Music at Bethesda

Bethesda Choir

The Bethesda Choir is an auditioned choir, under the leadership of Dr. Stuart Forster, Associate for Music and Liturgy. Our choir is well known and respected in the community for its fine singing and musicianship. While the choir offers music from all time periods and nationalities, much of its repertoire is derived from music written for the Anglican/Episcopal tradition; composers such as Britten, Byrd, Howells, Stanford, and Vaughan Williams are well represented during a choir season.

Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings from September through May. The choir sings on Sunday mornings at the 11:00 a.m. service, as well as at services on many Feast Days and Holy Days. From October through May, the choir provides leadership in our First-Sunday-of-the-month Evensong. There are generally several services during the year at which the choir sings music of a larger scale—sometimes with orchestral accompaniment. The Bethesda Choir is the centerpiece of our annual Christmas Concert Sing and also plays a major role in our Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.

Click here if you are interested in auditioning for the Bethesda Choir.

Boar’s Head

Hundreds pack Bethesda-by-the-Sea for the annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival, performed here since 1977. The traditional English boar’s head festival dates back to the 1300s in Queen’s College, Oxford. Wild boars menaced villagers in Norman England, and the serving of the boar symbolized the triumph of good over evil. In the beautiful gothic church, we relive the pageantry and drama of 14th century England.

More than 160 cast members of all ages, including parishioners, vocalists, the Bethesda Choir, Palm Beach Pipes and Drums, and instrumentalists, dress as lords and ladies, sprites, pages, jesters, shepherds, huntsmen, and beefeaters in a mingling of secular and Christian traditions. You will hear favorite Christmas Carols, enjoy fantastic costumes and performances, and feel the majesty of the arrival of the Baby Jesus. Join us for a wonderful celebration and a fitting close to a joyous holiday season.

The festival takes place on the Sunday closest to The Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, which is the date we commemorate the Three Kings’ arrival in Bethlehem. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’re not familiar with the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival here is a preview which we hope you’ll enjoy.

Concerts & Evensongs

Our concerts and choral services throughout the year include our continuing series of First-Sunday Evensongs, each preceded by a half-hour recital. A Service of Advent Lessons and Carols, the annual Christmas Concert and Community Carol Sing, and A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols are some of Bethesda’s most popular concerts.

Upcoming Concerts and Choral Services

Sundays, June 6–September 12, 2021 Summer Choir sings at the 10:00 a.m. service
Sunday, September 19, 2021 Bethesda Choir begins singing weekly at the 11:00 a.m. service as the program year begins
Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong
Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Requiem for All Saints’ Sunday [with orchestra]
Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Advent Lessons & Carols
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. Christmas concert [with orchestra]
Friday, December 24, 2021 at 6:30 & 10:30 p.m. Festal Eucharist for Christmas Eve [with brass & percussion]
Saturday, December 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Festal Eucharist for Christmas Day
Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Christmas Lessons & Carols; no Evensong today
Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. Boar’s Head Festival [with orchestra]
Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 2:00 & 4:30 p.m. Boar’s Head Festival [with orchestra]
Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong
Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Ash Wednesday
Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong
Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong
Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Palm Sunday
Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Maundy Thursday liturgy
Friday, April 15, 2022 at 12:00 noon Good Friday liturgy
Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. The Great Vigil of Easter
Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 9:00 & 11:00 a.m. Festal Eucharist for Easter Day [with brass & percussion]
Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong
Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Bishop Eaton Visitation
[Bethesda Choir sings at the 10:00 a.m. service from now through the end of the choir season]
Sunday, May 29, 2022 Last choir Sunday before Summer Choir

Contribute to our Music Ministry

We welcome your tax-deductible contribution toward the expenses of our series.

You may click here to donate online or send your contribution to:
Music at Bethesda
141 South County Road
Palm Beach, FL 33480

As a contributor, your name will be listed in all printed programs for our concerts (not, of course, for the services). We look forward to greeting you at many of our future events!

141 South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida 33480 | (561) 655-4554

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