Music at St. James

At St. James we are blessed with music! It is a vital part of our worship and brings people together in joyful collaboration.



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  • David Lange

    Organist EMeritus

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Making a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord!

  • Welcome to john novak, organist and choir director

    John studied organ with Jonathan Biggers and Judy Congdon and holds music degrees from Binghamton University (Master of Music in Organ Performance) and Houghton College (Bachelor of Music in Music Education).

    John is the Professional Development Chair for the Northeast Region of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and has previously served as the AGO Western New York District Convener, Dean of the Buffalo Chapter of the AGO and convention coordinator for the 2019 AGO Northeast Regional Convention in Buffalo. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Portageville Chapel, a retreat for organists. He is also an active performer, having appeared in organ recitals in Buffalo, East Aurora and Geneseo in recent years.

    An experienced music educator, John has worked with choirs of all ages form children through adults in both church and school settings. John served as the middle and high school choral director, general music teacher and musical director of the theater program at Letchworth Central School in Gainesville, NY for over 10 years. He also coordinates honors festival for music students and educators as the President of the Genesee Valley School Music Association. For the past 17 years, John was the Organist and Minister of Music at University Presbyterian Church in Buffalo.

    John also holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University at Buffalo and is the School Business Administrator at Letchworth CSD in Gainesville, He lives on beautiful Silver Lake in Castile and enjoys travelling in his limited free time.

  • St. James Choir

    The St. James Choir provides vocal support for our worship every Sunday morning.  It is a vital part of our worship and our community.  Our choristers come in all ages and all levels of experience.  The choir sings traditional hymns and anthems and also delves into music that explores our culture's vast musical heritage.  The choir gathers once a week for an evening rehearsal and warm-up on Sunday morning. Come join us and lift your voice!

  • the C. Sohns Liturgical Music Fellowship Program

    In 2006 the Charles Sohns Music Fund was established due to the generosity of Mr. Charles Sohns. He intended that his bequest be set up as a fund to provide for a children’s music program at St. James. Using these funds, in 2018 St. James established the C. Sohns Liturgical Music Fellowship Program. This program grants fellowships to students (age 22 and under) based on participation in the St. James liturgical music programs.

    The Episcopal Church has a long and valued tradition of choral and instrumental music in its worship. Whether it be created by the voice or another instrument, the primary focus of liturgical music is to enhance our worship, bring beauty and meaning to the liturgy and to encourage and foster the congregation’s participation in the service. While our music has a long tradition, it is not taught in schools and is it no longer the cultural norm to encourage children and youth in participation in liturgical music. Therefore, this program has these goals:

    • Invite youthful participation in our worship and our already vibrant choir
    • Continue, enhance and develop the rich musical heritage of the Episcopal Church
    • Offer a learning opportunity to the youth in terms of musical execution, style and understanding

    If you, or a youth that you know may be interested in participating in this program, please call or email the church office for more information.

  • The Mighty St. James Pipe Organ

    St. James Church purchased its organ from Johnson and Son of Westfield, MA, for a total installed cost of $4,665.80 on January 18, 1878. This organ was installed in St. James' second church building, located on Ellicott Street. It was dismantled and rebuilt with its tracker action when the "new" church building was constructed on East Main Street in 1908.

    In 1923 the orginal organ was enlarged with new pipes added to Johnson's original work. Viner & Son Organ Company of Buffalo, NY , completed this addition and also electrified the blower.

    In the 1940's the Tellers Organ Company of Erie, PA overhauled a major portion of the organ. The earlier Viner & Son work was revised and still more pipes from an Aeolian organ owned by Harper Sibley of Rochester were added. The old console was electropneumaticized.

    Sometime after 1940 the Klann Organ Supply Company of Waynesboro, VA constructed a new console. This console remained in use until the total renovation in 1990.

    In 1969 one of the organ's four divisions, the Swell, was completely rebuilt by Schilker Organ Company of Buffalo, NY.

    In 1988 a complete overhaul of the organ was begun, and the present instrument was first used on Easter Day of 1990. On October 14, 1990, a Festival Choral Evensong service celebrated the dedication of the newly renovated organ.

    The current organ has 2,738 pipes, 51 ranks, 40 stops and 53 registers.

    St. James is truly blessed to have this beautiful instrument played every Sunday for our worship service.

  • Bell Choir

    Our bell choir rings joy! No experience necessary! We have ringers that are experienced and some that have never picked up a musical instrument before.