Music

M usic is an amazing gift from God and at St. Paul’s, we work to give a portion of that gift back to God.

Worship, concerts and a strong choral tradition are ways in which we strive to “know God and to make Him known.” The music department at St. Paul’s is a warm and inviting group of dedicated musicians.  We not only lead the congregation in worship, but we seek to reach those outside our walls through our inspiring choral anthems and voluntaries on Sunday mornings, choral evensong, Taizé prayer services and our Music at St. Paul’s Concert Series.

Under the direction of Ronnie Wise and accompanied by Richard Rhoads on organ, the St. Paul’s choir sang at a week-long residency in August 2017 at Chichester Cathedral in Chichester, England. Barry Rose served as guest conductor.

The choir will return to England in July  2023 for a week-long residency at Wells Cathedral.

To learn more about our choral program, go here.

Taizé

This ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service is designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song, and silence. With St. Paul’s Taizé quartet and organ. Services September–May.

Evensong

A sung service of evening prayer, psalms, canticles, and scripture readings, evensong is an ancient part of the Anglican tradition, ever renewing the soul. Services September–May.

Ronnie D. Wise, organist and director of music, joined the staff of St. Paul’s in September 2013. He conducts five choirs, including the Wilmington Boys Choir, which he re-organized in 2014.  He is the founder of St. Paul’s Choir School, an afternoon choral program for treble choristers.  He studied organ with Brian Bailey, Florence Jowers and Marilyn Keiser.  Ronnie is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Conductors Guild, the Liturgy and Music Commission for the Diocese of East Carolina, and a board member of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra. He has played organ recitals in France and the U.K.  He studied at Appalachian State University, Westminster Choir College and the Juilliard School.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Weisser (Dr. Bill), Assistant Organist, retired in 2011 as Minister of Music at Edenton St. United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC where he had been responsible for seven singing choirs, three handbell choirs, three dance ensembles and instrumental ensembles with over 460 participants for over 35+ years. He was the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Capital Area Chorale, a mixed voice community choir for 11 years. He lives in Wilmington.

Dr. Weisser was an adjunct assistant professor on the faculty of North Carolina State University where he directed the University Singers for 5 years. Since retirement he served as interim director of music at Centenary UMC in New Bern, 2011–2012.; interim music minister atFirst UMC in Rocky Mount 2012–13; interim director of music
 and organist at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Raleigh; organist at Hayes Barton UMC in Raleigh;  and interim
minister of music at St. Paul UMC in Goldsboro.

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Dr. Weisser is a graduate of Westminster Choir College where he studied Organ with Theodore C. Herzel, Dr. George Markey and Dr. Donald McDonald; Conducting with Robert Simpson, Robert Carwithen and Arthur Sjogren; and Voice with Robert Pate, Ramon Kyser and Arthur Sjogren. At Westminster he was a member of the world-famous Westminster Choir which toured Puerto Rico. He has done graduate work in Sacred Music at Indiana University under Dr. Oswald Ragatz.
Dr. Weisser received a Doctor of Humanities degree from Methodist College in May, 1997. He was also ordained a Deacon in Full Connection in the United Methodist Church in June, 1997.

He has served as Dean of the Joliet, Ill. and Central North Carolina Chapters of the American Guild of Organists. He is a member of the Choristers Guild having served as President of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter; The American Guild of English Handbell Ringers;  The National Association of Teachers of Singing;  The American Choral Directors Association;  and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts of which he served as National
President, and many other Conference, Jurisdictional and General Church agencies serving as the Chairperson for the North Carolina Conference Worship Commission before retirement.

Dr. Weisser has performed with the Chicago Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony. He has performed many organ recitals in the Southeast and is in demand as an accompanist for oratorios as well as a Choral Conductor. He has also served on the faculty of Louisburg College and was Interim Conductor of the Raleigh Oratorio Society. He was the founding Director of the Childrens Choir of Duke Chapel. He has published with Abingdon Press.

Dr. Weisser was invited to give a pre-concert lecture on the life of Felix Mendelssohn and his Elijah for the North Carolina Symphony. In August, 1986, the Edenton St. UM Church Chancel Choir sang the publisher’s premiere of John Rutter’s “Requiem,” with the composer conducting. In May, 1989, his Chancel Choir was invited to sing at a Memorial Day Concert at Carnegie Hall performing Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Manhattan Philharmonic conducted by George Albrecht of Hamburg, Germany. In 1993, his Chancel Choir was invited by the Russian Government to sing on a special state sponsored-concert series in Moscow. The Chancel Choir was invited to sing at the International music festival, Piccolo Spoleto, USA in Charleston, SC, during May 2001, 2002 and again in 2006. For Memorial Day 2008 the Chancel Choir sang Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, under the direction of Andre Thomas.  In 2011 the Chancel Choir sang the “Requiem” by Maurice Durufle at the historic Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah, GA.  He was selected to appear in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Who’s Who in Religion, and named International Man of the Year for 1992/1993 and 1996 by the International Biographical Center in Cambridge, England. In 2001 he released a CD of 20th century organ works titled “Music for A Sunday  Afternoon” available on Itunes, CDBaby.com and Amazon.com.

St. Paul’s Organ

Our main pipe organ is a 1995 Goulding & Wood 38-rank, 30-stop instrument with the pipes located on either side of the altar. The console is in the right side of the chancel. The estate of Hazel Savage provided us with a new 9-rank G & Wantiphonal gallery organ that was installed in 1999. This organ has festival trumpets and other ranks that complement the main organ. It can be played on a keyboard in the gallery or from the console of the main organ. The large open space of our church provides superb acoustics for these magnificent instruments.

Click here for the pipe organ specifications.