pieces written by past musicians at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, inserted at appropriate times in the film. The church’s several tower bells will also be rung at appropriate times, given the plot centered around Quasimodo, the famous deformed bell ringer in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel.

$10 suggested adult donation/ children $5 (family maximum $20). Presented by Friends of Music at St. John’s.

Silent film organist Peter Krasinski inside the St. John’s pipe chamber

Download this publicity flyer to share here:  Pipescreams flyer 2017


Friday September 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Cabaret Concert in the Guild Hall: Dynasty Battles

The visionary concert pianist from Philadelphia, performing works of Beethoven, Chopin, and Prokofiev, with improvisation on audience-submitted themes. Tickets $20 ($15 seniors/students) include table refreshments during the performance on our Steinway M. Please share this Dynasty Battles poster if you are able.

Sponsored by Friends of Music at St. John’s. To order tickets and learn more about the new music being presented:  Tickets also available at the door.

Refreshments include cheese, fruit, desserts, wine, sparkling cider, and seltzers.


June 10 through September 3, 2017

Mini Recitals on the 1894 /1934 Hook and Hastings Organ with video projection during the music; pipe chamber tours following. Video projection made possible by a grant from the New York City Chapter, American Guild of Organists Centennial Millennium Fund.

Same program four times each weekend, at a quarter ’til (programs last 15-20 minutes):

SATURDAYS   11:45 am and 2:45 pm             SUNDAYS     5:45 pm and 8:45 pm

Admission still 25 cents! Put a Quarter (or more) in the “Quarter Till”to benefit ongoing restoration

“Bach and Widor at Quarter ’Til”

A variation on the programming of the past three summers, each 2017 recital includes a work by J. S. Bach, and a movement from one of C.-M. Widor’s ten organ symphonies, or an original transcription by Widor of a Bach work, showcasing the many beautiful colors of the historic organ at St. John’s.  Peter Stoltzfus Berton, organist of St. John’s, & guests


Music on the Lawn 2017

At 6:00 p.m., until sunset. Free. Food truck service, beer and wine available. Bring your appetite and leave the picnic to us! Some tables for early arrivals, otherwise bring your blankets or lawn chairs. Parking on Point ok during show. In case of rain, concerts will move indoors to the Guild Hall.

August 31: Doug Woolverton & Friends (Trio)

Doug has cultivated his smooth, soulful, yet energetic trumpet sound for audiences around the world. A regular headliner at the Newport Jazz Festival, his tribute to Miles Davis has been presented to rave reviews. A perfect end to summer!

Food truck service by Z Food Truck


August 24: Evening with David Amram (Trio)

The legendary Classical/Jazz/film score composer/conductor /jazz french hornist/world musician and Beat novelist Jack Kerouac’s musical collaborator, in a rare Newport appearance.

Food truck service by Fork in the Road


August 23 (Wednesday): Film Preview Event  Larry Kraman’s documentary film, David Amram: The First 80 years (film preview here) is being shown for $5  at 6:00 p.m. in the Guild Hall, with Dr. Amram and Mr. Kraman on hand for Q&A after. Come enjoy the fullest experience of this amazing artist before tomorrow’s concert.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm: The Matsiko World Orphan Choir

Using music and dance, every child in the choir changestheir lives, villages, nations, and the world through their songs and the hearts they touch.

Food truck service by Flat Waves



Wednesday, July 19, 2017 from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the Church

Newport Music Festival presents Midnight Confessions—Join harpist Coline-Marie Orliac and trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos as they perform music from the Baroque to Modern eras. A unique combination. $20. Newport Music Festival Box Office phone is 401-849-0700.


Sunday June 18, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. 

Evensong and Benediction for the Feast of Corpus Christi with outdoor procession (weather permitting). The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, the St. John’s Adult Choir and  trumpet. Free-will offering. Reception following. A unique liturgical and personal celebration not to be missed!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.   Mass for the Feast of the Visitation

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir

Voluntary   Prière à Notre Dame   Léon Boëllmann

Entrance Hymn         My soul with patience waits     Hymnal 1940 # 439

Psalm 113    Anglican Chant by Robert Prescott Stewart

Sequence Hymn      My God, accept my heart this day    Hymnal 1940 # 404

Offertory     Magnificat (short Service)  William Byrd

Communion Anthem     Ave Maria    Igor Stravinsky

Communion Hymn     Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Hymnal 1940 # 197

Closing Hymn     Sing of Mary, pure and lowly     Hymnal 1940 # 117

Voluntary      Lo, how a rose e’er blooming    Johannes Brahms


Saturday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. Ensemble Companio, the acclaimed New England Chamber Choir, performs a concert at St. John’s entitled “Hope is my Philosophy.” The program reflects on humanity’s enduring capacity for learning, overcoming challenges, and connecting with one another, and features works by Brahms, Victoria, Rachmaninov, Ysaye Barnwell, Bobby McFerrin, and others, spanning a variety of genres including classical, spiritual, popular, folk, and world music. $20 suggested admission ($15 seniors/students). Ensemble Companio derives its name from a late Latin form of “companion,” whose etymological meaning is “one with whom one shares bread.” The name reflects the musicians’ belief that sharing in choral music is an essential, nourishing, and healing endeavor akin to the sharing of food. A reception follows in the Guild Hall. Sponsored by Friends of Music at St. John’s. To order advance tickets and learn more about the ensemble:   Tickets also available at the door.


Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. The Choir School of Newport County Spring Concert at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street (at Spring Street), Newport. The three ensembles of The Choir School, separately and together, will perform a varied program, along with special guest violinist Ealain McMullin from The Newport String Project, electric bass, percussionists and the choristers of First Church of Christ, Newington, Connecticut. No admission charge; donations for the work of The Choir School gratefully accepted. Reception following.



Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. 

A Combined Choir Evensong for Eastertide, a joyous celebration of Spring. A Newport Daffodil Days Festival event. The service includes the investiture and promotion of choristers. Reception following.

With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir, The Choristers and Adults of Calvary Episcopal Church, Stonington, CT, joined by the Soulful Brass Quintet from Rhode Island College of Music


Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Cabaret Concert of Music for Cello and Flute in the Guild Hall

 Benjamin Larsen, cello and Martha Cargo, flute, perform four substantial and fascinating new works by Drake AndersenReena EsmailPaolo Marchettini and Robert Sirota, recently composed for this delightful combination of instruments (including a world premiere), along with favorites Jet Whistle by Villa-Lobos and a baroque duo by Dôthel. $20 suggested admission ($15 seniors/students) includes table refreshments during the performance. Sponsored by Friends of Music at St. John’s. A Newport Daffodil Days Festival event. $5 off to wearers of a Daffy Deals pin! To order tickets and learn more about the new music being presented:  Tickets also available at the door.

Refreshments include cheese, fruit, desserts, wine, sparkling cider, and seltzers.





Friday 6 January 2017 at 6:30 p.m.   +   The Feast of The Epiphany

sung by The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County with the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is by Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     Prelude on the Introit for Epiphany         Maurice Duruflé 

Processional Hymns     Songs of thankfulness and praise    Hymnal 1940 # 53

We three kings of Orient are     Hymnal 1940 # 51

Psalm 72:1-7,10-14                Anglican Chant by Sydney Bevan

Gospel Hymn  What star is this, with beams so bright   Hymnal 1982 # 124

Offertory Anthem   Quem pastores laudavere    arr. Susan LaBarr 

Communion Anthem   The Three Kings   Peter Cornelius, arr. Ivor Atkins

Communion Hymn     Father, we thank thee who hast planted     Hymnal 1982 # 302

Final Hymn     As with gladness men of old   Hymnal 1982 #119

Voluntary     In thee is gladness, BWV 615      Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Today’s service begins with an ancient plainchant melody for Epiphany heard in the trumpet voice of the prelude. The sparkling accompaniment to the trumpet suggests the bright light symbolic of the season. The French composer Maurice Duruflé was highly self-critical and published very little music, of very high quality; this gem is typical of his refined service improvisations. On February 26, the last Sunday after Epiphany, we will again sing today’s opening hymn, Songs of thankfulness and praise, which summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events. Another Epiphany hymn, How bright appears the morning star (No. 329), is sung as an accompaniment to the soloist in the communion anthem.

Missouri composer Susan LaBarr, the arranger of the ancient offertory carol, writes: “The melody is introduced by a tenor soloist, followed by a traditional harmonization of the first verse in all voices—representing the shepherds coming to visit the Christ child. The harmonization of verse two finds the melody in the tenor voice, and the use of three voices reflects the three kings and the gifts that they bring to the manger. I found myself thinking of verse three as a reflection of a modern-day visitor to the manger. (Perhaps this is appropriate, as the text of verse three was added later in the carol’s history.) The harmonization of this verse is more contemporary…and becomes even more contemporary in sound in verse four, as the whole world joins in the song of praise.”


Sunday 24 December 2016 at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.   +   Christmas Eve

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir (joined by The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County at 5:00 p.m.)

Voluntaries    Lo, how a rose e’er blooming               Johannes Brahms

                          Infant holy, infant lowly              Keith Chapman

                          O holy night! (at 5:00)              Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming (at 10:00)   arr. Dale Adelmann

Processional Hymns     O come, all ye faithful   Hymnal 1982 # 83

Angels we have heard on high    Hymnal 1982 # 96

Psalm 96          Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball

Gospel Hymn   O little town of Bethlehem   Hymnal 1982 # 79  (St. Louis)

Offertory Anthems   Quelle est cette odeur agréable    arr. David Willcocks

Sussex Carol  arr. David Willcocks

Communion Anthem  Here is the little door    Joseph Burdick

Communion Carols     What Child is this?     Hymnal 1982 # 115

It came upon a midnight clear    Hymnal 1982 # 89  (Carol)

Silent night, holy night   Hymnal 1982 # 111

Post-communion anthem      Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light     Johann Sebastian Bach

Final Hymn    Hark! the herald angels sing    Hymnal 1982 #87

Voluntary     Final on ‘Puer natus est’ from Symphonie Gothique, Op. 70 (1895)     Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: Dale Adelmann is Music Director of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. His powerful setting of the sixteenth-century “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming” was composed for the choir of men and boys of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo. The music takes full advantage of the “new” third stanza of this hymn, added in the 19th century in Germany and added to Episcopal hymnals in 1940.

The communion carol was written by a young man in the choir. The text is sometimes ascribed to G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) although it is thought to have been written by Chesterton’s wife Frances. It was not until English composer Herbert Howells set the text to music in 1920 that the poem received recognition. As told by the composer: “The words tell the story of Jesus’s Nativity scene, and the music is used to illustrate the scene, and perhaps enhance one’s desires of faith.”

The concluding voluntary is from Widor’s “Gothic” Organ Symphony No. 9, based on a Christmas plainsong hymn, Puer natus est (A boy is born). The final movement (Toccata) was played annually on Christmas Eve by the composer at the church of St. Sulpice in Paris where he was organist for a remarkable 64-year tenure (1870-1934). Unlike the famous toccata from Widor’s OrganSymphony No. 5, which is loud at beginning and end, this one gradually builds in excitement, and concludes softly, in a peaceful, almost plaintive mood which can be interpreted as a meditation on the full meaning of Christmas and the life of Christ.


Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.  Christmas on the Point

A festive concert with special lighting and decorations, sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School and the adults of St. John’s Choir, with instrumentalists. $15 suggested donation

Click to download the concert program: Christmas on the Point Program 2016


Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Advent Lessons and Carols

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School, the adults of St. John’s Choir, and the choir of Emmanuel Church, Newport

Voluntaries:     Fantasy on Veni EmmanuelKenneth Leighton

Nun komm, der heiden Heiland    Johann Sebastian Bach

Lo how a rose e’er blooming     Johannes Brahms

Matin Responsory   Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina   

Hymn: Creator of the stars of night                CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM  H82 # 60

First Lesson   Isaiah 7:10-14   Isaiah prophesies that a Virgin shall conceive and his name shall mean “God with us.”

Carol: The truth sent from above    Ralph Vaughan Williams   

Hymn: O come, O come Emmanuel                         VENI EMMANUEL   H82 # 56

Second Lesson   Isaiah 11:1-10   The prophet foretells justice and peace from the descendents of Jesse.

Carol: A Spotless Rose    Herbert Howells    

Third Lesson   Isaiah 40:1-11    The Prophet proclaims good news to the people in exile.

Hymn: Comfort, comfort ye, my people                   PSALM 42   H82 # 67

Fourth Lesson   1 Thessalonians 5:1-11   The people are exhorted to be watchful and alert for the coming of Christ’s kingdom.

Carol: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree    Elizabeth  Poston  

Hymn: Hark a thrilling voice is sounding                 MERTON   H82 # 59

Fifth Lesson   Luke 1:26-38    The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary

Carol: Angelus ad virginem     arr. Jefferson McConnaughey

Hymn: Of the Father’s love begotten                    DIVINUM MYSTERIUM   H82 # 82

Sixth Lesson   Luke 1:39-46     The Blessed Virgin Mary visits the mother of John the Baptist, and the Forerunner of the Lord leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.   

Carol: Ave Maria   Camille Saint-Saëns

Hymn: A stable Lamp is lighted                               ANDÚJAR   H82 # 104

Seventh Lesson   Revelation 21:5-7; 22:12-13, 20   Saint John unfolds the fulfillment of all creation. 

Carol: Christ, whose glory fills the skies    T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Hymn       Lo, he comes with clouds descending           HELMSLEY   H82 # 59

Voluntary   The World Awaiting the Savior     Marcel Dupré



Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong and Benediction for Feast of Title

celebrating the 122nd anniversary of the founding of the Church of Saint John the Evangelist

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School and the adults of St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     An Evocation of Urbs Beata JerusalemGerre Hancock

Prayers of Preparation (Responsory)       Gerre Hancock

Introit    Locus iste    Anton Bruckner

Preces     Joseph Burdick in D-flat

Psalms 29 and 46      Anglican Chants by James Turle and after Martin Luther 

Office Hymn     Christ is made the sure foundation    Hymnal 1940 # 780    Westminster Abbey

Service     Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Collegium Regale)   Herbert Howells

The Suffrages     Plainsong, harmonized by Richard Webster 

Anthem     Blessed City, Heavenly Salem    Edward C. Bairstow 

Benediction Hymns: O saving Victim, opening wide    Wareham

Therefore we, before him bending     Grafton

Antiphon Adoremus in aeternum and Psalm 117     Jeffrey Smith

Recessional Psalm 150    Anglican Chant by The Rev. G. S. Talbot

Voluntary       Blessed City, Heavenly Salem    Healey Willan


Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Choral Requiem Mass for All Souls Day

sung by the adults of St. John’s Choir, with Fauré’s Requiem


Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Sung Mass for All Saints Day

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School and the adults of St. John’s Choir




Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Pipescreams on the Point

A family-friendly Halloween organ recital with wacky overtones, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. COSTUMES WELCOME!

Organists Peter Berton and Cody Mead with special musical guests from The Choir School of

Newport County singing “Double Trouble” from the third Harry Potter movie! Plenty of spooky

minor-key music, video mayhem, and a Lionel electric train that runs through the organ.

$5 suggested donation (family maximum $15) benefits Episcopal Charities, supporter of the Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and other Newport causes.

Includes a VIDEO MONITOR to see organist and mechanisms (and the train) during the music.



Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.     Organ Recital by Peter Stoltzfus Berton

The program lasts one hour and includes compositions from this past summer’s “Bach

and Variations” series, in theme and variations form by Bach, Langlais, Sowerby, Widor and

Willan. A special favorite of the past summer concludes the program: Leo Sowerby’s

Pageant, a virtuosic showpiece played mostly by the feet.


Includes a VIDEO MONITOR to see organist and organ mechanisms during the music; pipe

chamber tours available following the concert. Video technology made possible by a grant

received by the New York City American Guild of Organists Centennial Millennium Fund.

Admission by $10 suggested donation or any amount you wish, benefiting further renovation of

an American treasure, the 1894 Hook & Hastings pipe organ built in Boston and installed when

the church building was new 122 years ago.


Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.  Choral Evensong and Benediction for the feast of St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas)

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School and the adults of St. John’s Choir


Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  Sung Mass for Holy Cross Day

sung by the adults of St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Prelude on Pange lingua     Peter Stoltzfus Berton 

Processional Hymn       Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to men     Hymnal 1940# 522

Psalm 98      Anglican Chant by Josiah Booth 

Gospel Hymn     Ah, holy Jesus    Hymnal 1940 # 71

Offertory Anthem      Good Friday, 1613     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Anthem     Ave verum corpus     Lodovico da Viadana  

Communion Hymn     When I survey the wondrous cross      Hymnal 1940 # 337

Final Hymn     Lift high the cross       Hymnal 1982 #473

Voluntary       Toccata: The wondrous cross     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: The opening voluntary is based on the tune Pange Lingua, sung to the hymn Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle during the ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday. The offertory anthem sets lines excerpted from Donne’s poem Good Friday 1613. Riding Westward.  Viadana, an Italian composer, teacher, and Franciscan friar, was the first significant figure to make use of the newly developed technique of figured bass, one of the musical devices which was to define the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras in music. (Wikipedia) His Ave verum corpus, originally written for men’s voices, is simple and direct, and at the end has an unusual variant of the text: miserere nobis rather than miserere mei (have mercy upon us, rather than upon me). The closing voluntary combines the tunes Rockingham (sung at communion) with that of Hereford (No. 463).


The Summer Music Brochure listed special events May 20 through September 4, 2016, including organ recitals, liturgical music, and Music on the Lawn concerts.

Click to download the 2016 Summer Music Brochure: SJE Summer music brochure 2016


Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

Choral Evensong for Eastertide.

With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir, and special guests the Rhode Island College Brass Quintet.


Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. at GRACE CHURCH, Providence

Diocesan Youth Choir Festival Evensong

With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School as part of Festival Choir. Vince Edwards, director; Peter Stoltzfus Berton, assisting organist. The service includes ‘Bless the Lord’ by Andrew Carter, a sectional anthem of great exuberance and whimsy for the choristers. The text, drawn from Carter’s larger Benedicite, gives thanks for the praise of, among other creatures: badgers, hedgehogs, squirrels, ferrets, parakeets, pelicans, porcupines, guillemots, guinea pigs, gallinules, godwits, warthogs, wombats, wallabies, chipmunks, chuckawallas, kookaburras, caterpillars, butterflies, dragonflies, daddy longlegs, brothers, sisters, grannies, granddads, cousins, in-laws, and for good measure, all kith and kin, including Aunt Aggie’s twins! You have to hear it to believe it.


Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir


Good Friday, March 25, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir


Holy Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Church, Newport

Sung by combined choirs of the Aquidneck Deanery, including the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir


Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

Choral Evensong and Benediction for Lent. A Newport Winter Festival event.

With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir

Voluntary    Fantaisie in C minor, BWV 652   Johann Sebastian Bach

Introit    Call to remembrance     Richard Farrant

Preces and Responses     Herbert Sumsion

Psalm 51:1-7, 19    Miserere mei, Deus    Gregorio Allegri

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis    George Dyson in C minor

Anthem    The Pelican     Randall Thomson

Voluntary     So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor    Marcel Dupré

Notes on the music at this service:

Allegri’s Miserere, a famous setting of Psalm 51, was written in the 1630s for use in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. At some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services, adding to the mystery surrounding it. Writing it down or performing it elsewhere was punishable by excommunication. According to the popular story (backed up by family letters), the fourteen-year-old Mozart was visiting Rome when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Some time during his travels, he met a British historian who obtained the piece from him and took it to London, where it was published in 1771. Once the piece was published, the ban was lifted; Mozart was summoned to Rome by the Pope only instead of excommunicating the boy, the Pope showered praises on him for his feat of musical genius. (Wikipedia.) The setting is almost orchestral in conception, contrasting two choirs (one of five voices, another of four) interspersed with plainchant verses. The second choir is traditionally placed at some distance from the first for an ethereal echo effect, and sings a particularly poignant, ornamented passage with a high soprano C. For the final measures, the two choirs combine in a rich nine-part texture.

Randall Thompson, well-known composer of choral and orchestral music, was born in New York City and educated at Harvard. He subsequently continued his musical studies in Europe and then held a series of academic appointments in music in the United States. The offertory anthem is from a four-movement cantata, The Place of the Blest, commissioned by Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York in 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Choir School. The text of its second movement is quite remarkable. Its author, Phillipe de Thaun, was an Anglo-Norman poet, possibly from Caen in Normandy, who wrote a Bestiary around 1120 which he says he translated into French; evidence shows that he probably used a Latin bestiary possibly at least a hundred years old. In his volume he describes some 41 animals through the lens of Christian attributes. For example: The antelope’s two horns represent the biblical Old and New Testaments, with which people can cut themselves free of vice. People are also warned not to play in the “thickets of worldliness” where pleasure kills body and soul. Online, one can read English translations from various primary sources of the medieval descriptions of all these animals, as well as details about the rich tradition of illustrations of them. According to this site, Philippe’s Bestiaire has been sometimes criticized by scholars as being poor poetry, but as one translator says, “…it should be remembered … that no more than a translation was proposed, and that this is an early work in a language still groping to express itself. All of these scholars appear to miss the excitement inherent in the fact that a tradition already ancient and rich had now entered the vernacular to become widely read and known in the next century and a half.” Imagine the magnificent gift which a sumptuously illustrated vernacular translation of a Bestiary would have been to an adult or child some 900 years ago. Across the distance of an entire millennium, the original sources of a powerful devotional allegory continue to speak with relevance today, through modern translation and captivating music.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Ash Wednesday liturgy with Imposition of Ashes and Gregorio Allegri’s haunting Miserere (setting of Psalm 51). With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir


Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Our Christmas Celebration concluded with a Procession & Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Wise Men. With the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and the St. John’s Adult Choir. Celebrated in conjunction with the congregation of our sister parish, Saint Stephen’s Church, Providence


Thursday December 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm
Candlelit Christmas Eve services
Click to download the service program 12-24-2015-Christmas Eve


Thursday December 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm      CHRISTMAS ON THE POINT
A merry concert of organ music, choir and instrumental selections and congregational caroling along with a traditional reading of the Christmas story. With special lighting and decoration, this historic church on the Point comes alive with harpist Susan Knapp Thomas, flutist Whitney Perrine, vintage 1894 organ, the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, St. John’s Adult Choir and guest soloists. Directed by Peter Stoltzfus Berton; Christmas Story read by Fr. Nathan Humphrey. Suggested donation $15, seniors/students $10, children ages 5-12 free. Click to download the concert program: Christmas on the Point Program 2015.web
 Cermony harp  story time
congo singing  ending
Sunday December 6, 2015    5:00 pm    A  JOINT ADVENT SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS    An atmospheric sequence of traditional readings and Advent carols with congregational hymns, sung by the combined choirs of St. John’s Church and Emmanuel ChurchNewport, with the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County. Join in a centuries-old journey from twilight to light as the historic church on the Point begins in near-darkness and processes in stages to full light along with the music. Directed by Peter Stoltzfus Berton and Waylon Whitley; officiating clergy: The Rev. Dr. Anita Louise Schell and Fr. Nathan J. A. Humphrey, with other area clergy and civic officials participating. Free-will offering. Child-friendly for ages 5 and up.

FALL 2015 SPECIAL MUSIC EVENTS …in the historic 1894 Church of St. John the Evangelist  unless otherwise noted

Saturday Sept 19      11:45 am and 1:45 pm Brief Organ Concerts (“Bach and Friends at Quarter ‘Til)…special editions for St. John’s Fall Fair! 25 cents suggested donation benefits St. John’s Organ Fund

Sunday Sept 27         4 pm     An hour-long Organ Recital of works of JS Bach. $10 suggested donation benefits St. John’s Organ Fund

Sunday Oct 11          4 pm   Hereford Variations, a 40-minute organ meditation composed by Peter Berton based on stained glass windows and poetry, along with a brief prelude of works by Edward Elgar. $5 suggested donation benefits St. John’s Organ Fund.

Sunday Oct 18          4 pm     Choral Evensong for Treble Voices, sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County joined by choristers from the Calvary Music School, Calvary Episcopal Church, Stonington, CT

Evensong exterior 9.20.15   Evensong interior 9.20.15

(Stonington and Newport choristers at a combined Evensong in Stonington in September)

Saturday Oct 24       6:30 to 8:30 pm   PipeScreams on the Point! More wacky pre-Halloween fun for all ages, costumes welcome! This year’s highlight is a screening of the original 1925 silent horror film The Phantom of the Opera with live organ accompaniment improvised by the spooktacular silent film specialist Peter Krasinski. $5 suggested donation benefits Episcopal Charities, supporter of Newport’s MLK Jr. Community Center.

Sunday Nov 1            4 pm   Choral Evensong for All Saints Day, at Trinity Church, Newport, combining the Trinity and St. John’s choirs and the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County

Monday Nov 2          6:30 pm   Solemn Requiem for All Souls Day with the St. John’s Adult Choir, special guests and instrumentalists, in a candlelit service of remembrance with Fauré’s Requiem

Sunday Nov 15         4 pm   Choral Evensong for the Feast of Dedication of the Church of St. John the Evangelist (our 121st birthday). Sung by the St. John’s adult choir and the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County

Wednesday, Nov 18    4 pm    Peter Stoltzfus Berton will present a special organ recital of music by J. S. Bach and French Romantic composers.  This ‘private recital’ event was an auction item in the St. John’s Fall Fair this past September, which the purchaser wished to make into a recital for the general public. All are welcome. Freewill donations to the organ restoration fund in any amount gladly accepted.

Saturday Nov 21      7 pm in the Guild Hall of St. John the Evangelist (61 Poplar Street), a special acoustic guitar and vocal concert by the phenomenal band Aztec Two-Step. $28 admission benefits ministries of St. John the Evangelist. This performance sold out with 150 attendees!