The Vocal Choir at Holy Cross is primarily responsible for supporting congregational singing and liturgical chants and Psalms, as well as offering special music and anthems during the 11:00 a.m. Sunday Worship service.
The Vocal Choir presents a number of special musical presentations throughout the year. The “Advent Lessons and Carols” service takes place annually on the Second Sunday of Advent, and the Choir presents a Christmas concert (immediately preceding the 8:00 p.m. Eucharist) every Christmas Eve. Guest instrumentalists, in addition to the Handbell Choir, regularly join the Advent and Christmas events.
The Vocal Choir also sings anthems to highlight special feast days such as Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, and Holy Cross Sunday. Easter Sunday brings joyful participation at both the 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. worship services, with the addition of a brass ensemble to enhance the celebration! Outside of worship, the Choir has also participated in the St. John’s Summer Concert series.
On different occasions, the Vocal Choir joins with visiting ensembles to present massed choir anthems. These experiences offer our smaller parish group the opportunity to praise God in fuller glory, as well as build musicianship and community.
Vocal Choir practice takes place August through June on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., in the Choir room at Skiles Hall. Adults, from High School to senior ages, are welcome to join! Please contact Elaine Kallestad for more information.
The Handbell Choir at Holy Cross rings seasonal anthems at the 11:00 a.m. worship service, and participates in special presentations with the Vocal Choir. Often, the hand bells are also utilized in worship liturgy, or as added instruments in vocal choral works.
The Handbell Choir begins practice in the fall in preparation for Christmas Eve services at which time they join with the Vocal Choir in offering praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Incarnation. During Advent, the Handbell Choir is often featured in the “Lessons and Carols” service, held on the Sedcond Sunday in Advent.
In the spring, the Handbell Choir begins practice in Lent for the Easter season literature. In addition to supplementing both the Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday service music, the Handbell Choir annually rings a program on the second Sunday of Easter. When commitment and scheduling permit, the Handbell Choir rings a third program in the Pentecost season.
The Holy Cross bells feature two-octaves of Schulmerich hand bells, and supplemental mallets. Upon occasion, tone chimes are borrowed and included in special repertoire. In addition to developing note-reading skills and tone clarity, the Handbell Choir enjoys developing a large variety of bell techniques.
The Handbell Choir is comprised of seven to eight ringers in designated positions. Practice is held seasonally on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Choir room at Skiles Hall. Interested ringers are encouraged to contact Elaine Kallestad for more information.
The Van Daalen-Farmer pipe organ at Holy Cross Church is a fourteen rank instrument with mechanical (tracker) action. It was installed in 2010, and dedicated in 2011. The organ’s clear tone quality, resonance, and variety of sound have had a wonderfully positive impact in the congregation’s singing and worship experience.
The organ has an interesting history, both in its design and acquisition. Originally built in 1977 for St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minnesota, the organ embodies the historic building style of the Dutch/North German traditions. Jan van Daalen was the original builder. He incorporated both Scandinavian elements and strong tone qualities into the organ’s character.
As the initial church grew and purchased a larger instrument, the Van Daalen organ was bought as an interim instrument by Bethel Lutheran Church in Rochester, Minnesota. Bethel offered the Van Daalen organ for sale in a classified advertisement, which was listed in a national, denominational publication. After much discussion and thorough inspection, Holy Cross purchased the organ in 2008.
John Allen Farmer of Winston-Salem, North Carolina transported the organ from Minnesota to North Carolina. He refurbished the instrument to elegantly match the historic Anglican framework of the Holy Cross sanctuary. Resident architect and parishioner Dennis Lehmann worked to update the chancel area and design elements of the organ, so that a classic appearance is streamlined into the nave.
The Van Daalen-Farmer organ stands as a lasting testimony to faith, both in its thirty-four year history and in its future. Its expression of preludes, postludes, Anglican hymns and liturgy, and choral anthems speak to a solid musical foundation. As the congregational voice blends to lift praise to God, so does this organ support the broad musical witness of the Church of the Holy Cross.
Organ Specifications HAUPTWERK (Great), exposed: Rohrflute 8’, Octave 4’, Quintadena 4’, Blockflute 2’, Mixture IV, Brustwerk to Hauptwerk by drawknob and reversible toe lever BRUSTWERK (Swell), enclosed with movable doors by Swell pedal: Gedackt 8’, Spillflute 4’, Principal 2’, Quint 1 1/3’, Schalmey-Regal 8’, Tremulant PEDAL: Bourdon 16’, Hauptwerk to Pedal by drawknob and reversible toe lever, Brustwerk to Pedal by drawknob and reversible toe lever. Zimbelstern 11 stops, 14 ranks, 760 pipes
122 Skiles Way Banner Elk 28604 In the heart of Valle Crucis