“Musica est Dei donum optimi”

This phrase from an ancient Latin poem could be interpreted in two ways: “Music is, from God, the greatest gift”, or “Music is, for God, the greatest gift”.

At the Old Sloop, we regard the gift of music from both perspectives:  we are the receivers and the givers.

Blessed with a glorious, historic building that resonates with more than two centuries of music that has accompanied the lives of all those who have lived and listened and worked and worshipped here, we honor the blessing and the responsibility, and invite all to join in the continuing musical voyage of the Old Sloop.

Music is the gift of the supreme God, draws men, draws gods;
music makes savage souls gentle and uplifts sad minds;
music moves the trees themselves and wild beasts, affording solace to all.
– Translation by Edward Tambling

Chancel Choir

The Chancel Choir, under the leadership of Music Director Phil Swanson, has been an integral part of the history of this church.

The choir is open to all, regardless of previous experience or training. We rehearse one evening each week, and we sing at weekly services from September through June, greatly enhancing the worship service. Our repertoire ranges from the European classics such as Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn to early American hymn tunes to contemporary sacred literature. Solos and small ensembles from within the choir appear regularly. The singers are often joined by instrumental soloists and chamber groups, especially at times like Easter and Christmas. For these occasions we have a Festival Choir, where people who cannot always sing at the weekly services are welcomed to join in.

If you are interested in joining the chancel choir, please contact the music director.

Youth Choir (or the 12 School Street Singers)

The Youth Choir, under the direction of Assistant Music Director Kristina Martin, is also an important tradition of the Old Sloop.

We typically meet for a weekly 1-hour rehearsal, learning fundamental vocal, music, and performance skills in preparation for regular participation in worship services and other events.

Our repertoire includes a broad spectrum of styles from early 12th century canons to traditional hymns and anthems, spirituals, folk songs, and contemporary compositions – sometimes even our own!

If your child is interested in joining the youth choir, please contact the assistant music director.

The youth choir has also gone virtual during the pandemic. We love this new way of making music for Sunday Services.

We take great joy in collaborating with other local churches. Cape Ann Arts Alive, a 1-week summer arts camp, is born of this collaboration.

We welcome all school-age children and youth and provide mentoring opportunities for advanced students. The multiage aspect of the choir inspires a mutual appreciation amongst older and younger students, bringing a unique strength and charm to the ensemble. Always appreciated by their audiences for their exuberant voices, their generous spirit and their burgeoning musicianship, the young singers feel a purposeful role in the church and community.

Gifted Congregants

Our congregation is blessed to include a number of skilled musicians who often participate in worship services. Many were introduced to music through the youth choir and aided in their musical growth by the church’s music program.

Portum In Ultimo; Gillian, Quenton, and Rhiannon Hurst

Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara (Children of the Heavenly Father); Alison Trott, handchimes and Phil Swanson, piano


The music program hosts a concert series, bringing great music to members of the community and beyond. Past concerts have included the Handel and Haydn Society Chamber Chorus and Orchestra performing Handel’s The Messiah, the famed Trinity College Choir from England, The New England Brass Band, Village Harmony, the Back Bay Ringers handbell ensemble from Boston, the Northshore Men’s Chorus and many of the region’s finest soloists and chamber ensembles.


The Old Sloop welcomes local ensembles for both rehearsal and performance, including the Rockport Public Schools, the Rockport Legion Band, the Rockport Christmas Pageant, Jazz on the Lawn, and our neighbor Rockport Music.

Old Sloop Presents

The church is the home of Old Sloop Presents which has been presenting monthly concerts of folk and acoustic music in Fellowship Hall since 2009. Tickets are affordable, and we sell delicious desserts homemade by parishioners along with coffee and tea. A fine sound system and stage lighting make for a real concert experience. We have presented some of the best names in the business, including Red Molly, John McCutcheon, and Lori McKenna.


The church is blessed to have many fine instruments including an Andover tracker organ (1974), 2 grand pianos, and a 3-octave set of hand chimes.