The Calvary Church Chancel Choir is known for a longstanding tradition of fine choral music that extends back more than a century and a half. Today, the choir is a blend of congregational volunteers and choral scholars from the university music department. The Chancel Choir leads in worship every Sunday from September to June and at special services in Advent and Lent. In addition to the pipe organ, the choir is occasionally accompanied by a brass quintet or by other instruments such as cello, flute, oboe, piano, and percussion.
Chancel Choir rehearsals are Thursday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (Due to a schedule conflict, fall 2023 rehearsals are from 4:30 to 5:30 on Thursdays) and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the Choir Room on the third floor. Get there by the stairway behind the choir loft. The choir always welcomes new adult and high school (grades 9-12) age volunteer singers.
Each academic year several IUP music students are chosen to sing in the Chancel Choir as section leaders and soloists. For their service, they receive a modest stipend, supported entirely by designated contributions to the choral scholars’ program. We view our inclusion of university students as a mission—encouraging and training musicians who will go on to be leaders of music programs in other churches for years to come.
Twila A. Hoover Organ Scholar
Each year, an IUP student is appointed to be the organ scholar at Calvary Church. The position is named in memory of Twila A. Hoover, Calvary’s organist from 1954 to 1986 and an IUP alumna, Class of 1937. In addition to scholarship support at the university, the organ scholar has the opportunity to develop skills by playing portions of Calvary’s worship services. Funding comes from a generous donation by Miss Hoover’s cousin, Hope Everhart, to the Foundation for IUP’s Carol Teti Memorial Organ Scholarship Fund.
Children in grades K-6 are encouraged to make the Children’s Choir a part of their regular Church School experience. During this time, the children develop friendships and learn music and songs that will enrich their faith experience. This choir shares their gifts of music throughout the year during our worship services and other events. From September through May, the Children’s Choir meets on Sunday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the East classroom.
Our music ministry is enhanced by four octaves of brass handbells cast by Malmark, the nation’s leading bell crafter. Special donations enabled the purchase of the first three octaves in 1990 and the fourth in 2017. The music program also has a twenty-five note set of choir chimes.
Calvary’s Handbell Choir welcomes adult and high school (grades 9 to 12) age ringers. Rehearsals are on Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Naomi Room on the second floor.
Our three-manual chancel pipe organ was originally built in the summer of 1977 by the M. P. Möller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. In 1998, it was extensively revised, enlarged, converted from electro-pneumatic to direct electric action, and provided with a new solid-state console by the H. J. Ebert Organ Company of Pittsburgh. Ebert made further additions in 2012 and 2014. Now comprised of 40 ranks plus chimes and zimbelstern, its exciting brilliance and color enhance our worship experience. We also welcome the IUP music department’s organ program to use the instrument for teaching, practice, and recitals. Occasionally, professional recitalists perform here in conjunction with university and community events. Calvary Organ Specifications
We are fortunate to have a 1933 Steinway Model L (5’10½”) grand piano in the sanctuary. The piano came to the church in 1958 as a gift from Miss Marguerite Coe, a member of the congregation who studied music at Indiana Normal School from 1914 to 1916. The instrument has a number of uses in recitals and in worship, such as with the Children’s Choir and choral anthems requiring piano accompaniment.