A history of Ascension’s early years noted that "music which accompanied worship at the Church of the Ascension was widely known for its beauty and general excellence" – a commitment that continues to draw worshipers and for which the parish continues to be widely known today.
The all-professional Ascension Choir, led by Choirmaster Benjamin Rivera, sings at the Solemn High Mass on Sundays from Michaelmas (September 29) to Corpus Christi (May or June) and for Holy Day masses throughout the year.
Organist David White accompanies the Ascension Choir, serves as Organist and Cantor for all sung masses, offers monthly recitals in conjunction with Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and serves as organist for funerals, weddings and on other occasions.
Our parish musicians have numerous additional professional commitments beyond Ascension and are highly familiar with the professional music culture and opportunities in Chicago, the Episcopal Church and beyond. They are available to field inquiries about singing in the choir, our repertoire, organ lessons or any other aspect of music ministry at Ascension and in the Episcopal Church.
The Ascension Choir staff singers for the 2023-24 season include: Enrico Bellomo, Matthew Brennan, Damon Cole, Carolyne DalMonte, Miya Higashiyama, Amy Johnson, James Judd, Alexandra Olsavsky, Ian Prichard, Alexia Rivera, Aaron Short, and Cassidy Smith. Auxiliary singers include: Stephanie Schoenhofer, Tiana Sorenson, Lydia Walsh-Rock, Peter Wesoloski, and Steven Wilson.
The Schrader Organ, with 70 ranks over three manuals and pedal, was created and installed by the Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo, New York, in 1964; a new console was installed and some tonal alterations performed by the Berghaus Organ Company of Bellwood, Illinois, in 1984 and 2001—after which the instrument was named in honor of then-longtime organist Dr. David Schrader. The organ was in top shape for the 2006 American Guild of Organists National Convention, when the Church of the Ascension was the venue for performances by Russian organist Alexander Fiseisky and performance seminars by German organist Stefan Engels.
The most recent significant instrument project, also performed by Berghaus, spanned nine months in 2018-2019. It included replacement of all slider motors and the cleaning and refitting of all sliders (regulating air flow), restoration and tonal refinishing on eight ranks of reed pipes, and replacement of the console’s electronic infrastructure. Our 2019 Michaelmas Celebration included a recital by David Schrader and his titling as Organist Emeritus during a Choral Evensong at which the organ was rededicated by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago.
An article, photographs, and specifications are available here [PDF]. This material is an excerpt from Dennis Northway's excellent Pipe Organs of Chicago. The Schrader organ continues to be maintained by Berghaus Organ Company.
"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
Church of the Ascension
1133 N La Salle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610-2601
Sunday Worship Schedule
7:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer, via Zoom
9:00 a.m.-In-person Sung Mass (with organ voluntaries and hymns )
11:00 a.m. - Solemn High Mass (In-person and streamed on Facebook and YouTube)
Our free parking lot is located on the northeast corner of La Salle Boulevard and Maple Street.