At Second Church, we believe that artistic expression is a gift of God, used both for the worship of God and as a means of enrichment for God's people. These expressions include our voices and instruments, the Chancel Choir, and our recital series, “Second Series: Sublime Art in a Sacred Space.”
When you visit us, you will notice artistic expression manifested in two primary ways. The first is in our attention to worship on Sunday mornings. Our architecture, sanctuary design, liturgical colors, musical choices, use of dance, and even the robes worn by the pastors, worship leaders, and choir are all intentional uses of symbolism, connecting us to the Triune God within the greater historical and ecumenical context of the world-wide church.
Other artistic mediums present in our church connects us to God in our daily lives, enriching our personal connection to God and the community. Frequently, our building serves as a gallery for exhibits of both nationally renowned and locally celebrated artists alike. For a schedule of upcoming exhibits, as well as building hours, contact the office administrator, Elizabeth Szymanski, at email@example.com. Second Church also provides numerous opportunities for members and the community to learn and experience art through knitting groups, greeting card design, and group excursions to theatre and music performances.
VOICES AND INSTRUMENTS
In our worship, many voices and instruments combine to contribute to our song. Whatever your talent is, there is a place for you here.
Congregational song is central to our music. We sing hymns, spiritual songs, psalms, and liturgical refrains. These range from classic hymnody to contemporary songs. Some proclaim the word, others express praise or prayer, and still others move us into meditation and contemplation. We all participate, in whatever way we are able.
While the organ and piano may be most frequently used, other instruments augment and embellish our song. Wind and stringed instruments, guitars, and the occasional light percussion add dimensions of beauty and energy.
Choral ensembles add another dimension to our worship. The Chancel Choir (see below) rehearses weekly, practicing formal anthems and less formal service music, and sings at most of our services. Our Children’s Chorus brings songs that they’ve learned in Children in Worship. And our New Choristers gathers singers of many ages to sing less formal but equally inspiring songs.
Each of these relies on the talents and dedication of individuals with a wide variety of interests and skill levels. Our ministry is to make sure that we all participate in whatever way our talents allow and require. Please join us. Contact the Director of Music Ministries for more information.
THE CHANCEL CHOIR
Across the centuries, choirs have played an important role in the ministry of the Church. Choirs have given another expression to the Word of God, and have elevated the praise of God’s people and deepened their prayer. So it is with the Chancel Choir of Second Church.
In our worship together, Second Church looks to the Chancel Choir to give expression to the Word, and to give a collective voice of praise and prayer that individuals cannot by themselves. This happens through choral anthems, through the teaching of new hymns and songs to the congregation, and by inviting the congregation into the song by way of refrains and short choruses. Our eclectic approach to vocal music includes a wide variety of genres, from classic anthems to contemporary contemplative meditations. We seek to use music that embodies the great diversity of the Church, its styles, its generations, and its cultures.
For the choristers themselves, the Chancel Choir is a small community within the congregation. We pray together, breathe together, work together, struggle together, hit high notes and low notes together (literally and metaphorically!), and together we offer our talents as our own offering. We are intergenerational, we have a wide range of skills and experiences, and we each have our own preferred styles. Together we represent in a small way what the Body of Christ is like as a whole.
In a recent interview, John Rutter, one of the grand choral masters of our day, said:
“Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It’s something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community, and our souls. You express, when you sing, your soul in song. And when you get together with a group of other singers, it becomes more than the sum of the parts. All of those people are pouring out their hearts and souls in perfect harmony, which is kind of an emblem for what we need in this world, when so much of the world is at odds with itself…that just to express, in symbolic terms, what it’s like when human beings are in harmony. That’s a lesson for our times and for all time.”
(You can find this interview here, courtesy of J. W. Pepper.)
Mr. Rutter’s comments are at the same time ennobling and humbling, reassuring and challenging. And when we place them into our identity as part of the Body of Christ, we are reminded that our calling is to live in harmony, in reconciliation, in sharing together in the ministry of the church, each to his or her own abilities.
You are invited to participate with us. We sing on most Sundays at the 10:00 service and most festival services. We rehearse each Wednesday evening at 6:30 and Sundays at 9:00. Contact the Director of Music Ministries for more information or to sign up.
Second Series: Sublime Art in a Sacred Space
Upcoming events are listed below. Scroll down for the backstory of the series and for a recap of previous events. All are welcome at these events. There is no admission fee; gifts to support the series will be gratefully received.
(Planning is now underway, with some dates and times yet to be determined.
Check back for more information as the dates below approach.)
September 29, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – Organ Recital by David Schout. The program opened with Fred Bock’s “Fantasy on Old Hundredth.” Next were three pieces from J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata No. 4 in E Minor (BWV 528), the Fugue in G Minor (BWV 578), and the chorale prelude “Blessed Jesus, We Are Here (Liebster Jesu)” (BWV 730). The program concluded with the complete Fifth Symphony No. 5 in F Minor, Opus 42, No. 1, of Charles-Marie Widor.
October 20, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – Choral Festival – The Chancel Choir of Second Church is joined by the choirs of Hope Church and Third Reformed Church in Holland, and Faith Reformed Church in Zeeland. The program includes Martin Shaw’s “With a Voice of Singing,” Vaughan Williams’”O How Amiable,” and Peter Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” with additional anthems by individual choirs.
November 17, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – Flute Recital by Jayne Gort and Ann DeHoog, accompanied by Jane Bosko
December 15, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – “Carols and Lullabies,” a work of Conrad Susa for choir, harp, guitar, and marimba – Including additional Songs of the Season for instruments
January, 2020 – TBD
February 23, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – Gary and Martha Matthews, performing a concert of various instruments and styles of music
March TBD, 2020 – The Rehoboth School Choir, Rebobeth, New Mexico – The Spring Tour concert
April TBD, 2020, 3:00 p.m. – West Michigan Children’s Choir, under the direction of Kristin Baron
May 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – Organ Recital by Richard Newman, a former organist of Second Church now Director of Music and Organist at Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA
Second Series: Sublime Art in a Sacred Space – the Backstory
When Second Reformed Church undertook the “Deep and Wide” Capital Campaign, it included improvements to the Reuter Organ and a revision of the Chancel in the sanctuary. In the original layout of the chancel were fixed pews, immovable pulpit and lectern, a stationery organ console, and a solid half-wall to delineate the choir area. There was very little floor space to allow for instrumental ensembles, sacred dancers, or even the piano.
We envisioned an open floor space, on which we could place movable sacred furnishings, organ and piano, and choir chairs, in flexible more accommodating arrangements, adaptable to different needs and more diverse purposes. We sought to preserve the sacred character of the space, while improving the acoustics and opening an enlarged chancel floor to more versatile usage.
To celebrate the completion of the project, we instituted a recital series to welcome various performers into the new space and to share the facilities with the community. “Second Series: Sublime Art in a Sacred Space” was created in the fall of 2018, and continues through the coming year.
October 28, 2018 – A Festival of Hymns – Capping off a day of celebration and dedication of the “Deep and Wide” Capital Improvements project, “Five Solas” included anthems and hymns of various styles and periods, observing the pillars of the Reformation: Solely Scripture, Solely Grace, Solely Faith, Solely Christ, Solely to God by Glory. Music was performed by the Chancel Choir and congregation of Second Church, and by resident musicians Aaron Goodyke, Rachel Klompmaker, Gregg Elenbaas, Eric Barnes, and Gordon Bruns.
November 18, 2018 – Organ Recital: “After” – This first recital on the recently refurbished and improved Reuter Organ duplicated the same program performed in August, 2018, “Before” the project began. Commentary directed listeners’ attention to the various improvements and additions made to the organ. The program included works by Jehan Alain, J. S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Neil Harmon, Paul Hindemith, and George McKay. Area organists with connections to Second Church and/or Zeeland included Jim Folkert, Rick Van Oss, David Schout, Aaron Goodyke, and Gordon Bruns.
January 13, 2019 – Harp Recital – Alison Reese and Martha Waldvogel/Warren provided a concert of works or harp solo and duet. The program included works by Carlos Salzedo; J. S. Bach and Claude Debussy, transcribed by Salzedo; Antoine Francisque, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany; Antonio Vivaldi and the Shakers, transcribed by Daniel Burton; George Gershwin, transcribed by Maurice Draughn; and Manuel de Falla, transcribed by Patti Masri-Fletcher.
February 24, 2019 – The Sacred Dance Ministry of Hope College visited Second Church in the morning worship service. They added their dance to contemporary songs: “All Thy Fullness,” by Zach Pedigo; “O Come to the Altar,” by Steven Furtick, Chris Brown, Wade Joye, and Mack Brock; and “Rising Sun,” by David Leonard, Kyle Lee, Leslie Jordan, Paul Mabury.
March 10, 2019 – Hymn Sing – Rescheduled from a snowy and icy February 24, this informal gathering relied on attendees to name and request hymns and songs to sing. Singing was supported by resident musicians on piano, guitar, and organ.
March 24, 2019 – Organ Dedication Recital – Ronald Krebs, Vice President of the Reuter Organ Company and a former resident and organist in Grand Rapids, performed the celebratory concert. The program comprised: A Festive Entrada by Walter Pelz; Organ Hymn by Raymond Haan; Passacaglia in D Minor by Dietrich Buxtehude; “Sheep May Safely Graze” (BWV 208) by J. S. Bach, arr. Virgil Fox; Pièce d’Orgue (BWV 572) by J. S. Bach; Fantasie Alla Marcia Over "Het Wilhelmus" by Jan Zwart; “Où S’en Vont Ces Gais Bergers” (Where are those joyful shepherds going?) by Claude Balbastre; Psalm-Prelude III (23rd Psalm) by Herbert Howells; and Choral No. 3 in A Minor by César Franck.
April 28, 2019 – The West Michigan Children’s Chorus under the direction of Kristin Baron performed their spring concert.
May 19, 5:00 p.m. – Holland Area AGO Members’ Recital – Seven members of the Holland Area Chapter of the American Guild of Organists performed. The concert (and the performers) included: A Festive Intrada by Walter A. Pelz (Jane Bosko); “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by David Lowe and “Wondrous Love” by Dale Wood (James Folkert); “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” by Kenneth Varner (Marie Blaukamp); Consolation No. 4 in D-flat by Franz Liszt (Sander Owens); Four by Léon Boëllmann: Entree in E minor, Maestoso; Offertoire in D minor, Allegro; Verset in A Major, Poco Animato; Sortie in F Minor, Allegro non Troppo (Aaron Goodyke); Three by Paul O. Manz, in honor of the centennary of his birth, May 10: “God of Grace and God of Glory,” Cwm Rhondda; “Dearest Jesus, We Are Here,” Liebster Jesu; “Reprise,” Reflections on “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” (Gordon Bruns); “Highland Cathedral” by Charles Callahan (Linda Fulton); and Alleluyas by Simon Preston (Rhonda Edgington).