The Musical Spirit of St. Stephen’s

Of the many ministries at St. Stephen’s, few are more visible or appreciated than our music ministries. We have a long-standing tradition of music and it’s hard for us to imagine what our Sunday mornings, Holy Weeks, Easters or Christmases would be like without our musicians.

This ministry includes the Parish Choir, Gospel Choir, Gospel Jazz Instrumental Ensemble, Creekside Ringers, Kids Club Singers, St. Stephen’s Orchestra/Band, and guest musicians.

Under the leadership of Clark Duhrkopf, who joined the music staff in 1997 and became Director of Music Ministries in 2013, music enriches and deepens our worship as our vocal and instrumental groups bring music that compliments the seasons of our liturgical calendar.

But music at St. Stephen’s goes far beyond Sunday morning. It includes a rich series of annual recitals and concerts.

This year alone the St. Stephen’s Music Series has and will offer many opportunities for us to enjoy both moving sacred experiences and toe-tapping secular offerings like those shared at our annual Mardi Gras Concert. See Spring Music Series details here.

The works shared by the vocalists of the Parish and Gospel Choirs and the instrumentalists of the Creekside Ringers, bands and orchestras include complex and major pieces of music that are not typical for parishes of our size.

This quality of what our musicians share is a true blessing that doesn’t go unnoticed both within and outside our walls. Case in point, our parish singers latest trip to Carnegie Hall!

So, what makes our music ministries possible?

Certainly, our parish has been and is blessed by the musical talents and passion of our members.

We are also incredibly fortunate in our Music Ministry Leadership team – Clark Duhrkopf, Director of Music Ministries, Bryon Wilson, Assoc, Director of Music Ministry and Cammy Carteng, Director of the Creekside Ringers. Each of these professionals have extensive experience and a passion for their art that equals their talent.

In addition to members and staff, our Parish Choir relies on paid leaders for each section of the choir – soprano, alto, tenor and bass. These folks play a very important role. Each has professional training, including some regular performers with the Minnesota Opera, and they bring a strong foundation to the choir on which our parishioner singers build and grow.

Lastly, the periodic addition of guest musicians, many of whom come from the Minnesota Orchestra, are a vital part of the experiences we have throughout the year.

You might assume the cost of our music ministry is fully paid for by the annual operating budget of the parish. Well, not exactly… While a portion of the funding comes from the operating budget, the St. Stephen’s Fund contributes significantly to the music we enjoy. In addition, many generous parishioners have made special gifts to the music program.

You can help continue this legacy of music by supporting the St. Stephen’s Fund. 

At St. Stephen’s, we call those who have left legacy gifts and special gifts to the St. Stephen’s Fund, Bridge Builders. Since Bridge Builders was founded in 1957, over 100 households have made the decision to leave their legacy in this way.

Thanks to the generosity of those who love our music, and the support of the St. Stephen’s Fund, the future of our Music Ministry is very bright.

Have questions about giving to the St. Stephen’s fund? You can learn more about Legacy Giving through the St. Stephen’s Fund and Bridge Builders by visiting the Legacy Giving page or contacting our Rector, Rev. Tom Cook.