The music ministry at Ascension & Holy Trinity offers several opportunities for parishioners who would like to offer their talents to the Glory of God. Please know that all are welcome to participate, and your contribution to these ministries need not be an all-or-nothing commitment. For example, you may want to only commit to a specific season (such as Advent) or a specific service (such as Easter Sunday). You will be more than welcome to join us then.
If you wish to participate in the music ministry or have any questions, please contact Sara Cahall, Minster of Music, by email [firstname.lastname@example.org] or phone [513-821-5341 ext. 204].
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Our Chancel Choir provides support for congregational singing and a wide variety of special choral music for Sunday worship services and holidays. This group also has a few extra performances throughout the year, including events like hymn sings, Advent lessons & carols, and concerts.
Please contact Minister of Music Sara Cahall at email@example.com for more information or to join, or stop by one of our rehearsals!
This is a new offering at A&HT for those who may be interested in joining our choir but don’t feel able to make the commitment to the full year of rehearsals and singing. This group will perform music in worship and rehearse during four weeks of each program year. We will be singing accessible unison (one part) and two part music that can be learned on Sunday mornings. Performances will always be on the first Sunday of October, December, February, April, and June except for months where the first Sunday is a holiday, with rehearsal beforehand at 9:00 am. Members are welcome to join the Chancel Choir rehearsal the Thursday evening prior to the Sunday worship performance for some extra help.
If you would like to get on the list for email reminders for this group or would like more information, please contact Minister of Music Sara Cahall at firstname.lastname@example.org. For this group, there is no need to officially sign up. You are welcome to just show up to rehearsal on Sunday morning as the Spirit moves you on the days A&HT Singers are singing!
Christina Kerstan is a soprano based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She most recently performed the roles of Maria Celeste and Duchess Christina in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) production of Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei. During the 2022 summer season, Christina sang in the Cincinnati Opera Chorus during their production of Aida. Christina also regularly participates in opera outreach with Cincinnati Opera.
In 2019, Christina appeared as a soloist with Thomas More University in their performances of Schubert’s Mass in G and Vivaldi’s Gloria. She was also a featured soloist in a Francis Poulenc recital produced by The Art Song Collective.
From 2016-2018, Christina participated in various outreach productions with ROK Cincy, specifically in the roles of Ana and Yeya in Gabriela Ortiz’s children’s opera, Ana y su Sombra.
In 2015, Christina made her debut with the Cincinnati Chamber Opera performing the role of Ginevra in their production of Handel’s Ariodante. In their 2016 season, she covered the role of Salud in de Falla’s La vida breve.
Christina’s training took place at CCM, Susquehanna University, and the Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute (JMOTI). During her Master’s program at CCM, Christina performed the role of Miss Wingrave in Britten’s Owen Wingrave. While at Susquehanna, she was Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. As a young artist at JMOTI, she performed the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Throughout her training, Christina sang various scenes from operas such as Cosí fan tutte, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La clemenza di Tito, Le nozze di Figaro, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Turn of the Screw, and Albert Herring.
Christina is currently working toward her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance with minor studies in opera stage directing at CCM.
Stewardship Spotlight: Music Ministry
Sarah Cahall | Minister of Music
How Can You Be Involved in the Music Ministry?
There are so many ways to get involved in our Music Ministry, so I’ll start with the most visible option, which is our Chancel Choir. Our Chancel Choir rehearses on Thursday evening from 7:30 pm-9 pm, and at 9 am for the 10 am service each Sunday. Our season begins the Thursday following Labor Day and ends on Trinity Sunday. The Chancel Choir also provides music for special worship services like Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, and occasionally participates in collaboration with other churches in the area. This year we’re joining Christ Church Cathedral for their Ascension Day service.
If you’re interested in singing with us but are unsure of whether you can commit to the full Chancel Choir season, A&HT Singers is the place for you! This group meets one more time this year for Trinity Sunday on June 4th and will begin singing again in the fall on the first Sunday of each month. Right now, this group is combined with the Chancel Choir. We meet in the Parish Hall at 8:45 am for a quick warm-up before going over hymns and a simple unison or two-part anthem in the church. This is a great option if you’re interested in one of our ensembles and need a more flexible schedule!
There are also a number of ways to get involved in our Music Ministry without committing to one of our ensembles. One of these is through instrumental music. I would love to keep adding to our list of members of our congregation that play instruments or other genres of music to include in our Sunday worship. If this describes you, please get in touch with me so I can get more information from you! We love being able to add new people to this list.
If actively making music isn’t your passion, there are plenty of options that don’t involve music as well. You can also support us by volunteering to help with our choir library or ushering for our events. If listening to music is more your style, you can support us by coming to our events and concerts like the Advent Lessons and Carols service, Holy Week worship, our spring concert, and other music events. Whether you want to make music with us, have some great organizational or people skills you’d like to lend us, or just want to come out and attend our events to support the ministry, there is a place for you here. If you’re interested in any of the options above, please reach out to Sara Cahall at email@example.com.
How is Funding Used by the Music Ministry?
Our Music Ministry budget is essential to continuing to have music at our services, both in person and online. This funding allows us to keep licensing to live stream the music during worship, and to conduct regular tuning and maintenance of our instruments. It also helps us to bring in instrumentalists for special services like the Taizé service we did for Easter 2. We have also been able to support an Artist-In-Residence this year, and our funding has helped to support bringing this wonderful new music into our space. We also have a separate endowment fund for sheet music that is incredibly important to bringing new repertoire into our music library.
In addition to this, we fundraise separately for our section leaders each year over the summer. This year, we have added to this ask to budget for one or two new high school choral scholars, which would receive scholarship money in exchange for singing with and learning from our choir over the course of the summer. This is an incredibly exciting new program that will expand our reach and help support the continuing education of young people in the Cincinnati area.
Your contributions to our Music Ministry and to our separate section leader fund are incredibly important in keeping our current offerings running smoothly, and there are many ways we could continue to grow with further support. Your support could give us the option of increasing the frequency of bringing instrumentalists to play for worship and with the choir and adding more special events and services. We are incredibly grateful for your
support, without which we wouldn’t be able to do a large majority of what we do.
High School Coral Scholars
We are excited to share with you a new initiative that our Music Ministry is working on for next year, our High School Choral Scholar program. This year we are seeking to raise an additional $2000 in our Section Leader Funding Campaign to be awarded as college scholarships to two high school students in the Cincinnati area. This program will provide these students with intensive training in the art of choral singing and practical skills to add to their resumés and college applications. Scholars will participate in all choir rehearsals, worship, and other events from November through Christmas Eve, and again from two rehearsals before Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday, with a $500 scholarship being awarded for each term.
Each Scholar’s experience in our choir will help students with an interest in vocal music when auditioning for future roles. They will also have the opportunity to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to an activity that requires dependable attendance. Punctuality, professionalism, and dedication are important qualities to establish when applying for any type of position. The High School Choral Scholars program will also benefit our church by exposing new students and their families to our worship space and church family. This is an exciting opportunity to reach out to the larger Cincinnati community and to assist in the continuing education of Cincinnati youth.
What Does The Music Ministry Mean to Me?
For many centuries, choral singing has been integral to Christian worship. Episcopal Church liturgies continue this tradition. A vital role of the A&HT Music Ministry is facilitating the participation of all in our faith community in our choral worship. The Choir and organ lead us as we sing hymns and choral responses. This congregational participation can be very rewarding.
Singing within the Choir is especially rewarding, facilitated by the four Section Leaders. As we say, these leaders enable our volunteer choir members to make an enhanced contribution and enable the Choir to undertake more challenging choral works. But, there is more. Under Section Leader guidance, our volunteer Choir members are enabled to gain the inspiring experience of four-part choral singing. Anyone with a love of singing will find this fulfilling.
In the months ahead, we will create opportunities and occasions for A&HT members, friends, and families to "test drive" a singing experience within the A&HT Choir. Please look for invitations to share in our joy of choral singing.
Noel Horne | Music Guild Member
In the last year, I have watched our Chancel Choir grow both in their skills as musicians and in their character as people. This was their first full season of singing together since before my time at A&HT! I couldn’t be more proud of the work they’ve done this year, and I’m truly blessed to get to lead such a wonderful group of humans.
Our year began with our choir retreat, where we learned lots of music and had lots of food and fellowship. At this retreat, we also participated in a body mapping workshop with Dr. Daniel Parsley, which was a fun and unique opportunity for us to learn about how our bodies work while singing. The weekend culminated in our first worship service of the season and our Annual Fall Hymn Sing. Throughout the fall, I watched this group gain new confidence in their singing skills and grow closer together as a community as we worked toward our Advent Lessons & Carols and Christmas Eve services. Despite the great ice/snowstorm of Christmas Eve and the choir worshipping in their winter coats, we had a fantastic end to the first half of our year!
In the second half of the year, I planned more music for Holy Week and Easter than I have in the past, and I also purposefully chose a more difficult repertoire to see how we would handle a challenge. Through this challenge, our choir has truly blossomed. I can now confidently say that they have truly started to find their sound both as a group and as individual singers. I’m so grateful for all the effort they are putting into enhancing our worship with music and exposing our church to the community. None of what you all hear on Sundays would be possible without their dedication and time spent practicing outside of rehearsals.
It has been an absolute joy to continue leading this choir as they have continued to grow and learn through this group. They have been so wonderful to me through all of the hardships that I’ve had in my personal life throughout the year, and I’m glad to have such a phenomenal group of people in my corner. As I say every year, this choir is more than just a bunch of people that sing together, they are truly a family. I can’t wait to see how we grow together in the future!
Sara Cahall | Minister of Music