Welcome to Asbury Music Ministries
Asbury has a rich music tradition that plays an integral role in the congregation and worship life. The church has 14 excellent choirs/ensembles, 13 accomplished directors, a supportive congregation, and a magnificent 72 Rank Casavant Organ and concert grand Steinway Piano. For us at Asbury, sacred music not only gives us a special outlet to express our faith, but also calls us away from the humdrum of life to a refreshed spirit and encouragement of those worshiping with us. We encourage you to share your faith with us through music as we lift up the love of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit through the Ministries of Music.
Dr. Michael Stefanek
Director of Music Ministries
Heather Janso Harman
Director of Children’s Music Ministries
Music Ministries Schedule
Asbury Music Ministries Schedule
Adult Music Ministries
Adult Music Ministries:
Chancel Choir: This 35 member collegiate level chorale sings at the 11 AM worship weekly, September through May. Repertoire is diverse focusing on sacred classical and traditional music with 1-2 major works annually. Rehearsal Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:30 PM. Sunday morning warm-up at 10:30 AM. Dr. Michael Stefanek, Director.
Praise Band: This 10 member performs praise team leads worship weekly at the 8:45 AM Come As You Are Praise and Worship Service (CAYR) in Fellowship Hall; and for the 8:45 outdoor Garden Worship during the summer months of June, July and August. Rehearsals on alternating Monday evenings 7-8:30 PM. Contact the church office for more information.
Jubilate Bells: This 15 member collegiate level ensemble rings once a month as scheduled in all three worship services from September through May. Its membership incorporates ringers from college through midlifers; and they perform on 5 octaves of Schulmerich Bells and chimes. Repertoire is primarily traditional. Rehearsal is Thursdays 5:15-6:15 PM. Sharon Birch, Director.
Chiming Belles: This 15 member ringing ensemble rings once monthly as scheduled in all three worship services September through May. Membership incorporates women from midlifers through the more “mature.” Repertoire is traditional. Rehearsal is Wednesdays 5:15-6:00 PM. Sharon Birch, Director.
Woodwinds: This ensemble performs at our worship services, special events, and concerts as scheduled from September through May. The repertoire consists of pieces from classical to contemporary. Rehearsals are as scheduled. Alan Selser, Director.
One Voice: This 6 member, female, vocal ensemble sings as scheduled for special events. Repertoire is mostly modern music. Membership is by audition. Patty Clendenen, Director.
Steel Pans: This 4 member ensemble performs as scheduled in all three worship services; performing mostly arrangements of gospel hymns and Spirituals. Rehearse year round, Mondays 7-8 PM. Tom Clark, Director.
Children and Youth Music Ministries
Children & Youth Music Ministry:
Asbury’s Little Mozarts is an introductory music experience group for preschool children, ages 3-5. Bible stories and songs are combined with movement and instruments in this fun class. There are two classes with a limit of 12 in a class, meeting at 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM. They sing at the 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. services as scheduled, September through May. Directors: Mary Beth Gicking and Vera Street
Cherub Choir is a beginning choral ensemble for children in Kindergarten through Second Grade. The Cherubs sing in worship approximately once a month from September through May. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays, from 5:00-5:30 PM, in the Mackey Room. Heather Harman and Angela Roberts, Directors.
Kingdom Kids Singers & Ringers is the singing and ringing ensemble for elementary school children, grades 3-5. They perform in all three worship services as scheduled, September through May. Ringers meet on Tuesdays at 4:30-5:15, Danielle Comeau, Director. Singers meet on Tuesdays from 5:15-6:00 PM, Nan Richerson, Director.
Celebration Singers for Grades 6-12. With a membership of about 15, perform mostly contemporary/modern music as assigned in all three worship services, September through May. Rehearse from 6:15-7:00 PM on Tuesday evenings. Melissa Graham, Director.
Revelation Ringers is the ringing ensemble for Grades 6-12. With a membership of about 15, they perform mostly contemporary/modern music as assigned in all three worship services, during the school year, September through May. Rehearses 5:30-6:15 PM on Tuesday evenings. Carol Walston, Director.
*A note about protecting young people at Asbury. We have a Safe Sanctuary Policy that includes background checks and other policies that ensure young people and adults will be safe. Click here to access the Safe Sanctuary Policies.
Asbury Casavant Organ
Asbury Casavant Organ Introduction:
Asbury United Methodist Church in Salisbury, Maryland, is extremely blessed with an outstanding pipe organ built by Casavant Freres (Casavant Brothers), of St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. T he web page for Casavant is amazingly interesting. You will enjoy looking at their work at www.casavant.ca/; and in addition, following is a web site containing the history of the Casavant Brothers found at www.casavant.ca/new_temp/anglais/History/history1.html. Casavant was founded in 1879 (eight years prior to Asbury moving to the stone structure in 1887) and is the oldest continuing name in North American Organ Building.
German Concept Takes Over the World of Organ Building:
One wonders if those who selected this mighty instrument were aware of the enormous impact it would have on this parish and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Designed after the great German organs of the 1600-1750, the Baroque Period of Buxtehude and Bach, this Casavant Organ was right in the middle of a rage in organ building in the mid-Twentieth Century. Honestly, early American organs were often not much more than a hodgepodge of pipes. Builders and organists were tired of trying to make these instruments sound like something, and this rage of resurrecting an organ design concept that was actually meant to sound fantastic, the German Baroque design, took over the country as well as much of the world of organ building and organists. The sound is typically tall and thin, with bright definition and articulation. It was a breath of fresh air in the world of church music and organ building, providing a unified sound from top to bottom, full of clarity and splendor. A builder and organist could collaborate to make something that was never before so beautifully articulate. This sound was enjoyed not only at Asbury, but people all over the country, enjoyed these kinds of instruments for many years.
Casavants Pilgrim Landing on the Eastern Shore:
The Casavant arrived just after the pews were put in place in the new sanctuary in 1962. The original Casavant was an instrument of 38 stops, 55 ranks, played from a console housing three manuals and pedal keyboard, 6 unison couplers, 4 general pistons with 4 additional pistons for each manual, crescendo pedal and full organ piston, with one tremulant on the Swell Division; installed for a total price of $45,000.00.
For the next 50 years Directors such as Joseph Privette (1956-1965); Homer Jackson (1965-1973); Bill Evans (1973-1974); Gordon Turk (1974-1975); and Taylor Harvey (1975-2003), nurtured the choirs and musicians from this organ, adding a spiritual depth to the music of our faith from these very pipes. Click here to view the original specifications, photo taken directly from the contract.
Above photos of the Casavant being assembled and tested in the St-Hyacinthe Factory. The top left hand photo of Oscar & Harriett Carey, Joseph Privette seated.
Explosion Results In Flurry of Additions:
In 1980, during the tenure of Taylor Harvey (Director of Music, 1975-2003), repair to the organ was needed due to the furnace exploding into the sanctuary through the organ blower, rendering it unusable for about six months. During this time the organ was returned to the factory in St-Hyacinthe for cleaning and necessary repairs, and the congregation secured a used Allen Organ for the interim, which was placed in the choir stalls behind the Lectern. During this repair the main blower was moved from the basement into the organ chambers behind the choir loft, to eliminate this happening again; and the Solo Trumpet was added in the Swell Division by Trivo Pipe Makers in Hagerstown, Maryland (a unit rank of 85 pipes being offered at 16′, 8′, and 4′ pitch). In February 1985, the 73 pipe Vox Humana stop was added and in May of 1985 a contract was signed with Moller Organ Builders in Hagerstown, Maryland, to build a four manual console to include an electrically adjustable bench, digital clock, 4 levels of digital combination action memory, and 20 additional couplers. This work was done in honor of Winnie & George Kitzmiller, life-long supporters and members of the Chancel Choir.
Pipe Organ Installations and Repairs:
Of course, they say that all good things must come to an end. Many don’t always believe that, but in this case, they did. When Taylor Harvey retired in 2003, he made his report to the Trustees noting the organ was in need of major repairs. Upon acceptance of the position, the new Music Director, Robert Young confirmed this information through the evaluation of the instrument by Phil Jansen, then curator. For the next five years, the Trustees heard reports and kept close tabs on the condition of the Casavant via reports from different organ curators and the Director of Music.In the fall of 2007, it was the recommendation of the Music Leadership Team to the Trustees, that an Organ Committee be organized to look specifically at the refurbishment of both the Steinway Concert Grand Piano and the Casavant Organ. The Trustees approved this recommendation and an Organ Committee was appointed of Robert Young, Director of Music Ministries, Chip Dashiell on behalf of the Music Committee, and Susan Peacock on behalf of the Trustees. The Steinway 9’ Concert Grand action was completely refurbished in 2007, by David B. Snyder, a nationally known expert in the refurbishment of Steinway pianos. Also in 2007, the Organ Committee solicited bids from David M. Storey Organ Company, Patrick J. Murphy & Associates, Bob Daffer Organ Company, and Casavant Freres.
On February 7, 2008, contracts with Casavant Freres and David M. Storey Organ Company were signed for a total renovation of the Casavant at a projected cost of $485,000.00, with the work to begin in April 2009. These contracts were signed by Susan Peacock, Vice-Chair for the Board of Trustees; David M. Storey, for David M. Storey, Inc.; and Simon Couture, Vice President for Casavant Freres. Jacquelin Rochette and Pierre Beaulac were the Tonal Directors. The Casavant had been through so much over the years, the renovation seemed to go on and on—one matter after another complicated the restoration. Thanksgiving, the projected date of completion, came and went. Advent was followed by the assumed knowledge that at least a portion of the organ would be ready for Christmas. Then Tuesday, December 8, an e-mail from the organ builder that the hopeful use of even part of the instrument for Christmas was becoming an impossibility–the Casavant voicers were rescheduled for early November, then early December, then the end of January. January limped by—one thing after another, the voicers were rescheduled for February. February moved about as fast as the heavy snows of that winter. Most of the Shore was under 3-4 feet of snow, getting around was difficult. Easter was staring the congregation in the face, when finally, even though the organ was not completed, the voicers arrived on Monday evening, February 22, completing their work on Saturday, March 6. Then it began again, the voicers left and work continued on the organ. On Sunday, March 14, a ray of hope came into view when they were able to begin using the organ again. The congregation continued using the organ through Easter 2010 while work continued, and then very late in the evening, Wednesday, May 12, Tom Allen, Electrician for David M. Storey, completed the final work on the Casavant. Like any renovation, this was found to be a long and patience-bending process.
The Casavant Today and Tomorrow:
Today the instrument has once again been unified into one voicing style, with all systems updated and working perfectly. The present Casavant has among its controls, a transposer, digital clock, full organ recording system, 4 separate programmable crescendos, 128 levels of digital memory controlling 12 General Pistons, 8 divisional pistons for each of the divisions, three tremulants, and Sforzando. The console has been refinished in the maple color wood that matches the other woods in the sanctuary, with the interior portions of the organ being finished in a dark walnut, with matching walnut draw knobs, and dark walnut colored script on all stops and pistons. Each keyboard is sitting on dark walnut, colonial, Aeolian Skinner key beds, with the naturals being of a synthetic ivory and sharps of dark walnut. The organ also houses a Schulmerich Carillon with six voices available on two keyboards. The voicing of the instrument was performed by two of the finest voicers in the industry, Jean-Sébastien Dufour and Guillaume Deschenes from Quebec, in the English/Symphonic Style, with English Nomenclature. Where the previous instrument was of German Baroque design, being described as tall and thin; the English/Symphonic Style is much more reminiscent of the orchestral style, broad, full, warm and expansive. It combines knowledge of the German Baroque design in organ building, with the Romantic French and English design concepts, and understanding of what makes the symphonic orchestra sound successful. It is a twenty-first century sound that is truly amazing, and doubly amazing when combined with the faith of this parish and its expansive Music Ministry. May God be with these folk as they continue to praise His name through the sound of this instrument and their musical expressions.
Here are some interesting facts about the Casavant:
- The organ cost $45,000.00 in 1962.
- The organ was appraised in 2002 for almost $1,000,000.00.
- The new console cost $61,000.00 in 1985.
- The organ ranks in size with the larger instruments in Baltimore,
Washington, and New York.
- The console alone weighs over 2,000 pounds.
- There are over 30 miles of wiring in the organ.
- The organ contains 3,051 pipes.
- The pipes vary in height from about 2-3 inches to 16 feet high.
- The entire organ is three stories high.
The Asbury Casavant Organ, Opus 2720, 72 Ranks
Built by Casavant Freres, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, 1962
Rebuilt by Casavant Freres & David M. Storey, 2009
Swell Organ: 21 Ranks, Expressive
- 16’ Violone*
- 8’ Principal*
- 8’ Stopped Flute
- 8’ Viola
- 8’ Viola Celeste
- 8’ Erzahler
- 8’ Erzahler Celeste
- 4’ Octave
- 4’ Open Flute
- 2’ Super Octave
- III Grave Mixture
- III Scharf Mixture
- 16’ Contra Trumpet (8’)
- 16’ Bassoon*
- 8’ Trumpet*
- 8’ Oboe
- 8’ Vox Humana
- 4’ Clarion*
- Swell 16’ Off 4’
Pedal Organ: 18 Ranks
- 32’ Contra Bass
- 32’ Contra Violone (Sw)
- 32’ Contra Bourdon*
- 16’ Principal
- 16’ Subbass
- 16’ Open Wood*
- 16’ Violone (Sw)
- 16’ Bourdon (Gt)
- 8’ Octave
- 8’ Bass Flute
- 4’ Choral Bass
- 4’ Spire Flute
- 2’ Open Flute
- IV Mixture
- 32’ Contra Bombarde
- 32’ Contra Bassoon (Sw)
- 16’ Trombone
- 16’ Contra Trumpet (Sw)
- 16’ Bassoon (Sw)
- 8’ Trumpet
- 4’ Clarion
Positive Organ: 14 Ranks
- 8’ Bourdon
- 4’ Octave
- 4’ Spindle Flute
- 2 2/3’ Nazard
- 2’ Recorder
- 1 3/5’ Terz
- 1 1/3’ Larigot
- IV Cymbal
- 8’ Cromorne
- Positive 0ff 16’
- 16’Erzahler Celeste (Sw)
- 8’ Erzahler Celeste (Sw)
- 4’ Erzahler Celeste (Sw)
Great Organ: 13 Ranks
- 16’ Bourdon
- 8’ Principal
- 8’ Chimney Flute
- 8’ Harmonic Flute (Solo)
- 8’ Salicional (Solo)
- 4’ Octave
- 4’ Spire Flute
- 2 2/3’ Twelfth
- 2’ Fifteenth
- 1 3/5’ Seventeenth
- IV Mixture
- 8’ Trumpet
- Great Off
6’1” Ebony Polish, Model KG3
Housed in the Mackey Room (Parlor)
5’8” Ebony Polish, Model G2
Housed in the Music Rehearsal Room
45″ Studio, Mahogany Satin
Housed in the Music Director’s Office
Model U1, Ebony Satin
Housed in the ACDC Music Room
5’2” Walnut, Model M
Housed on the Balcony
9’ Ebony Satin, Model D
Housed in the Sanctuary
History of Asbury Music Directors
Asbury Directors of Music
Below is a chronological order of Asbury Music Directors to the extent of our knowledge. You may click on particular directors and view photographs and information of the choirs and musicians from each of those periods of time. Please note, not all periods of time have information. This choir is a work in progress. If you have historical information that would be of interest, please contact the Music Director.
Miss Clara Walton, ?-Circ.1907
Mrs. Thomas E. Martindale, Circ.1907-15
Miss Nina Veale, Circ.1915-28
Miss Frances Hopkins, Circ.1928-1935
Mrs. Hildred Moller, Circ.1935-1941
Mrs. Arla Hayman, 1942-1949
Mr. David H. Kidder, 1949-1954
Mr. Joseph C. Armbrust, 1954-1955
Mr. Josef Privette, 1956-1965
Mr. Homer Jackson, 1965-1973
Mrs. Lee Bicknell, Interim Organist/Director
Mr. William C. Evans, 1973-1974
Mr. Gordon H. Turk, 1974-1975
Miss Barbara Hall, Interim Organist/Director
Mr. H. Taylor Harvey, 1975-2003
Mr. Robert E. Young, 2003-2015
Asbury Church has two endowments to support the ministries of music. A general music endowment and a specific endowment to support bell ringing ministries. These endowments are maintained and overseen by the Trustees along with other church endowments. The proceeds are distributed to the Music Leadership Team who determines the expenditures of the proceeds. The proceeds are in addition to the annual church budget. (Clicking on either graphic below will take you to the endowment brochures where the brochure can be printed off.)