St. Paul’s has a long, rich history of musical excellence, featuring choral singing and organ performances during worship services and concerts. The church organ created by Manuel Rosales of Los Angeles was installed in 2000 in the north gallery. Its Greek-revival casework, constructed of Honduras mahogany, was designed by Philadelphia architect, John Blatteau.
Annual musical events include Choral Evensongs, Lessons & Carols, and the Richmond Three Choirs Concert. In 2022, the Richmond Men’s Chorus (part of Richmond Allied Voices), led by choral director and St. Paul’s organist, Dr. Christopher Reynolds, performed its “Back in Bloom” choral concert at the church.
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Its various pipe organs were all custom-made for the church by nationally renowned builders:
First organ, 1845-1907: Created by Henry Erben of New York, the three-manual instrument stood in the north gallery, where the present-day organ is located. In 1889, the instrument was relocated to a chamber on the right (lectern) side of the chancel and was refurbished in 1895.
Second organ, 1907-1952: In preparation for hosting the U.S. Episcopal Church’s General Convention, the church installed a new, three-manual and echo organ built by Lyon & Healy of Chicago. It gained a new console in 1923, making it a four-manual instrument.
Third organ, 1952-2000: Built by the Aeolian-Skinner Co. of Boston, the organ was housed in the same chamber on the lectern side; however, the console was on the pulpit side, and there was an echo division in the north gallery across the nave.
Fourth organ, 2000 – present: Created by Manuel Rosales of Los Angeles, the imposing instrument was installed entirely in the north gallery. Its Greek-revival casework, constructed of Honduras mahogany, was designed by Philadelphia architect, John Blatteau.
Chapel organ (built 1837, installed 1988 – present): This restored vintage instrument was originally created by Henry Erben of New York for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ohio. The solid Spanish mahogany case is the only known example by the builder. St. Paul’s acquired the organ specifically for the chapel.
Music Directors and Years of Tenure
- Charles Poindexter (1876-1879)
- Robert Cowan (1879-1880)
- Jacob Reinhardt (1880-1914)
- E. Flaxington Harker (1914-1932)
- Nina Randall Swann (1932-1949)
- James R. Sydnor (1949-1960)
- Edouard Nies-Berger (1960-1968)
- Carl Motley (1968-1973)
- Raymond F. Glover (1973-1980)
- Raymond Egan (1980-1981)
- Grant Hellmers (1981-2009)
- David Sinden (2010-2015)
- Christopher Reynolds (2016-present)