The Christ Church Choir

CCC Choir


The Christ Church Choir leads the congregation in singing in addition to offering anthems and psalms at the 10:00 AM service from September through June. They also sing the service of Evensong on the first Sunday of the month, feast and fast-day services, concerts, and other special events. The Christ Church Choir is an advanced ensemble that sings a greatly varied repertoire, including a significant amount of standard sacred choral literature from all periods. Individuals who can read music and have previous choral experience are best suited for this ensemble. Contact Christopher Wells for more information at cwells@christchurchcranbrook.org

CCCSchedule 2018-19

The Cranbrook Choristers

The Cranbrook Choristers, for boys and girls Grades 3 and up, is an ensemble that combines excellent musical training, leadership and teamwork, worship and fellowship. Choristers learn musical skills and theory through the curriculum of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). The early and thorough musical training of the RSCM curriculum has documented success stories in assisting children in fundamental life skills: self-confidence, problem solving, spatial reasoning, communication, creativity, and cooperation. The Cranbrook Choristers rehearse on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (5-6:30 PM) and sing frequently in church. Choristers are welcome to come to the church immediately after school to work on homework and receive tutoring. Contact Christopher Wells for more information at cwells@christchurchcranbrook.org


Schola Cantorum

Schola Cantorum (or “School of Singers”) is the logical next step in the program, for changed voices in grades eight and up—the bridge between child Choristers and adult singers. Schola Cantorum singers continue developing their older adolescent voices with particular emphasis on strong vocal production, sight-reading, and great music-making, as well as general musicianship skills. Singers can join at any level of musical experience and can progress at their own pace, challenge, and motivation. They sing alongside professional musicians and music educators at CCC who can offer both example and individual guidance and instruction in the midst of choral singing. Singers in Schola Cantorum who continue to follow the RSCM curriculum are eligible to receive a stipend commensurate with their skill level and benefit to the entire ensemble.

Schola Cantorum rehearses Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, including dinner, fellowship, vocal and ensemble instruction, and then they join part of rehearsal with the Christ Church Choir. Schola singers who attain strong vocal production and confident sight-reading ability have the opportunity to sing with the Christ Church Choir for the entire rehearsal.

Contact Christopher Wells for more information at cwells@christchurchcranbrook.org

St. Francis Children's Choir

The St. Francis Choir is for all boys and girls from Kindergarten through Second Grade; consideration will be given to four-year olds with parent participation. This is a musical enrichment experience in which participants learn basic singing and rhythm skills through varied activities and Bible-based songs. The development of the child’s singing voice will be a major focus of this choir. The St. Francis Choir sings for the 10:00 AM service several times during the church year. Additionally, the children will participate in musical outreach. Rehearsals are held in the Choir Room immediately following the 10:00 AM service on most Sundays and last approximately thirty minutes. Contact Kate Bublitz, Director, for more information at kate.bublitz@hotmail.com.


The Cranbrook Ringers

The Cranbrook Ringers are once again up and ringing! Rehearsals for this ensemble will be on Wednesdays from 7-8 PM. Handbells are an excellent opportunity for those who are musically inclined (basic music reading skills are necessary!), but are not interested in singing. This group will ring in church several times throughout the year, in addition to taking their show on the road to local venues that might not otherwise be able to hear live music regularly. Contact Donna Hughes for more information at bellzadonna@hotmail.com

2018-2019 ringers rehearsal schedule

The Parish Choir

The Parish Choir is an ensemble for teens and adults that sings alongside the Christ Church Choir several times each year. For these occasions, music selections are intentionally uncomplicated – chosen for singers who are not able to make a weekly commitment to the Christ Church Choir, but would like to be a part of the music program. Singers can join this ensemble whenever they are available. The Parish Choir Dates for 2017-2018 are [coming soon…]

The CCC Philharmonic

is an amateur (“for the love of”) group of instrumentalists from within the parish. They rehearse the Sunday before playing in church. They add to the organ to accompany glorious hymn singing at the 10:00 AM service. They will play twice during the 2017-2018 season. If you play an instrument, or are ready to dust off your childhood violin, mark your calendars for [dates coming soon…]! Contact Christopher Wells for more information at cwells@christchurchcranbrook.org


The Organ (Main Church)

Cranbrook archival documents indicate that, in September 1925, the Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts was being considered as the builder for the church’s pipe organ. By October of the same year, the stoplist for a three-manual and pedal organ had been drawn up. During this period, Ernest M. Skinner had engaged the renowned British organ builder, Henry Willis, as consultant in an artistic alliance with his company in England. The original organ, therefore, reflected the influence of this great English organ builder. By December 1925, the stoplist had been agreed upon, and a contract was signed for a three-manual E. M. Skinner organ.

In July 1927, a letter from the Skinner Organ Company responds to a desire from the church to enlarge the organ from a three-manual to a four-manual instrument, adding another department of stops. The addition and enlarged console were contracted for in November 1927. As the back portion of the overly large tower organ chamber had been walled in, another location for this additional new section had to be found. This new Solo section, located in a chamber on the north side of the choir above the working sacristy, “would certainly add tremendously to the effectiveness of the result” stated W. E. Zeuch, Skinner’s second Vice President. The organ of 46 stops over four-manuals and pedal was installed by the end of the year 1927.

Between 1945 and 1955, various proposals from a number of builders in the US and Canada were developed to enlarge the Cranbrook organ. Charles McManis, a small American builder, was chosen for the project. He came to the Cranbrook organ in 1956 when the revival of the neo-classical style of organ-building was in its curious first phase.

Accepting that there were shortcomings with the original Skinner installation – poor placement of the pipework and a deficit of clear, bright upperwork – the resulting McManis revision showed that he was following the trend of the day. In short, ranks of pipes were shuffled from one department to another with only slight improvement of placement, some bright “Baroque” high pitched stops were added, while some of the rich, full-bodied stops were thrown out completely. With an overall reduction in wind pressure, the result was a loss of character and majesty, even though the instrument was increased in size to 69 stops.

By the 1970’s, the original Skinner console had deteriorated to the point where it was deemed essential to replace it. Early in 1992, an Organ and Carillon Renovation Committee was formed to address the many needs for the failing organ. During the summer of 1993, a subcommittee of three committee members, the organ consultant and the two staff musicians, travelled to the east and west coasts to audition representative instruments by the two leading prospective organ builders for the Cranbrook organ project.

Impressed by two superb organs and vast experience restoring, rebuilding, and reconstructing existing and historic instruments, the committee selected British organ builder, N. P. Mander, Limited for the Cranbrook organ project. From the outset, Mander organ builders proposed the preservation and re-instatement of the 1920’s pipework as a basic and important element in reconstruction. They adopted as the general principle for the project a recapturing of the style of the Skinner organ with any additions or alterations being compatible with that style.

The resulting instrument includes more of the original Skinner pipework than the McManis revision of 1955/1956. The 1997 E. M. Skinner/N. P. Mander organ contains 98 stops over six manual divisions and two pedal divisions. All mechanical and electrical components are new. The new four-manual Mander console is constructed in a traditional English style and blends harmoniously with the woodwork and decorative carving of the church.

Behind the decorated organ case, the tower organ, containing the great, swell, choir, solo and pedal divisions, accompanies the congregation in its music for worship and plays the full range of organ repertoire with uncompromised majesty and subtlety. The Chancel organ with two manual divisions and pedal was designed with the accompaniment of choirs and small ensembles of singers and instrumentalists in mind.

Organ Specifications (PDF)

The Organ (St. Dunstan’s Chapel)

The organ in St. Dunstan’s Chapel is currently not operational.  An project is underway to replace the instrument.  Check back for more information as this exciting project takes off!

The Chamber Organ

A gift of parishioner Virginia Sory Brown in memory of her mother and aunt, the Chamber Organ was built by George Bozeman, Jr. and Company, Organ builders, Deerfield, New Hampshire.

The musical design of the instrument is influenced by mid to late 18th-century English bureau organs and the small chamber organs which George Frederic Handel would have known and played. Mr. Bozeman proposed in particular a design patterned after a chamber organ which Handel used for the first performance of Messiah given in Dublin in 1742. Special attention was given to the design and detail of the organ case. Fashioned upon the Arts and Crafts style of the early 20th-century American master furniture maker, Gustav Stickley, the dark oak paneled case appears to be from the period of the construction of the church (1925-28). The pipe shades seen when the case is opened take their inspiration from detail found throughout the church building which suggest the Art Deco style as found in other Cranbrook buildings.

The organ was dedicated March 9, 1997, when the congregation was worshipping in the Guild Hall during the installation of the E. M. Skinner/N. P. Mander organ.

8′ Open Diapason Descant
8′ Stopped Diapason Bass 8′
8′ Stopped Diapason Descant 8′
4′ Flute Bass 4′
4′ Flute Descant 4′
22/3‘ Nazard Descant
2′ Fifteenth Bass
2’ Fifteenth Descant
13/5‘ Tierce Descant

The Carillon

The original carillon at Christ Church Cranbrook is comprised of 46 bells from the Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, England. The beautiful instrument was a gift in 1927 to the new church building from Grace Booth Wallace, Harold Lindsey Wallace ,and their children (Elizabeth Ellen,Ellen Virginia, Richard Booth, Shirley Anne and Catherine Booth).

The new carillon was dedicated at a concert on Sunday, September 30, 1928, played by Anton Brees, a native of Antwerp who at that time was carillonneur at Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Brees later became carillonneur at the famous Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida. He returned to the church for several summers to play. This was the beginning of what is now called the Summer Carillon Series.

The largest bell or “bourdon” of the carillon is the low B-flat, which measures 5 feet, eight inches in diameter and weighs 6,700 pounds. The carillon was later expanded with smaller treble bells to its current total of 50 bells, or four complete octaves. Its most recent updates include a new playing console or clavier plus new practice instrument and new benches designed by Rick Watson, then with the Verdin Co., in the mid-1990s. In 2001, 14 new treble bells from Ohio-based Meeks, Watson and Co. replaced earlier ones of poor sound quality. These projects were made possible through gifts from friends and members of the church, most notably from Kathryn and William Gossett.

The carillon is a set of at least 23 bells tuned to the notes of the chromatic scale. The bells of a carillon, unless doubling as swinging bells, are stationary. The Booth-Wallace carillon has no swinging bells and is in concert pitch. Only the carillon clapper moves when actuated by an intricate system of wires connected to a keyboard or clavier. The lower two octaves of the Christ Church Cranbrook carillon are also activated by pedals. The action of the clappers is affected by springs or counterweights but is purely manual.

Clapper size relates to the size of the bell and should meet the inside or mouth area of the bell at a perfect strike point for the best musical tone. Clappers can be replaced and/or turned to new strike points to reduce wear on the bell. The bells are tuned and perfected at the foundry. Because it is exposed to dirt and weather, the instrument benefits from regular maintenance, including cleaning and lubrication of moving parts and inspection for signs or corrosion or wear.

Christ Church Cranbrook enjoys one of the most spacious playing chambers in the carillon world. Under the bell chamber and at the top of 70 circular steps, it was carpeted and updated with built-in cabinets in the mid-1990s. The playing/office area has an air conditioner and plenty of room for tower tour guests to observe the carillonneur at the clavier or the practice instrument. The room also houses our unique Ellacombe, a set of eight ropes attached to their own hammers or clappers, which can ring out a C-to-C octave for simple tunes or change ringing.


Christ Church Cranbrook boasts the largest collection of bronze handbells in the state of Michigan and one of the largest collections in the nation. In addition to the handbells, the  handbell ensemble augment their sound with three octaves of Petit & Fritsen handbells and six octaves of Malmark choirchimes.

With nearly seven octaves of bells, the collection is impressive. The bells are cast by the two American bell foundries. The bottom sixth and seventh octaves (C2-B2) were cast by Schulmerich Carillons, Inc. The rest of the bells (C3-C9) were cast by Malmark, Inc. Each handbell bears an inscription on its handle. You can read the inscriptions by clicking here.



The unique tones of choirchimes have been compared to the soft flute tones of the pipe organ. Christ Church Cranbrook has six octaves of choirchimes. The Cranbrook Ringers use them regularly to enhance their musical selections with the beautifully mellow sound.


A gift from the Diocese of Michigan to Christ Church Cranbrook, these bells were originally owned by St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, Detroit . Little is known about these bells, originally cast in the Netherlands by the carillon foundry Petit & Fritsen. It is likely that the bells were a gift to St. Martha’s by Henry Ford and his family, long-time members of the church. These bells, with their unique minor-third overtones, are a welcomed addition to our handbell program.

Upcoming Music Events

2018-2019 Schedule

October 7, 2018, First Sundays at Six

Choral Evensong Featuring Women Composers


November  4, 2018, First Sundays at Six

Requiem Mass for All Souls


Sunday December 2, 2018, First Sundays at Six

Advent Lessons & Carols


Friday December 21, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Cranbrook Christmas Jazz Concert

Featuring Will Todd and The Rodney Whitaker Ensemble


Christmas at Christ Church Cranbrook

December 24 – 1:00PM Jazz Mass

December 24 – 4:00PM Family Eucharist

December 24 – 6:30PM Christmas Prelude

7:00PM Festival Eucharist

9:30PM Christmas Prelude

10:00PM Solemn Midnight Mass

December 25 – 10:00AM Christmas Day Service with Hymns


January 6, 2019, First Sundays at Six

Choral Evensong for Epiphany


Sunday January 20, 2019

10:00AM MLK Celebration and Jazz Mass with Rodney Whitaker and the MSU Jazz band


February 3, 2019, First Sundays at Six

Choral Evensong: Candlemas: The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple


Friday March 1, 2019

A Sacred Concert featuring Rodney Whitaker and the Christ Church Choir


March 3, 2019, First Sundays at Six

Choral Evensong: The Transfiguration

Tuesday March 5, 2019

Shrove Tuesday Dinner and Third Annual Lip-Synch Battle


April 7, 2019, First Sundays at Six

Choral Evensong for Lent


Holy Week and Lent at Christ Church Cranbrook

Wednesday April 17 – Tenebrae 7pm

Thursday April 18 – Maundy Thursday 7pm

Friday April 19

Noon – Good Friday Liturgy

7pm – Choral Stations of the Cross

Saturday April 20

7pm The Great Vigil of Easter

Sunday April 21

7AM Holy Eucharist in The Resurrection Chapel

9AM Holy Eucharist with Brass and Timpani

11:15AM Holy Eucharist with Brass and Timpani

5:30PM Brass and Organ Recital

6:00PM Easter Evensong


Sunday June 2, 2019

10AM Kirkin o’ the Tartan with The St. Andrew’s Scottish Pipers and Honour Guard


Sunday June 9, 2019

Pentecost Jazz Mass with The Rodney Whitaker Ensemble

Recordings and Videos

A Prayer, Jared Johnson

The Christ Church Choir

Christopher Wells, Director of Music and Organist

Ubi Caritas, Dennis Rivard

The Christ Church Choir

Christopher Wells, Director of Music and Organist

Behold How Good, Michael John Trotta

The Christ Church Choir

The Cranbrook Choristers

Christopher Wells, Director of Music and Organist

Ubi Caritas, Ola Gjeilo

The Christ Church Choir

Aaron Tan, Pianist

Christopher Wells, Director of Music

2017 Sacred Concert

A new tradition, Christ Church Cranbrook in collaboration with the Carr Center of Detroit host musicians and poets from the metro Detroit area for a concert of sacred Jazz. Please watch the video from the March 2018 presentation and plan to come to the Sacred Concert on December 21, 2018 for free and it’s open to the public.


Christ Church Cranbrook ‘Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert’ from Bloomfield Township on Vimeo.

CD Recordings for Purchase

A Cranbrook Sampler

Selected Favorite Anthems from the CCC Choir
John Repulski, Director of Music (2003-2014)
Larry Hammerling, organist

This recording was an endeavor to showcase some of the beautiful choral sounds heard during regular worship services throughout the year by the Christ Church Cranbrook Choir. The ensemble is a mix of professional and volunteer singers who come together each week to provide exceptional music for Sunday morning worship, special services, monthly Evensongs, choir concerts, and other events. Recorded in 2006.

Track Listing:
O be joyful in the Lord – John Rutter
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J. S. Bach
Saw ye my Savior? – Leo Nestor
Laudate Dominum – W. A. Mozart
Followers of the Lamb – Philip Dietterich
Thou shalt know him – Mark Sirett
The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23) – Howard Goodall
There is a season – Alfred Fedak
The Gift to be Simple – Bob Chilcott
Christ hath a garden – Gerald Near
There is a balm in Gilead – William L. Dawson
Antiphon from Five Mystical Songs – R. Vaughan Williams
A Gaelic Blessing – John Rutter
True Light – Keith Hampton

If you would like to purchase a CD, please send a note stating which recording you would like along with a check to:

Christ Church Cranbrook
Attn: Music Department
470 Church Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Checks should be made payable to Christ Church Cranbrook. All CD’s are $20.00 each, this also includes shipping and handling.

Anthems from Christ Church Cranbrook

My Spirit Sang All Day
Charles Raines, conductor
Leslie Wills, organist

“Anthems from Christ Church Cranbrook” presents music sung by the choir of 45 singers directed by Charles Raines, Director of Music (1980-2002). Recorded in 1999.

Track Listing:
This is the day the Lord hath made – Gerald Near
The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord – Richard Felciano
Know that the Lord is God – G. F. Handel
It is good to give thanks – Jane Marshall
Jubilate Deo – Malcolm Archer
For I went with the multitude – Peter Aston
Stayed on Jesus – Alice Parker
The Lord is my Light – Peter Hallock
The Lord is mindful – Emma Lou Diemer
Jesus, name of wondrous love – Robert J. Powell
Laudamus Te – René Clausen
A beautiful thing – Jane Marshall
Tantum ergo – Michael Sitton
Jesu, the very thought of thee – Richard Proulx
Let my prayer come up as the incense – Peter Hallock
Psalm 134 (Or, sus serviteurs du Seigneur) – Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Nunc dimittis – Geoffrey Burgon
Laudate pueri – Diego Ortiz
Evening Hymn – Henry Purcell
The God of love my shepherd is – Godfrey Sampson
A Prayer of St. Francis – Gerald Near
So much to sing about – Craig Phillips

If you would like to purchase a CD, please send a note stating which recording you would like along with a check to:

Christ Church Cranbrook
Attn: Music Department
470 Church Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Checks should be made payable to Christ Church Cranbrook. All CD’s are $20.00 each, this also includes shipping and handling.