[The choir director] talked how it’s very easy to do … painting with words; that’s what Handel … did.

Joan Menocal

For Joan Menocal, hearing Handel’s Messiah and singing the Halleluia Chorus was an annual family tradition.

When I was a kid, they used to put on Handel’s Messiah every year in the Minneapolis auditorium. It was always the first Sunday of Advent in the afternoon. My parents often sang in the chorus. They had a thousand-voice choir directed by Weston Noble, who was the Director of Music at Luther College. We would all go, my cousins and I and my aunts and uncles, and we would sit way up in the peanut gallery – I’m not sure why, because there was no admission charge to go to this thing. But we’d always sit way up in the balcony. And we always had the programs. And my cousin Sue and I would look at the programs, and we would sort of check off each solo, because we couldn’t wait until we got to the Halleluia Chorus; that was the most thrilling moment for us because we all got to stand up and sing. It was just such a thrill.

Eventually, when I was in high school, I think I sang in the chorus. And after that I ended up going to Luther College.

I want to tell one little story about Weston Noble and how he conducted the Messiah. It’s baroque music and it’s very easy to do sort of painting with words; that’s what Handel sort of did in this music. So Weston Noble liked to talk about it, talk about how the words fit with the music. So, “All we, like sheep, have gone astray.” And in that song each of the parts goes off on its own in a different direction.

In the chorus, in “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” there’s a part where we sing: “Won-derful. Coun-selor.” And Weston Noble used to say, “Just picture yourself watching a laundromat washing machine and the clothes are going back and forth: “Wond-derful. Coun-selor.” So every time I hear that chorus I think of that. Also I think of it when I see a laundromat. So, it’s really quite a thing.

In another chorus – “Glory to God,” which is the song the angels sang, as you recall, it’s really beautiful. And at the end there’s this little, after the chorus is finished singing, there’s an instrumental part, and at the end there’s a little trill. And Weston Noble said, “That’s the littlest angel, who just about doesn’t make it back.”

But you can hear this little angel, just finishing up and getting back with his other angels, just in time.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

View Larger Map