Cedar Lane is proud of its more than 50-year heritage of outstanding music ministry. We view music as a vital component of worship, congregational life, and of reaching beyond our walls to build community. We endeavour to involve as many interested volunteers as are willing and able to participate. With so many opportunities, we hope that we have a place for your talents and those of your family (and friends, too!)
Choirs & Handbells
Cedar Lane provides a place for people of all ages to sing! For our youngest members, we have our Children's Choir, directed by Cedar Lane member Jenny Crane, which introduces children Pre-K through 4th Grade to learning about our faith through song. Our Youth Choir is directed by Dr. Henry Sgrecci and provides a continuing choral experience for our older singers, 5th Grade and above. Our Adult Choir includes 45 or so members, and gives a powerful voice to today's social justice issues and performs during most Sunday morning worship services. See the bottom of the page for more info about these choirs.
In 1974 the Cedar Lane Women’s Alliance purchased a two octave set of Schulmerich Handbells as a memorial. Over the years more bells were added, culminating with expansion to a complete five-octave unit and three octaves of hand chimes in 2011. Our Handbell Choirs are divided into two groups - Canto and Out Bells. Canto is is for teens and adults who are prepared to take on challenging music, while our Out Bells handbell group is for new or less experience ringers. See below for more info!
Concerts at Cedar Lane
Concerts at Cedar Lane began offering its series of free concerts to the public in the fall of 2009, with the intention to highlight the diverse artists around the metropolitan DC area. Our artists perform for nominal fees because they truly enjoy our venue and the support of our devoted audiences. We do rely upon the goodwill donations of our listeners to support these artists.
The artists span a broad musical palette and examples include the solo guitar of Charles Mokotoff, Amadou Kouyate with his kora, Ron Warren with his Native American flute, steel pan artist Victor Provost, the Heritage Signature Chorale, and US Army Men's Chorus. We have featured Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen Bluegrass Band before they earned Grammy nominations, and the Bumper Jacksons before they became touring artists. Jazz masters Chris Vidala, Kenny Rittenhouse, and Steve Jones all appeared with fantastic sidemen and Christiana Drapkin had the audience in her hand as she sang tunes from the American Song book.
Our January benefit concerts have become the soul of our series. Each year our Music and Social Justice Ministry Teams have performed a concert to generate need funds for local non-profits that are exceeding their limits in serving the community. We are proud to have raised nearly $50,000 to support the work of A Wider Circle, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Interfaith Works, Beacon House, and Casa de Maryland.
Guest Musicians are a welcome presence at Cedar Lane. In worship services and special concerts our singers, guitarists, song writers, pianists and percussionists add depth, variety and extraordinary quality to our music ministry. In fact it was these volunteers who presented our 2016 Concert to End Gun Violence as part of a National Day of Remembrance.
In March of 1985, a contract was signed with Cannarsa Organs for the construction of a 51-rank, four-manual pipe organ, at that time the largest instrument in Montgomery County. The installation was completed in the fall of 1987, and was celebrated by a year-long festival which included special services and an organ recital series.
In December 2000, an overwhelmingly successful campaign was launched to fund an extensive renovation of the organ. Improvements included refurbishment of the console and a complete update of the keying system which provided for an expanded stop list and MIDI capability, as well as the addition of a number of new digital voices from the Walker Technical Company. More digital voices were added in 2007. The resulting instrument is one of the finest in the Washington, DC area, and will celebrate its 30th anniversary in October 2017.
Adult Choir - Wednesday, 7:30 - 9:35 pm in the Choir Loft (September - May)
Children's Choir – Sunday, 10:25-11:00 am, in the Chapel (September - April)
Youth Choir - Thursday, 6:30 - 7:15 pmin the Sanctuary (September - April)
Ring Out Bells - Thursday, 7:15 - 8 pm in the Sanctuary (September - April)
Bell Canto - Thursday, 8 - 9:15 pm in the Sanctuary (September - June)
Summer Singers’ Choir - Sundays in July - 9:15 am in the Sanctuary (Adults/Youth)
EXPLORE OUR Music MINISTRIES
The Cedar Lane Adult Choir is our forty-five voice adult ensemble and it gives a powerful voice to today’s issues of social justice. Many come to the Choir with a history of having sung in high school and college and seek to rekindle their skills and the great sense of common purpose shared among our singers. Others have not sung much with a large group but are inspired to try. The Choir is not auditioned. As we like to say: “If you can carry a tune, walk up the stairs to the Choir Loft, smile, and work collaboratively, we have a place for you in the Cedar Lane Choir!”
The Youth Choir is a continuing choral experience for our older singers who aspire to sing challenging music in three and four-part harmony. Directed by Dr. Sgrecci, this ensemble, for 5th graders and up, sings during “Time for All Ages” services on the third Sunday of the month as well as special occasions. Youth Choir members enjoy singing with each other and present a mixed repertoire that includes songs that they’ve learned in their school choirs, current popular songs, and songs that they find particularly meaningful.
Cedar Lane Children’s Choir introduces our children to singing their faith. Directed by Cedar Lane member Jenny Crane, this ensemble includes children from Pre-K through 4th grade. Children’s Choir will sing for “Time for All Ages” services on the third Sunday of the month as well as special celebrations and select Chapel services. The repertoire will reflect themes of the children’s RE classes and principles of UU faith. Over the course of the year the children will learn to use their singing voices, match pitches and sing in rhythm, sing by rote and read music.
Out Bells is our three octave preparatory bell choir for new or less experienced ringers. Open to 5th graders through adults, this bell choir helps ringers build basic ringing skills while learning to work as a musical team. Out Bell rehearsals are relaxed and fun.
Canto is our five-octave ensemble with most of the members having learned to ring as members of Cedar Lane. We are very proud of our these ringers, a mixture of teens and adults, who prepare challenging music that features a variety of unique sounds performed with great precision. Canto rings in worship services several times a year and has performed community concerts at King Farm Ingleside, the NIH Children’s Inn, and Asbury Methodist Village.
Community Voices is an ensemble in the making. Do you have favorite songs of your family’s heritage that you would enjoy sharing? This group will not necessarily include polished singers (but it may). It may or may not meet regularly. But it will be an opportunity for us to share our musical stories through simple songs, maybe in native languages. We may sing from sheet music, or we may learn songs from the oral tradition - i.e. I sing to you, you sing back to me. Keep an eye out for more information.