MUSIC AT GRACE & ST. PETER'S
“If we consider and ask ourselves What sort of music we should wish to hear on entering a church we would surely, in describing our ideal, say first of all that it must be something different from what is heard elsewhere; that it should be a sacred music , devoted to its purpose, a music whose peace would still passion, whose dignity should strengthen our faith, whose unquestioned beauty should find a home in our hearts, to cheer us in life and death; a music worthy of the fair temples in which we meet and of the holy words of our liturgy; a music whose expression of the mystery of things unseen never allowed any trifling motive to ruffle the sanctity of its reserve. What power for good such a music would have!”
– Robert Bridges (1844-1930), Poet Laureate of Great Britain
Music is an integral part of the liturgical life of Grace and St. Peter’s as one of the primary ways in which we worship, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. The Grace and St. Peter’s Choir has long been revered as one of the finest in Baltimore. Comprised of eight professional singers, their repertoire spans six centuries and features a diversity of composers reflective of the diversity found in sacred music from Biblical time to present day. The Grace and St. Peter’s Choir sings more than fifty choral services between October and June and can be heard weekly at Solemn High Mass and on third Sundays at Choral Evensong.
The first known organ to be housed in Grace Church was built in 1856 by the Anglo-American firm E & E. G. Hook of Boston. This instrument was large for its time with three manuals (keyboards), pedals, and 35 ranks of pipes. This organ was replaced in 1886 by the Roosevelt firm, which was based in New York City but had a branch office in Baltimore. Both of these instruments were built in the back of the church. In 1892, the chancel was enlarged and the Roosevelt organ was moved to the front of the church on the decani side (the current location of the Lady Chapel). A third organ was built in 1922 by Austin Organs of Hartford, Connecticut. This new instrument was nearly twice the size of the two previous organs and incorporated many pipes from the 1886 Roosevelt organ. It was at this time that the organ was moved to the opposite side of the chancel where it remains today. The organ has undergone some tonal and mechanical alterations since its installation, including the addition of a the Trumpet en chamade (on the west wall) and the Grand Chorus. In the coming years, Grace and St. Peter’s plans to replace the aging Austin console, which will ensure that this treasure of the American Classic period of organ building remains a vital part of the storied music program at Grace and St. Peter’s.
JORDAN W. PRESCOTT, MM, DIRECTOR OF MUSIC
Hailed by The Baltimore Sun as a “rising organ star,” Jordan Prescott has established himself as one of the leading organists, church musicians, and scholars of his generation. A native of Greenville, North Carolina, Jordan holds the Bachelor of Music in Organ and Sacred Music from East Carolina University. While at East Carolina, he spent two years as Organ Scholar of Duke University Chapel in Durham. Following this appointment, Jordan held a similar position at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore. He later went on to serve as Organist-Choirmaster at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, MD before coming to Grace and St. Peter’s. In 2019, Jordan was graduated cum laude with the Master of Music in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of John's Hopkins University. He is now pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts at Peabody, where he holds the coveted Dean's Fellowship. Jordan’s teachers have included John Walker, Andrew Scanlon, and Christopher Jacobson. Additionally, he has studied in Paris with Madame Marie Louise Langlais.
As a solo recitalist, Jordan performs extensively across the United States with recent and upcoming engagements at Trinity Church and King’s Chapel (Boston), West Point Military Academy Cadet Chapel, Bruton Parish (Williamsburg), National City Christian Church and Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco), Princeton University Chapel, Trinity Wall Street, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City). As an ensemble musician, Jordan has appeared under the batons of Marin Alsop, Nicolas McGegan, Joseph Young, and Edward Polochick. In 2018, Jordan earned first prize in the 16th International Organ Competition at West Chester University. Jordan currently serves on the National Board of the American Guild of Organists: Young Organists and was named one of Diapason magazine’s ’20 Under 30’ in 2019. Jordan’s research has been published in The American Organist magazine and he regularly presents conference workshops, masterclasses, and serves on the faculty for the AGO’s Pipe Organ Encounters. Jordan is an avid distance runner and a finisher of the 2019 Baltimore Marathon. Learn more about him at www.jordanprescott.com.