The music ministry of St. John’s exists to enhance worship by performing sacred choral and instrumental music that adds an emotional dimension to our common worship and complements the spoken Word. Music is planned to match and reinforce the lectionary for the day.

Music has the ability to create a mood or evoke memories. It can transport musician and listener alike, channeling emotions: joy, sadness, majesty, and mystery can all be painted with sound.

Moreover, through the singing of hymns and psalms, the entire congregation can participate in creating this mood.  It is truly common prayer.


Our choir has traditionally met  every Thursday evening at 7 pm for an hour to prepare to sing on Sunday morning. We also gather at 9:45 am before the service to rehearse. Occasionally, we have Saturday morning rehearsals before special festival days or services. The choir is very supportive of each other and has social occasions during the year for fellowship and fun.


St. John’s choir continues to look for new members in all sections; soprano, alto, tenor and bass, and hope that those in the congregation who enjoy singing will consider joining us. We have lost several members to retirement, moves from the Essex area, etc. and new members, including children and young adults, are much welcomed. We have a children’s Krystal Bell choir and adult hand bells, that are played by choir members to enhance our hymns and psalms. Please call the church office at 860 767-8095 if you are interested.

Our annual Service of Lessons and Carols, which is planned for December 6 at 4pm., is an outreach to our community. We invite and celebrate a local service group or charity, and they are the readers of our lessons. This service concludes with a reception in the parish hall where we all get a chance to greet our neighbors and friends.

Our music program has always included many professional musicians for oboe, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, clarinet, etc., as well as section leaders for our choir. These musicians offer our congregation an opportunity to hear wonderful sacred music, and help our volunteers to learn, improve and achieve.


Darlene has been an organist/music director in Episcopal churches for 37 years, 28 of those years at St. John’s, which means she is the longest-serving member of St. John’s staff. She and her late husband, Roger James, joined St. John’s in 1987 with their two sons, Denman and Reade. Both sons were acolytes and married at St John’s. (Reade is married to our former Associate Rector, Molly). She also fills in at churches in the Wallingford area.

A member of the Hartford and New London AGO (American Guild of Organists) and the Hymn Society (Boston, MA). She began studying organ in New York with Dr. Grady Wilson, continued for many years with Duncan Phyfe and more recently studied with Dr. Mark Brombaugh. She also studied harpsichord with Linda Skernick. She has attended music classes at Westminster Choir College, CCSU, and various summer seminar programs. Darlene has a BFA from Pratt Institute and also works in the Wallingford Public Library at the desk and does artwork and displays for their children’s department. She is an accomplished painter and did the painting of the church that is used in the E-news, church directory and notecards.


Our summer 10 AM service is a combined service of the 9 AM and the 10:45 AM; St. John’s provides for organ music and hymns during the summer months of June, July, and August. But whatever other musical talents we are blessed with on a Sunday, come mainly from the congregation and volunteers. 

We have many talented instrumentalists who attend the 9 AM regularly, and we would love to have them play for us during the summer. Also, singers from the choir or the congregation, are needed and welcomed! 

Thursday mornings are used to put  the 10 AM service together and ask that anyone interested in helping out, by singing or playing an instrument, send Darlene James an email by Wednesday to let her know of your availability;

Please remember, summer Sundays are what you make them. Praising God doesn’t stop for the summer, and the congregation loves to hear from you!