Music plays an integral role in the life and worship of our church. Central to our philosophy of music is the concept of congregational participation. Whether it takes the form of singing an anthem in one of our choirs, playing an instrument, or singing a hymn from the pew, it is our goal to incorporate every member of this worshipping community into the musical life of the parish.
Immanuel has a strong tradition of choral and instrumental music. Our current program includes:
Age 3 – Grade 1
Rehearsals: Tuesdays from 5:20-5:50PM
Sings in worship: 4-5 times a year, Sept -May
Description: We read bible stories, sing bible songs, play instruments and musical games. Kids learn to feel the beat and start to develop their singing voice. We focus on experiencing and understanding God’s love for us through music and song. Parents are invited to stay during class and watch or to drop off/pick up.
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30PM
Sings in worship: ~ once a month, Sept-May
Description: Participants develop their singing voice and the vocal skills needed for group and solo singing. We play music games, read bible stories, play musical instruments, and prepare music to share in worship. We focus on experiencing and understanding God’s love for us through music and song.
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 6:00-6:30PM
Plays in worship: ~ once a month Sept – May
Description: We read music and learn to play chime songs for worship.
Rehearsals: as needed, Sundays 10:15-11:00AM
Sings in worship: Quarterly, 3-4 times a year
Rehearsals: Thursdays, 6:45-7:30PM
Plays in worship: ~ once a month Sept – May
Description: Open to all levels of musicians, we build group technique and comradery through weekly rehearsals of varied handbell anthems and exercises.
Grade 9- Adults
Rehearsals: Thursdays, 7:30-9:00PM
Sings in worship: weekly, September-Pentecost
Description: Open to all levels of vocal musicians, the Immanuel Singers serve as the primary form of musical leadership and expression in our worship services. The singers prepare anthems which vary in style and difficulty, as well as prepares special music for festival Sundays (All Saint’s, Christmas, Easter). Members and Friends of Immanuel are encouraged to participate for the whole season, but are also welcome to join the choir for specific Sundays or special occasions.
Instrumentalists/Soloists: If you play an instrument or if you are interested in offering special music either as a soloist or with a group during worship, please contact Stephen.
Festival Ensembles: Each year Immanuel Members and Friends contribute to special combined choir/orchestral music on All Saint’s Sunday, Christmas Eve, Easter, and Music Sunday. Contact Stephen for more info!
We invite all members of Immanuel’s congregation to join one of our choirs. If interested please come to a rehearsal or contact one of the music directors through the church office by calling 610-777-7107.
Mr. Stephen Longenecker, Minister of Music
Our Music Staff
A life-long church musician, Stephen Longenecker, Jr. is a Berks County-native who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal performance from University of Richmond, where he also studied theatre, organ performance, and choral conducting. Stephen enjoys an active artistic lifestyle; he has performed with and conducted choirs in the US and throughout Europe, and he has also held musical positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, Second Presbyterian Church, The Hill School, Reformation Lutheran Church, and Atonement Lutheran Church. Currently, Stephen serves as a musician for the Common Ground Recovery Community, directs the drama program at Wyomissing Jr/Sr High School, and maintains private voice/piano studios in Wyomissing and Philadelphia. Stephen is a member of the Vox Philia Chamber Choir and also manages the Bone & Joint Care Center, a division of Keystone Orthopaedic Specialists.
“I feel truly humbled and blessed by the call to serve as the Minister of Music at Immanuel. At a time when so much of the world seems to be focused on differences and division, I believe that church music has the power to unite and align us with a desire to create something beautiful for the greater good. I pray that whatever musical gifts I bring to Immanuel will be used for the purpose of enriching the fabric of this congregation and community by bringing together people from all different musical backgrounds and experiences for a single purpose: Soli Deo gloria.”
Gifts of the Art
MUSIC and MISSION has been the focus of our Gifts of the Arts concert series since 2013. The Gifts of the Arts programs are an outreach ministry of Immanuel, welcoming all into our church home for musical concerts and other artistic events.
Our intentional focus on MUSIC and MISSION means we need patron support of of the Gifts of the Arts more than ever. Patron contributions are the sole source of monies used to organize and produce these events. This allows for all the monies generated through free will offering and ticket sales to be donated to various mission areas.
To date, Gifts of the Arts programs have donated to Immanuel’s Mission Trip Fund, Bethany Children’s Home, Bridge of Hope, Berks Women in Crisis, Phoebe Ministries, Opportunity House, Veterans in Need of Assistance, The City Thrift Shop, Reading Elementary Art Program, New Journey Community Outreach, and others.
To become a Gifts of the Arts Patron, please use the link below to express your financial support, and if desired, to designate your contribution to the program as a memorial, honorarium, or celebration. Your donation is fully tax-deductible. Completed forms and checks (payable to Immanuel UCC) may also be mailed to:
99 S. Waverly St, Shillington, PA 19607.