Music at Ascension & Saint Agnes

For GOD the father Almighty plays upon the HARP of stupendous
    magnitude and melody.
For at that time malignity ceases and the devils themselves
    are at peace.
For this time is perceptible to man by a remarkable stillness
    and serenity of soul.

Hallelujah from the heart of God, and from the hand of the artist inimitable, and from the echo of the heavenly harp in sweetness magnifical and mighty.
                                                        — Christopher Smart

M USIC, LITURGY, AND SPIRITUAL LIFE at the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes have traditionally been known for their positive affirmation and proclamation of the Catholic faith in forms that respect the maturity, intelligence, refinement, and emotional richness of human beings. Music is integral to the parish's worship because music aspires to express what is otherwise inexpressible. At high Mass each Sunday morning at 10:00, and in special events over the course of the year, we offer to God the best we can.

Music at Ascension and Saint Agnes is also part of our outreach to the Washington area community and is a vehicle for carrying the Gospel into human hearts.

THE CHOIR sings the Mass ordinary and anthems at the Offertory and Communion. Propers are chanted in Gregorian settings. The congregation and choir sing hymns from the Hymnal 1940, Hymnal 1982, the New English Hymnal, and other appropriate sources.

Reviewer Comments
on Owen Burdick's Messiah

Examiner.Com: . . . A performance like the one led by Dr. J. Owen Burdick and the Choir and Baroque Ensemble of Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes would turn any skeptic around about the power of the grand oratorio.  Thoughtful performances such as Sunday’s performance by Burdick and his fine ensemble revealed a new perspective to the work, through fresh lenses.  The church was full for the anticipated presentation and it was also a ‘debut’ sort to speak for Burdick.  Arriving to D. C. in 2008, the distinguished music director came quietly with little fanfare.  Sunday’s performance under his direction was only a foretaste of his impact on the D. C. Baroque music scene

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Photo of Owen Burdick J. OWEN BURDICK, organist and choirmaster at Ascension and Saint Agnes,  is an internationally active composer, conductor, and clinician.  From 1990 to 2008, Dr. Burdick served as Organist and Director of Music at historic Trinity Church on Broadway at Wall Street in the city of New York.   The late Michael Hammond, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, described Burdick as "an extraordinary artist…a unique individual who is able to combine musical excellence and historically informed tradition with the pursuit of cutting-edge innovation." Read more >>

HYMNS AND ORGAN LITERATURE reflect high standards of liturgical art. A sizable scriptorium of published and manuscript religious music supports the efforts of the parish musicians, the quality of whose offerings is known and highly regarded throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The choir's repertory includes plainchant as well as the works of composers from all parts and ages of the Western Church: Lassus, Palestrina, Josquin, Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Cardoso, Stanford, Poulenc, Kodaly, Walton, Mardirosian, Steel, Pärt, and Stravinski. The Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes is one of the few places in the Washington Metropolitan Area where this music can regularly be heard as an integral part of the traditional western liturgy for which it was composed.

Choir rehearsal

Opportunities for musicians

Membership in the Choir of the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes is open to all qualified singers by audition. Interested prospective singers are invited to contact the parish office at ( 202) 347-8161.

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Argillius Telluricus Eugenius me fecit