St. Andrew’s Music Ministry
For generations St. Andrew’s has been a church with a strong music tradition with choirs for adults and children, instrumental music, inspired organ leadership, and robust congregational singing. Our programs offer musical experiences for all abilities so that we can all serve God through our music ministry.
We currently have over 300 adults and children involved in our music program:
- St. Andrew’s Choir (100 adults-auditioned); Jan Gilbertson, director
- New Dimension Singers (40 adults); Jan Gilbertson, director
- High School Choir (40 students in grades 9-12); Andy Haase, director
- Middle School Choir (35 students in grades 6,7,8); Jennifer Starr, director
- Celebration Singers (35 students in grades 3,4,5); Jennifer Starr, director
- Choristers (45 students in grades K,1,2,); Miriam Walen Sikora, director
- Handbells (12 adults); Jan Gilbertson, director
- Orff Ensembles (grades 1-8); Leah Abbe Bloem, former director; position open
- St. Andrew’s Orchestra; Charles Gray, director
- Music Administrative Assistant; Dianne Nash
Every director on our staff is a professional educator. They bring their expertise to develop the talents in the ensemble. We are so fortunate that Bill (organist) and Kristin Chouinard (pianist) are our professional accompanists. Well over a dozen pianos support the needs of the music program and other ministries, and, of the church’s two pipe organs, the Sanctuary Casavant/Schantz continues to draw considerable interest in both worship service and concert settings.
All of these groups participate in our traditional worship services on Sunday, 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. Most of the children and youth choirs sing twice a month and the adults sing every Sunday. Our services are live-streamed and archived at saintandrews.org. The orchestra of 32 members is part of our services one Sunday each month and at least one of our choir anthems is accompanied by the orchestra. Our biggest event of the year is the Christmas Festival where all of our ensembles participate. 2018 /festival:
The festival happens in our Sanctuary this year on December 15 at 3:30 & 6:00 p.m.
Our total church membership is more than 9,000 and draws from Mahtomedi, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Maplewood, Woodbury and more. Our campus includes the Great Hall, Youth and Sports Center, and most notably, the Sanctuary, which seats 1,500. These unique spaces make it possible for us to host large events. We are currently expanding our Sanctuary to build a Fellowship Hall and additional gathering spaces.
The Choristers singing at St. Andrew’s
The St. Andrew’s Music Series hosts more than 30 concerts each year, including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the National Lutheran Choir, and many instrumental and vocal groups from local schools and the larger metropolitan area. ACDA of Minnesota has held their fall conference and the May concert of Elementary Honor Choirs in our facilities for many years. These events are a draw for people in our surrounding communities, bringing thousands to our church annually.
In addition to the traditional services in our Sanctuary, contemporary worship services are held in the Great Hall. They are led by the talented Sara Renner and a band of singers and instrumentalists. Our new worship community is now happening in Hugo at our Depot Church.
We do have a challenge, one that many churches share. How do we make it possible for singers and families to balance the demands of work, studies, sports and family time with church? We try to be welcoming and creative with our music offerings. Sometimes we combine several choirs during a busy time to create a festive occasion by singing together. We extend a welcome to those who return to us after taking a break for a season or for family issues. We have offered short-term-commitment music events. For our Christmas Festival we extend an invitation to members and friends to join New Dimension Singers for rehearsals and the concerts. That choir actually doubles its membership for the season and typically several singers join the choir permanently.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at St. Andrew’s
We are called to be a place where people can find hope, strength plus practical assistance. We are blessed to have support from pastors and staff, especially our outstanding Facilities staff. As a church, one of our core values is to strive for excellence. Excellence, hospitality and a warm welcome are a major part of St. Andrew’s mission in all we do, including music.