Religions and Spirituality

St. John's Launches Music Ministry; Inaugural Concert Series Begins Oct. 19

The Adult Choir, Lutherringers, and professional brass ensemble led by Ken Bryson and Donna Garzinsky prepare to perform in worship on Easter this year.

SUMMIT, NJ - The choirs of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summit, under the leadership of music directors Ken Bryson and Donna Garzinsky, are beginning rehearsals or the 2014-15 season, which includes special concerts and worship services, and ends with a festival hymn-sing led by internationally renowned organist/conductor John Ferguson, on May 31,  at 3 p.m., followed by Music Sunday on June 7, at 10:30 a.m.

The ministry of music at St. John’s offers a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles for all ages including the Adult Choir, Youth/Young Adult Singers, Children’s Choir, Lutherringers, Recorder Ensemble, St. John’s Brass Ensemble, and One-Week Bell Choirs.  

The 25-member Adult Choir leads worship at most 10:30 a.m. services.  Extra singers are welcome this fall, as the choir prepares to sing Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo” in worship on All Saints’ November 2, at 10:30 a.m.   A special workshop is being offered on Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., to begin learning the music.

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St. John’s Youth/Young Adult Singers is a choir for singers in grades 10+ and local college students, with children in grades 2–9 singing in the Children’s Choir.  The Lutherringers are an intergenerational handbell choir ringing 4½ octaves of Malmark handbells and chimes.  The Recorder Ensemble is open to all recorder players.  Currently, members play soprano, alto, and tenor or bass recorders.  All choirs and ensembles perform periodically in worship at the 10:30 a.m. service.  One-Week Bell Choirs vary in size and membership, meet for one midweek evening rehearsal, and perform in worship the following Sunday.  A new group is organized every one to two months. Instrumentalists also have many opportunities to share their special music in worship.

Other musical highlights this year include the Advent Service of Lessons and Carols on Dec. 7, as well as the debut of the new St. John's Summit Concert Series (SJSCS).  

The church will welcome the Vienna Boys’ Choir on October 19 at 3 p.m.  Tickets are currently on sale for $40 through the church’s website:  Other upcoming concerts include pianist Haochen Zhang on Dec. 14 at 3 p.m.; the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra playing “Peter and the Wolf” on February 6 at 7 p.m.; the Baker’s Dozen of Yale University on March 7 at 7 p.m.; and the Princeton Brass Band on April 19 at 3 p.m.  The concert series concludes with the Community Hymn Festival featuring many of the church’s choirs led by John Ferguson.

“We are very excited to have attracted such accomplished musicians to launch our first season,” said Kenneth Bryson, President of SJSCS and the inspiration for the SJSCS’ formation.  “These are talented and well-recognized performers who have expressed their eagerness to support our mission.”

SJSCS was established in 2014 as a non-profit, Church-sponsored organization whose mission is to bring a variety of musical genres to the surrounding community that will appeal to a broad audience, regardless of faith, background or tradition.

Bryson continued, “This is a great opportunity to use music as a means to deepen the spirit of community among the residents of Summit and the surrounding area.  The ultimate success of the St. John’s Summit Concert Series will depend on the support of local families and businesses, and we are confident that the people of Summit and the neighboring towns will respond positively to our efforts.”

For the full concert schedule and information on how to support the organization, visit the SJSCS website,   For more information about any of the choirs, ensembles, or instrumental opportunities, please call 908 / 273-3846 or visit St. John’s website at:


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