IPC is dedicated to the use of music that gives testimony to the rich heritage of sacred music of the Protestant tradition. The choral and instrumental music used in corporate worship spans a range of 500 years up to the present day. The Reformed tradition emphasizes the congregational singing of hymns and Psalms. Indeed, most of the music that Christians have sung through the centuries in the worship of God comes from the Psalms.
The Reformers, especially John Calvin, sought to enable all worshipers to take an active role in corporate worship. This was accomplished by paraphrasing the Psalms into metric prose that was easily sung and remembered. The first such collection, or Psalter, was published in Geneva in 1562, and extensively used the music of Louis Bourgeois. The quality of these melodies was such that the 17th century Dutch composer Jan Peter Sweelinck chose to write a collection of organ compositions that features more than 100 tunes from that Psalter.
IPC is committed to the revival of robust Psalm-singing through the weekly use of Psalms at morning and evening worship, as well as the great Protestant hymns of Watts, Cowper, Newton, Wesley and others.
Morning worship is the high point of the week at IPC—a time of praise, singing, and proclaiming God’s word. The singing is enriched by the Sanctuary Choir which is located in the rear gallery. Evening worship is often enhanced by the singing of the Children’s Choirs. The Reformed tradition (see Leading in Worship) gives attention only to major church year events such as Christmas, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. However, there are other special services which include Georgia Heritage Sunday, Kirkin’ o the Tartan, Reformation Sunday, and Lessons and Carols Service.
The guiding principle of all the music selected for use in corporate worship is “God deserves our best”. Scripture shows us that matters of musical quality and skill of performance go beyond personal taste, so we strive to honor God by “making music in your hearts by the singing of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph. 3:15).
In the beginning of the year 2005, a new Rieger-Kloss organ from the Czeck Republic was installed in the sanctuary. A pipe organ has been used to accompany the corporate worship of the Independent Presbyterian Church since the completion of the original building on this site in 1819. The rear gallery placement (a normal practice in Europe) was chosen for theological as much as acoustical reasons.
The Rieger-Kloss is the sixth organ in the current location of the Independent Presbyterian Church. The first was built by William Goodrich of Boston in 1820 and played initially by Lowell Mason. Successive organs were built by Knauff (1856), Hutchings (1891), Skinner (1919) and Harrison and Harrison (1974). The new organ features a split mahogany case, 3,300 pipes, three manuals with pedal, 84 stops and 29 Walker digital stops.