UCC Symbol South Congregational Church, UCC
1301 Forbes Street, East Hartford, CT 06118
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“Music hath charms to soothe…” and it certainly has, here at South Church. Blest as we’ve been with the music leadership of the late Don Hallquist for over 30 years, God has seen fit to continue to smile on us with the innovative direction provided by Carol Hoyt, Organist and Director of the Senior Choir. Rehearsals are held every Thursday evening, with Carol displaying her very special talents, not only as a musician, but as a teacher with patience and a wonderful sense of humor. The Choir, supplemented in the tenor section by Pastor Al himself, is then a major presence every Sunday morning. During summer months, the singers become part of the Congregation, as soloists, other small groups, or instrumentalists provide the morning music.

“Evenings of Music” have been traditional offerings for years. Often begun with desserts in Charrier Hall, sacred music has followed in the Sanctuary, with a more light-hearted offering featuring a sing-along to close the evening. The form of musical presentation in any one year has very naturally varied, a variety show one year, and possibly a skit the next. And the musical offerings of young people have differed from year to year, as they’ve “grown into” their instruments and/or voices, and then moved on into their teen and college years.

Youth choirs regularly provide a wonderful training ground for young voices, with piano accompaniment and direction by Madeline Harris & Jana Sime, and touching song leadership from Julia Harris and Alison Caruso. The church has frequently been able to field an orchestra of its youth instrumentalists, performing enthusiastically at the Christmas Eve services, or on other special occasions.

The “JoyRingers” are a unique and special group, featuring chime players (as distinguished from traditional “bell choirs”). Again, the talented leadership of Madeline Harris has succeeded in teaching and enabling an amazing mixture of ages, and it’s not been at all unusual to have three generations of one family performing together, making beautiful music on any one Sunday morning! This group is now under the direction of Carol Hoyt and will continue to be a wonderful addition to our Sunday worship service on a regular basis.

The most recent innovation has been the start of a junior bell choir (playing tiny “junior” bells), and we can only hope that on some day in the near future, their sound, too, will take the form of “music which hath charms to soothe…”