Music Ministry

An Overview

IPC is dedicated to the use of sacred music that represents the rich heritage of our Protestant tradition. The choral and instrumental music used in corporate worship regularly spans a range of 500 years up to the present day. Our congregational singing reaches back even further, to the hymns of early church fathers and — most of all — to the Scriptures themselves. The Reformed tradition particularly emphasizes the congregational singing of metrical Psalms; and indeed, most of the music that Christians have sung through the centuries in the worship of God comes from the Psalms.
The Reformers sought to enable all worshipers to take an active role in corporate worship. For the Strasbourg pastor Martin Bucer and for his imitators (John Calvin chief among them), this was largely accomplished by paraphrasing the Psalms into metric poetry in local vernaculars that was easily sung and remembered. The first such collection, or psalter, known as the Genevan Psalter because of the Swiss city from which it sprang, was published in French in 1562. Reformers in other countries quickly followed with psalters in their own languages: England in 1564, Scotland in 1565, the Netherlands in 1566, and Germany in 1573, to name the most consequential examples.
IPC stands on the shoulders of these Reformers as we sing metrical Psalms that trace their ancestry back to these collections every Sunday morning and evening. We also draw on the great store of Christian hymns from the time of the early Church to the present.
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, located in the rear gallery. The Reformed tradition (see Leading in Worship) gives primary attention to the morning and evening Sunday services, but we also observe major church year events such as Christmas, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.
Other special services throughout the year include Georgia Heritage Sunday, Reformation Sunday, and our annual Lessons & 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).

The Organ

In the beginning of the year 2005, a new organ by the Czech firm Rieger-Kloss 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 & Harrison (1974). The new organ features a split mahogany case, and more than 40 ranks of pipes across three manuals and pedal.

The Choir

There are many opportunities for individuals and families to participate in our music ministry, summarized below. If you have questions about I.P.C.’s Music Program, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jacob Fuhrman, Director of Music Ministries, or 912-421-8107.

Sanctuary Choir                                   Wednesday 6:30-8:00pm
The Sanctuary Choir is composed of adults of any age. There are no auditions required, but it is essential that one be able to carry a tune. Note reading is helpful. The choir sings a variety of repertoire ranging from composers such as Thomas Tallis, Bach, and Handel, through present day composers. On various occasions, a Women's Chorus and a Men's Chorus breaks out of this group as well.
  • The choir meets in the Choir Room for rehearsals each Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:00pm and ordinarily meets weekly from September through June with some breaks.

Youth Choir                                         Sunday 4:15-5:05pm
The Youth Choir is for young people in grades 6-12. This choir sings regularly through the church year and finishes off their season with a choir trip.
  • This choir meets in the Choir Room for rehearsals each Sunday from 4:15-5:05 and ordinarily meets weekly from September through May with some breaks.

Chapel Choir                                        Sunday 7:00-7:45pm
The Chapel Choir is comprised of children from grades 1-5. The main goal of this choir is to teach children to love music in general and in particular to love the music of the church.
  • The Chapel Choir meets in the Choir Room on Sunday evenings from 7:00-7:45 and ordinarily meets from September through May.

Seraph Choir & Cherub Choir              Sunday 9:25-9:40am
  • From October through the Lessons & Carols service in December, the children in the age 4-Kindergarten and Grade 1-2 Sunday school classes come to the choir room to prepare for Lessons & Carols. The rest of the year, they sing from time to time in their Sunday school rooms with their teachers.

Handbell Choir                                             Wednesday 5:30-6:25pm
The Handbell Choir is made up of high school through adults.  The beautiful sonority of the bells is heard several times during the year including Lessons and Carols. Handbell Choir is limited to 13 ringers. The Bell Choir rehearses on Wednesday afternoon from 5:30-6:25.
  • Handbell Choir rehearsal is by appointment only due to the limited space in the group, but if you are interested in joining, contact Dr. Fuhrman.