Music Director: Chellan Hoffman Read more about Chellan here.
Knox United Music Program
Knox United, a century old church in the heart of downtown Calgary, has a celebrated history of involvement in the fine arts. Its congregation has been a leader in incorporating the arts into their religious services, providing a venue and cultural hub for a wide variety of local and international organizations, and has been a valuable resource centre for the Calgary community at large.
The Knox Music Program supports four diverse choirs and a handbell choir
- The Senior Choir, consisting of approximately 20 singers, presents music materials ranging from the renaissance period to contemporary gospel.
- EquiKnox, a smaller ensemble of 4-6 singers supported by a talented trio of piano, bass, and drums, specializes in contemporary music.
- The Beible Group is an ensemble of 10 – 14 singers who enjoy more technically difficult choral materials
- Aura is a small high school girls ensemble of 7 singers
- The church has a 3 octave set of handbells and is currently working to re-establish them as a vital component of the music program.
The Choirs provide a broad spectrum of music in Sunday worship services. The singers and several talented soloists enjoy this wide ranging musical perspective. Throughout the years, they have prepared contemporary worship experiences such as the Taize or “Healing Touch” service, written and staged a diverse variety of musical theatre shows, as well as involving themselves in “tradition” concert formats. This last Easter, the choirs in combination with brass players from the CPO and congregation sang Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. The choirs enjoy collaborating with other professional musicians from the community including various chamber ensembles and CPO instrumentalists.
A prominent feature in the Knox sanctuary is one of the largest pipe organs in Canada.
The organ was originally built and installed by Casavant Frères in 1912 as opus 529, rebuilt and expanded in 1956 and again in 2002. It is a large versatile four manual instrument with 95 stops and over 5000 pipes. In addition to the great, swell (enclosed), choir (enclosed), resonance and pedal divisions, it has an antiphonal (echo) division located in the rear gallery.
The work in 2002 included the addition of a digital capture system with 256 levels of memory, a sequencer and a computer diskette drive for the storage of piston information. In cooperation with the local organ society chapters, Knox has had a history of supporting many international organ virtuosos who have presented major programs on the instrument.
Full organ specs may be found here on this pdf.
The church and sanctuary, as a premier concert venue, hosts numerous groups and programs:
- Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Bach at Knox”
- Festival Chorus and Cantaré Children’s Choir
- Local high school music programs
- Educational and theological speakers
- The Knox United Church Carol Festival was established by former music director Frank McKitrick in 1978. The event features a wide variety of choirs from around the city who perform over a period of three evenings. Originally sponsored by The Rotary Club of Calgary, the event has been broadcast over CBC Radio. The Knox congregation continues to support the Festival by providing the facility, and it has also become a venue for the collection of food and/or monetary donations to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.
Building on its past achievements, Knox is looking forward to expanding its relationships with other arts organizations in the city and continuing to support the Calgary community in the presentation of quality Fine Arts programs.
If you would enjoy participating in our musical culture please contact the Knox United Church office. (403) 269-8382.