O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. – Psalm 96: 9
Music at St. John’s Cathedral is the aural rendering of the liturgy—one that transcends time, and seeks to draw us into a sense of awe and profound beauty.
From the plainsong chanting by the clergy, to the singing of the Mass and motets by the choir, hymns sung by the congregation, or voluntaries played on the grand organ, our music aims to celebrate the richness of our shared Anglican tradition. The repertoire is wide-ranging, from the earliest known medieval music, to the most compelling and beautiful liturgical music composed today. This mission is best expressed in the chorister’s prayer, which is recited together by our musicians prior to service:
Bless, O Lord, us thy servants, who minister in thy temple. Grant that what we sing with our lips, we may believe in our hearts; and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Choir of St. John’s Cathedral is known for the distinguished musical offerings that grace our services. The choir was formed after the founding of St. John’s Church, in 1890. Initially comprised of men and boys in the English tradition, the choir has grown to be one of the finest mixed ensembles in Los Angeles, and regularly collaborates with musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. The current choir presents a diverse range of world-class liturgical music from Michaelmas (September 29) through the Feast of Corpus Christi (late Spring).Download Schedule
The music education of children has historically been a part of the ministry of St. John’s Cathedral, and the founding of a Cathedral Choral Academy to re-establish formal training for both Boy and Girl choristers in the Anglican tradition is a natural evolution of that ministry. We welcome both boy and girl choristers ages 7 – 13 for completely subsidized high-quality music education.Learn More
The Great Organ of St. John’s Cathedral was built in 1924 by the prestigious firm of E. M. Skinner – Boston, Massachusetts, as his Opus 446. It was Skinner’s largest personal installation in Southern California (and 3rd in California only to Grace Cathedral and the Palace of the Legion of Honor – San Francisco). It consists of 56 ranks, 46 stops, and 3,450 pipes.
The Choir of St. John’s Cathedral presents occasional services of Solemn Choral Evensong at 5:00 pm. Solemn Choral Evensong in an Anglican Church is a magnificent act of worship, replete with incense, processions, and glorious music. This service has been an expression offered by Christian people since the 16th century.
The primary purpose of Evensong is to proclaim the wonderful works of God in history and in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Its secondary purpose is to evoke from the worshiper a response of praise, prayer, and obedience.
Evensong at St. John’s Cathedral is presented by the Choir to musical settings dating from the time of the English Reformation (and earlier) to the present day. Our liturgy is drawn from the first Prayer Book of King Edward VI (1549) and subsequent revisions.
The Choir presents An Advent Procession of Lessons & Carols in the style of King’s College Choir – Cambridge, during the month of December. The service begins with the choir at the liturgical west end of the Cathedral (signifying darkness). Selected lessons, carols, and hymns, are offered as the service progresses toward the high altar at the liturgical east end of the church (signifying light).
The season of Advent is a rich and complex time, with potential to lead people into a deeper understanding of the Christian mysteries through its liturgy and music. All are most welcome to this beloved service of the choral season, and are invited to join the warm reception following this, and all other choral services.
Compline at St. John’s Cathedral is a contemplative service of candlelit prayer sung on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from mid-September through early May at 8:00 pm. Since the 6th century, Compline has been the last monastic office of prayer before the close of day. The short liturgy is divided into several sections: the chanting of psalms, scripture, and prayers, and it owes much of its form to St. Benedict (480-547).
Visitors are welcome to join in chanting the Lord’s Prayer, say the Confession, and respond ‘Amen’ to the spoken prayers. We invite you to allow the words and music of this service to wash over you and penetrate your inner being. Periods of silence are offered to deepen your interior reflection. The Schola Cantorum chants the service from the darkened Lady Chapel. Read more about Compline at our Ministry page here.
The Choir is comprised of 24 talented and dedicated musicians who strive to maintain a professional standard of music making and collegiality. Rehearsals are Sunday mornings from 9:30 am – 10:45 am, followed by the 11:00 am Choral Eucharist. There is an additional Thursday evening rehearsal once monthly, prior to the 3rd Saturday service of Solemn Choral Evensong.
Qualified and experienced musicians in both staff Schola Cantorum and volunteer positions are encouraged to contact the Canon for Music Ministry & Cathedral Arts, Dr. Christopher Gravis, to schedule an audition.