St. Paul’s Church to host ‘Music and the Liturgy’ forum

by Michael Caruso
Posted 10/12/23

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill will host a forum on “Music and the Liturgy” on Saturday, Oct. 14.

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St. Paul’s Church to host ‘Music and the Liturgy’ forum


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill will host a forum on “Music and the Liturgy” on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The forum is presented by the history committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania’s Seventh Annual Fall Forum.

 The forum will explore, through the lens of history, the broad topics of how music and liturgy combine. Organizers hope to contribute to a better and fuller understanding of how music enhances the liturgy.

 Throughout its history, reaching back to the 16th century, the Church of England has valued a finely expressed liturgy and the music. When it was established outside the Catholic Church under Queen Elizabeth I, the English Church maintained the Church of Rome’s incredible patrimony of sacred choral music going back to Pope Gregory the Great in the late 6th century.

 Across liturgical and musical ups and downs right into the 21st century, the Church of England and the entire worldwide Anglican Communion (and the Episcopal Church USA, its American province) have sustained a superb musical tradition within its liturgy. Seen and heard within the broader context of the Roman Catholic Church having jettisoned much of its treasure house of great music in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Anglicanism’s devotion to those treasures is all the more praiseworthy, especially as it continues to support the writing of new music for the sacred liturgies.

Within the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, the “broad church” characteristics of Anglicanism thrive. Its first two parishes – Christ Church at 2nd and Market Streets in Old City and Old St. Peter’s Church at 3rd and Pine Streets in Society Hill – lean toward the “Protestant Episcopal” in both liturgy and music. On the other hand, St. Mark’s Church at 1625 Locust Street in Center City is “Anglo-Catholic” in both aspects.

 St. Paul’s Church, within its stunning and spacious neo-gothic architectural setting, manifests both aspects of Anglicanism. Its choir, under the inspired direction of Andrew Kotylo, rivals in quality choral ensembles found in the cathedrals of the Church of England, itself.

 The speakers and their topics for the forum are: Derrick Thompson, interim director of music at St. Peter’s Church, “Lift Every Voice and Sing;” Rev. Hillary Raining, rector at St. Christopher’s Church in Gladwyne, “A Confessing Church Singers Her Song;” Michael Smith, minister of music at St. Thomas Church in Whitemarsh, “The Anglican/Episcopal Tradition: Myth or Reality?”

The forum will also feature singing by St. Paul’s Choir, directed by Kotylo and accompanied by him at the parish’s newly renovated Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.

The following Sunday at 4 p.m., Kotylo and his choristers will proffer a choral concert highlighted by a rendition of Benjamin Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb.” The program also features works by Bruckner, Sowerby, Harris and Villette.

For more information visit st paul's chestnut

More Concerts This Weekend

Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill will present “Romantic Music for Cello and Piano” on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m. Cellist Scott Ballantyne and pianist Hiroko will perform music by Brahms, Debussy and Kodaly.

For more information visit

Valentin Radu will conduct the Camerata Ama Deus in “Vivaldissimo” on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill. Featured soloists include violinists Linda Kistler and Thomas DiSarlo, oboist Sarah Davol, and trumpeter Bob Wagner. They will play a selection of sinfonias and concerti from among the many masterpieces composed by the Venetian master, Antonio Vivaldi.

For more information call 610-688-2800 or visit

The Academy of Vocal Arts will present its annual “Giargiari Bel Canto Vocal Competition” on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center. Senior vocal coach Danielle Orlando will accompany AVA’s budding opera stars at the Steinway in a vast variety of operatic selections.

For more information visit or call 215-735-1685.

The Mendelssohn Chorus will open its 15th anniversary season, entitled “As We Live and Breathe,” on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia. Artistic director Dominick DiOrio will lead the choir and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in a concert dubbed “We Reply to Violence” that includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Mass in the Time of War,” “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Joel Thompson, and DiOrio’s own “We Reply.”

 For more information

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