Music at St. James
Music is a vibrant part of parish life at St. James by-the-Sea under the leadership of our Music Director, Alex Benestelli. Contact him HERE. Read his bio HERE. We welcome you to listen, participate, reflect and find inspiration in the music of St. James.
The Choirs of St. James
The Parish Choir
The Choir of St. James by-the-Sea is renowned for its musical excellence, and is open to adults old and young, with previous choral experience desirable. Repertoire is drawn largely from the Anglican tradition, encompassing music from the sixteenth
century to the present day. The choir sings each Sunday for the 10:00 am Eucharist and offers regular services of Choral Evensong. Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30 pm (Sept.-May).
The Schola Cantorum
St. James’ eight-voice core of staff singers form the Schola Cantorum, a small ensemble that sings for choral services that require smaller forces. You can hear the Schola Cantorum at Compline-by-Candlelight or services held in St. Mary’s Chapel, such as An Advent Procession and Choral Evensong.
The Festival Choir
The 50-voice Festival Choir is open to all members of the community who enjoy singing and commit to a set number of rehearsals prior to A Festival of Lessons and Carols, an annual Christmas tradition with organ and brass at St. James.
For more information about the Choirs of St. James by-the-Sea or to schedule an audition, please contact Alex Benestelli, Director of Music, at email@example.com or 858-459-3421 x109.
Services with Music
Choral Eucharist is the principal celebration of the church. The choir leads worship every Sunday morning at 10:00 am with the singing of hymns, psalms, and anthems. Together with the clergy and congregation, we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass. Choral offerings at the mass range from early Renaissance Polyphony to the modern day, focusing strongly on our Anglican heritage.
Choral Evensong in an Anglican tradition is a magnificent act of choral worship. Drawn almost entirely from the Bible, its purpose is to proclaim the wonderful works of God and evoke from the worshiper a response of praise, penitence, and prayer. Evensong is offered daily in many churches and cathedrals around the world.
Compline-by-Candlelight, drawn from the most contemplative of the monastic offices begun in the middle ages, this service offers music from Gregorian Chant and early polyphony to the contemporary music of modern mystics. It is offered in the St. James Church several Sundays a year.
Full Music Season Calendar
The full schedule of concerts and services in the with music 2023-24 season will be posted soon.
St. James' Music Series
The St. James Music Series is known for great performances of choral music in San Diego. The vibrant acoustic of St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla provides an ideal venue to soak up the rich texture of the human voice. Each year the St. James Music Series aims to provide a unique opportunity for audiences to enjoy diverse and impactful programs of the highest musical quality. Over the past thirty-six years, the series has featured the Vienna Boys Choir, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Anonymous 4, The Tallis Scholars, The Choir of Westminster Abbey, The Hereford Cathedral Choir, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, and a mainstay of the series, the Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer.
Learn more HERE
Bach Collegium San Diego,
La Jolla Music Society,
San Diego Baroque,
San Diego Early Music Society,
and Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
The St. James Organ Project
St. James by-the-Sea has completed an historic campaign to build a new pipe organ. The one-of-a-kind instrument, designed by renowned organ builders Manuel Rosales of Los Angeles in partnership with Parsons Pipe Organ Builders of Canandaigua, New York, consists of 79 ranks, 102 stops, and 4,551 pipes. For more visit www.StJamesOrgan.com.