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Make a joyful noise to the Lord! (Psalm 100)

The call to worship is the driving force behind our music ministry at Christ Church Cranbrook. Our choir and guest instrumentalists serve to inspire the congregation to worship God in song and to enhance our experience of God’s presence in the beauty of our majestic sanctuary.

The Music Department is charting a path forward to continue a robust ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pleased to announce that all ensembles will be up and operating this year, each with a unique schedule. Some activities will be in-person and some at-home, some with live music-making and some recorded. While the descriptions below refer to our usual operations, if you are interested in joining or learning more about any of these ensembles, please contact the leaders listed within each heading.


Rehearsals: Wednesdays @ 7:30 – 9:30 PM | Guild Hall

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 of high school age and older who can read music and have previous choral experience are best suited for this ensemble.

Contact Christopher Wells for more information.

The CCC Parish Choir welcomes all singers, grades 4 through adult, to join the Christ Church Choir several times a year to sing for rehearsal and for the Sunday morning 10 a.m. service. The Parish Choir rehearses on a Wednesday evening 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. and sings the following Sunday, with an 8:45 a.m. rehearsal. 

The Parish Choir will sing for the Sunday, November 8, 9 a.m. online service with at-home, virtual recordings.

Contact Christopher Wells for more information.

Rehearsals: Sundays @ 11:30 AM – Noon | Choir Room

The St. Francis Choir is for all boys and girls from kindergarten through second grade who want to sing; consideration will be given to four-year olds with parent participation. This is a musical enrichment experience in which children learn basic singing and rhythmic skills through varied activities and Bible-based songs. Developing children’s treble singing voices is a major focus of this choir. The St. Francis Choir sings for the 10 AM service several times during the church year. Additionally, the children participate in musical outreach in the local community.

Contact Kate Bublitz for more information.

This fall Cranbrook Choristers will work on vocal training, keyboard and musicianship skills mostly through online instruction.

Rehearsals: Mondays & Tuesdays @ 5 – 6:30 PM | Choir Room

Cranbrook Choristers is an ensemble for children in grades 3-8 in which singers receive individual and group musical instruction in vocal production, sight reading, pitch, rhythm, music theory and expression. Choristers follow a training scheme adapted from the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) for Christ Church Cranbrook in which singers progress through three levels of choral and musicianship training. A system of rewards and encouragement enhances their progress through the levels, denoted by different colored ribbons and leadership within the ensemble. Choristers can learn both in and outside of rehearsal by following a training book that accompanies their progress throughout the program.

Cranbrook Choristers sing two or three times each month, usually at the 10 a.m. service.

It is not necessary to be a member of Christ Church or any other religious group to participate in Cranbrook Choristers. There is no fee for enrollment in Cranbrook Choristers; Choristers receive a small stipend for their commitment to the ensemble. Other activities include musical outreach, choir tours, weeklong summer day camp, and CD recordings. 

Contact Christopher Wells for more information.

Rehearsals: Wednesdays @ 7 – 8:30 PM | Rooms 201/202

Cranbrook Ringers is a handbell ensemble that rehearses Wednesdays 7-8 p.m. and rings once a month at the 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. weekend liturgies. Anyone with basic music reading skills is welcome to join and learn to play. Handbells offer a great opportunity for those musically inclined but not desiring to sing in an ensemble. This group also provides outreach to other communities outside of church. Periodically, a Handbells Basics workshop is held for those interested in learning more about making beautiful sounds with bells and chimes.

Cranbrook Ringers are rehearsing weekly and are performing at outdoor services once a month this fall. 

Contact Donna Hughes for more information.

The CCC Philharmonic is an amateur group of instrumentalists from within the parish that plays occasionally throughout the year, accompanying hymn singing at the 10 am service. They generally rehearse on a Sunday after church and play the following week.

The CCC Philharmonic will play for the Sunday, November 8, 9 a.m. online service with at-home, virtual recordings.

Contact Christopher Wells for more information.


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)

We are pleased to announce that a new pipe organ for St. Dunstan’s Chapel has been commissioned by Casavant Frères Organbuilders in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The new instrument will be installed in Spring, 2020. A dedication service of Evensong for St. Dunstan’s Day will be held Sunday, May 17 at 5 p.m.

The new instrument for St. Dunstan’s Chapel will be 11 ranks (a set of pipes of a given color and pitch level) and playable from a two keyboard, mechanical action (non–electric) console. The historic carved oak case from the original pipe organ will be retained, and the former faux pipes will be new functional pipes from the Open Diapason, which is what creates a full, majestic tone.

St. Dunstan’s Chapel is one of four worship spaces in Christ Church Cranbrook located downstairs. It is dedicated to the patron saint of craftspeople and artisans, whose careful handiwork is evident throughout the construction of the church as part of the arts and crafts movement of the 1920s.

As the chapel only seats 50 people, the instrument will be relatively small, only 624 pipes compared to the 5,433 pipes of the organ in our main Sanctuary. Nevertheless, each pipe will be carefully crafted and voiced, one by one, for the intimate setting in the chapel.

According to correspondence in Cranbrook Archives, the original instrument for the chapel was installed in 1928, but demonstrated mechanical trouble as early as 1935, resulting in a rebuilding project. Subsequent rebuilding attempts were made again in the 1950s and 1990s. This most recent rebuild was deemed unsatisfactory, and the instrument has been silent for the last decade.

The new instrument will support the strong congregational singing of the Sunday 8 a.m. service, along with smaller weddings and funerals held in the chapel. It will be featured in recitals and promises to serve as an important practice and teaching instrument for the parish and the larger community.

Casavant Opus 3937

Manual I

  • 8’ Diapason
  • 8’ Stopped Diapason
  • 4’ Octave
  • 2 2/3’ Twelfth
  • 2’ Fifteenth
  • 1 3/5’ Seventeenth
  • 1 1/3’ Nineteenth

Manual II

  • 8’ Stopped Diapason
  • 8’ Flute Celeste
  • 4’ Chimney Flute
  • 8’ Oboe


  • 16’ Bourdon
  • 8’ Bourdon

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 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.

The nearly seven octaves of bells were 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.


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.

Petit & Fritsen Bells

A gift from the Diocese of Michigan to Christ Church Cranbrook, these bells were originally owned by St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, Detroit. Originally cast in the Netherlands by the carillon foundry Petit & Fritsen, little more is known about these bells. 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.

Recordings & Videos



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CD Recordings for Purchase

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.

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.