Music and Arts at All Souls
The All Souls Music Program seeks to create and present art of our highest abilities that nourishes the minds, bodies, and spirits of our congregation and ourselves. As an integral part of the All Souls Church experience, we strive for excellence while representing and manifesting a ministerial spirit that upholds inclusivity, embodiment, and diversity, and works to sustain All Souls’ Mission: to create and nurture Beloved Community.
All Souls Choir, one of DC’s first multiracial choirs, celebrates over a half century of musical excellence, singing a repertoire as diverse as our membership. Our singers’ artistic versatility allows us to perform everything from ancient church chant to Fauré to spirituals to South African, jazz, and gospel songs. The choir released a CD, Music From All Souls, in 2005 and premiered “All Souls,” a cantata by Scott Gendel in April 2013.
The choir has performed at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans, on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
The All Souls Choir has open enrollment periods during the months of September and January. The Choir rehearses Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:30 pm, and sinsg most first and third Sundays of the month, late August through June. No audition is required, but ability to read music and handle a fast-paced learning environment is a plus. Open enrollment periods happen in September and January. For more info, contact Jen Hayman.
Jubilee Singers was founded in 1977 by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock. We strive to be a diverse family of individuals that uses music as a vehicle to heal, encourage, and stimulate change while working toward a community and world that is more loving and just.
Our repertoire, as ethnically and theologically diverse as our congregation, includes African American spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, anthems, and world music. We provide music for worship on the second Sunday of each month, and we also perform in the community, at senior citizen’s facilities, community centers, and churches of various denominations in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.
The group is open to all. We rehearse on Tuesdays, 7:30-9:30 pm, September through June. To join, simply notify the director and show up a little early to a rehearsal for a brief orientation and vocal placement. No audition is required. For more information, contact Lenard Starks.
The All Souls Children’s Choir is open to children ages 5 (must be in Kindergarten) and up. The Choir teaches young singers about what it means to sing in a choir, as well as how to uphold our Unitarian Universalist values and principles. The Children’s Choir regularly collaborates with other ensembles both within and beyond All Souls, including the Bokamoso Youth Choir of South Africa. The children will learn sight singing, solfege singing, rhythmic notation, and singing in several languages, guided by the lives, music, history, and legacy of American music artists.
The All Souls Junior Choir is open to youth ages 9 and up after participation in the Children’s Choir. The Junior Choir continues to build upon skills acquired in Children’s Choir and serves as a mentoring choir to younger singers. Participants in Junior Choir get extensive experience singing in 2- and 3-part harmony and in a variety of styles and languages. They will also be exposed to artists who have used music as a vehicle for social justice and social change throughout history and today.
Akoma @ All Souls is a partnership with West African drumming ensemble, Akoma Drummers. Under the direction of Kristen Arant, participants are introduced to a variety of West African percussion instruments and their accompanying polyrhythms and songs.
Drumming is a fully cooperative, team-building, consciousness-raising activity. Not only does it teach students how to play a musical instrument with a rich, indigenous cultural background, but it also provides a creative outlet for emotions and builds skills in listening and cooperation. When delivered through empowerment-based facilitation and instruction (a combination of structure, spontanaeity, and constant encouragement conducted in a safe space), drumming can help manage anger and depression by building self-esteem, often resulting in drastic shifts in confidence and leading to better communication skills, diminished social awkwardness, and strengthened ability to focus.
The program is open to students of all musical abilities, age 12+. For more information, contact Jen Hayman or Kristen Arant.
As a part of our robust music program, we feature some of DC’s top-tier musicians playing music created and influenced by Black American music culture. From jazz to folk and everything in between, our music embodies the heart of the worship experience and uplifts the voices and experiences of a rich culture and legacy. For more information about Black American Music Worship Services, contact Rochelle Rice.
The All Souls Bluegrass Band comprises members of the congregation with good cowboy boots and a knack for singing in tight harmony. The evolving band, started in 2015, performs in worship several times throughout the church year, including the annual Christmas Pageant. Do you play the fiddle, banjo, guitar, or mandolin? We’d love to know! Conact Jen Hayman.