"Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy." —Psalm 33:3
The LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church Chancel Choir is under the direction of Merle Mustert. A consummate musician, Merle has many years of valuable choral experience as a retired professor of music at Calvin College. His appreciation for and extensive knowledge of the sacred choral repertoire is evident in his leadership of each rehearsal and worship service. Introits and anthems are chosen that support a given theme and sermon topic of the day or church season.
The Chancel Choir is open to all adults in the 11th grade and older who enjoy singing. The choir is in session from September through early-June and rehearses each Wednesday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The all-volunteer choir participates in worship each Sunday morning, alternating between 8:40 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services. On months with five Sundays, the choir sings both services. The choir also participates in one Sunday evening service per month. In addition to weekly services, the choir participates in a Reformation Day Hymn Festival, an annual Christmas Eve Candlelight service, and a year-end music recognition Sunday in which several musical ensembles are featured. In addition to our weekly rehearsals, the choir enjoys several fellowship events such as an Epiphany gathering, a progressive dinner, and an outdoor hot-dog roast in the autumn. Three members of the choir hold officer positions of President, Secretary, and Librarian.
In 2003, the choir participated in the music ministry’s first compact disc recording project devoted to recording music from each of the various seasons of the liturgical church year. The first CD, Lo! He Comes: Advent at LaGrave, was released in 2003. A second CD, Every Voice in Concert Ring: Christmas at LaGrave, was released in 2005. These recordings feature the Chancel and Junior Choirs, as well as the Bells Jubilate handbell choir and organ solos. The Advent recording is sold out, but CDs of the Christmas recording are still available.
LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church has a rich tradition of choirs in worship. Our church was the first church within the Christian Reformed denomination to include a choir in worship. Still today, the choir’s music serves as a vital ministry to all those who worship here.
Click here to hear a sample from "Carol of the Inn" by Raymond H. Haan. This file may take a few moments to download depending upon the speed of your connection.
The Junior Choir members glorify God with their voices and lead the congregation in worshiping and praising God once per month and at the Christmas Eve Family service. The choir regularly learns new anthems and they learn to read music and use their voices in harmony during weekly rehearsals from late September through May, on Sundays from 4:45-5:50 pm. Children who are eight years old by December 31 may join in September, and those who are eight years old by May 31 may join in January. All children may participate through eighth grade.
The Youth Ensemble glorifies God with their voices by participating in approximately four worship services per year, and is open to ninth graders through college age members. Rehearsals happen as needed during the Church School hour in the Junior Choir room; and they will be announced in the bulletin.
The handbell choirs bring the message of Christ to our fellow worshippers through music, and build fellowship and community within our congregation.
Bells Jubilate is open to adults; and rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 pm, mid-September through May.
Bells Gloria is our children's bell choir, open to fourth through eighth graders; and rehearses Sunday afternoons from 4:15-4:45 pm, mid September through May.