Music at St. Mary’s 2018-10-30T18:20:14+00:00

Music at St. Mary’s is a ministry for all ages who wish to worship through song. In addition to liturgical music at Sunday services and major feast days,  St. Mary’s invites the community to free concerts featuring area artists and traditional Compline and Evensong offerings.

How You Can Get Involved

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If we consider and ask ourselves what sort of music we should wish to hear on entering a church we should 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, POET LAUREATE OF GREAT BRITAIN (1844-1930)

St. Mary’s Organ

Our Organ

In 1998 as part of the church renovation and expansion, the St. Mary’s organ was installed by Lively-Fulcher Pipe Organ Builders of Washington, D.C. This organ was crafted foremost to support hymn singing, accompany choral anthems, and play organ literature spanning many periods. The instrument currently has 25 speaking stops with preparations for two further voices to be added as funds permit. The key action is mechanical and the stop action is electric, complete with combination action and eight levels of memory. The tonal inspiration for the instrument is firmly based in England but with a dash of French color and exuberance that was so common in English-built organs of the 18th and 19th centuries. The support of the robust hymn singing coupled with the varied and ambitious choral program at Saint Mary’s is the driving force behind the tonal aesthetic of the instrument. Learn More

Our Music Leadership

Dr. Gregory Hooker – Minister of Music.  Gregory has served at St. Mary’s since 2003.

Gregory completed the Doctor of Music degree in organ and church music at Indiana University in 2010. His final document is entitled “Reflections on Theological and Musical Education in Episcopal Seminaries.”  At IU he studied organ with Marilyn Keiser and Larry Smith, studied harpsichord with Elisabeth Wright and was an Associate Instructor in piano. His previous organ study was with David Mulbury at the College-Conservatory of Music/University of Cincinnati where he received the Master of Music degree.  He also holds the Master of Church Music degree with a second major in piano performance from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.  His piano studies at Southern were with renowned pedagogue and piano music editor Maurice Hinson. More recently he studied organ improvisation with Naji Hakim in Paris for a portion of his 2012 sabbatical.

Dr. Hooker has performed organ recitals across the United States at venues including the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta; Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis; and the National Cathedral. He contributes to Royal School of Church Music Washington Course for Advanced Trebles as a planning committee member. Dr. Hooker has served on the planning committees for the 2010 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in and the 2014 Association of Anglican Musicians National Conference. He has been an adjudicator for several regional organ competitions and has presented workshops for AGO local chapter meetings and a national convention. Dr. Hooker has had articles published by The Christian StandardThe Anglican Digest, and The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians. St. Mary’s Choirs have sung for regional and national conferences and at the following venues: Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston; Washington National Cathedral; St. Paul’s, K Street, Washington, D.C.

GSS-Open5ths headshot2Gregory Stuart – Assistant Music Director, Bass Section Leader, and Handbell Choir Director.

Gregory has been part of the music program at St. Mary’s since 2009. A lifelong musician, he performs regularly in the DC area and further afield. He has professional credits in opera, musicals, and plays. He especially adores Shakespeare. A love of teaching makes assisting Dr. Hooker with the choirs and leading the Handbell Choir a joy. He teaches voice lessons, yoga and Pilates, and lectures on theatre literature bringing abundant enthusiasm for the material to the classroom. He is an avid student of foreign languages and enjoys genealogy and gardening.

DSC_0343Matt Gabay – Volunteer Music Associate assists Dr. Hooker as organist for services and accompanist for the choirs.

Matt and his wife, Susan, have been parishioners at St. Mary’s since 2006, and he has served as the Associate Organist since 2013.  He is in his second year of studies toward a Master of Music in Sacred Music with a concentration in organ performance.  Matt holds the Colleague and Associate certifications from the American Guild of Organists (AGO).  Matt sang as a boy in the Men and Boys Choir at St. Peter’s, Morristown, New Jersey. Before he turned his focus to music, Matt was as an officer in the US Navy, where he served for eight years as a helicopter pilot.  After his military service, he spent another eight years with a private sector management consultancy working in support of federal clients.  Matt and Susan reside in Arlington with their three children.