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.

Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas will take place on Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 4:00. St. John's Episcopal Church is located at 3 Cross Street, Essex, CT 06426. Free parking is available on Main Street and Pratt Street. Free parking is also available behind the Essex Post Office. For more information, contact St. John's Episcopal Church's Main Office (860) 767-8095.

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 be all painted with sound.


Moreover, through the singing of hymns and psalms, the entire congregation can participate in creating this mood. In fact, a hymn cannot be sung by an individual; its performance requires everyone to take part. It is truly Common Prayer.


Our choir meets 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. We occasionally have Saturday morning rehearsals before special festival days or services. The Music Ministry welcomes members of the congregation, including children and young adults, to participate in the choir or to play an instrument including our bells. Please contact Chelsea DiDonato at or call 860-767-8095.

This year St. John's choir is looking 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 this year. We have lost several members to retirement, moves from the Essex area, etc. and new members are much welcomed!



Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings at 7 PM, and we gather at 9:45 am on Sunday to have enough time to review all the music before the service. Phred leads the choir in a warm-up while I finish up at the 9 am service. We realize this is a commitment and we are flexible! For those who can prepare on their own and cannot attend a Thursday evening, we can scan the anthem to email on Friday mornings. In a small choir, everyone must know his or her part, but we have some talented and committed members who have been able to do this, and we will continue to offer it as an option.


Please contact Darlene either by email ( or the church's voicemail if you are interested, and she will get back to you promptly. They have a good time in the choir each year, and there is a wonderful amount of support and fellowship between our members, and they look forward to welcoming you! 


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 most 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.



Darlene is at St. John's, Thursdays, Sundays, and special occasions where she is requested to play the organ. She can be reached at 860-767-8095 ext. 17 or at


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 piece 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 night to let her know of your availability;
Darlene will return your message as soon as possible to let you know who is participating and what options we have. Hopefully, by Wednesday night families will know what the weekend plans will be, and it still gives us enough time to work out the details. 
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!
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Physical Address: 3 Cross Street, Essex, CT 06426 I P: 860-767-8095 I E:
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© 2020 St John's Episcopal Church

Mailing: PO BOX 422, Essex, CT 06426 | Physical: 3 Cross St, Essex CT, 06426