The music program at St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene is a visible and audible presence of ministry. The program is under the direction of the parish's Director of Music, Dr. Naomi Gregory.
The Director of Music works with the priest in charge to plan music for the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Liturgy and rehearses with the choirs to lead the congregation in song and worship. The Adult Choir rehearses weekly and sings every Sunday from September until June.
E.M. Skinner built the magnificent three-manual pipe organ at Two Saints in 1925. This instrument is in excellent condition, and continues to lead the parish in its singing to this day. The specification of our fine instrument can be found at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/organ/files/Two-Saints-Skinner-spec.pdf
The Children's Choir often rehearses during sermons and performs during the Liturgy of the Table.
The musical traditions of Two Saints reflect the heritage that has come to us from both the old St. Luke's Church and the former Church of St. Simon Cyrene, as well as the mutually formed tradition since the parishes were merged. Drawing from the broad traditions of the Anglican church, the music program of our parish celebrates and utilizes a great deal of diversity: everything from Gregorian chant to Gospel.
We feel strongly that the diversity of our musical tradition provides an element of constancy in our weekly worship. Whether prayerful, contemplative, jubilant or meditative, our choirs and congregation are faithful in the expression of showing God’s Love to us through music and song.
We are pleased during the choir season to have four students sing with us as the Robert O. Moore Choral Scholars. Robert Moore was a long-term member of the Two Saints Choir, and the St. Simon's Choir before that. This program is funded by special contributions from parishioners and others.
Our Music Program is generously supported by the John and Nicky Harmon Fund for Music at Two Saints.
If you would like to get involved with the music program, please contact our Director of Music, Dr. Naomi Gregory.
Kimberly Merrill (soprano) is from Gowanda, New York and holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree from the Eastman School of Music. In 2014, she sang the title role in the Philadelphia première of Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans with the Russian Opera Workshop, under the direction of Ghenady Meirson. She has performed the role of Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me with Eastman Opera Theatre and has sung the soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection with the Eastman Philharmonia. She has also performed in master class for Benita Valente, Academy of Vocal Arts faculty Thor Eckert, and baritone William Stone.
Sarah Yaden (alto) is currently a student at the Eastman School of Music, pursuing a major in Vocal Performance. While at Eastman, she has performed the roles of: Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica, Suor Agnese in Mese Mariano, and Fortuna in L’Incoronozzione di Poppea. Sarah has been involved in church choirs since she could sing, and has since expanded her choral repertoire through her involvement in high school and collegiate choirs, and professional choral collaboration with Symphonicity of Virginia Beach. From a young age, Sarah has been an avid performer, and she actively explores many different genres of music while keeping her primary focus in the operatic spheres. Raised in a Navy family, Sarah has enjoyed traveling the world and jumping at any chance to explore new cultures, especially when it involves music. Most recently, she spent some time at a Gaeltacht in Ireland studying Irish Gaelige and traditional music. She is eager to make the most of her senior year of studies, and explore all the musical possibilities that come with it.
Marcus Jefferson (tenor) is from Wayne, New Jersey and is in his sophomore year studying vocal performance at the Eastman School of Music. He is also a student in the dual degree program at the University of Rochester studying Brain and Cognitive Science. At Eastman, he studies under professor Jan Opalach.
Marcus grew up singing in church choirs and school choirs and performed annually in his school's musicals. He knew that he was a natural-born performer and always wanted a career in the stage. Once he discovered opera, he knew that this was the type of singing and art form that he wanted to pursue. It wasn't until the end of his sophomore year in high school that he started taking his voice and music more seriously, and started taking voice lessons. When it came time to pick a college, Marcus knew he wanted to pursue voice and opera, but he also knew that he wanted to pursue academic studies as well. This is what brought him to the dual degree program at Eastman and the University of Rochester. With these studies, he hopes to perform opera and eventual teach voice with an emphasis on vocal health.
Nathan Kessel is a Bass/Baritone at the Eastman School of Music studying under Anthony Dean Griffey and is in his senior year. Kessel was deemed young artist of the year by the Boston Globe in 2013 as well as distinguished artist by the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Nathan has been performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a member of the Tanglewood Festival Choir since he was 16 years old. Kessel was an apprentice at Ash Lawn Opera in 2016 and a young artist at Ohio Light Opera in 2017. Last fall Nathan made his Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra debut as Samuel in the Pirates of Penzance. In November, Kessel will be performing as Ottone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at Eastman under the direction of Paul O'Dette and Steven Carr. Nathan is very excited to have made his first appearance at the Rochester Lyric Opera as Henri in The Polite Abductress by Douglas Lowry on Friday, September 22.