Serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song. — Psalm 100:2
Sacred music is one of the primary means by which we worship, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Church of the Incarnation is blessed to be able to offer sacred music in a variety of styles. In our Traditional services, we offer the best of the Anglican choral tradition, with music led by the organ and the Incarnation Choir. At our Uptown Contemporary services, you’ll find a more modern approach, one that incorporates guitars, piano, bass, drums, loops, and various stringed instruments.
Music in the Church
Music brings a new dimension to Christian worship, and the Scriptures offer many examples of the use of music to love and worship our Lord. Sacred music, in particular, has a unique ability to thin the veil between Earth and Heaven. By offering musical liturgies, it is our goal to give our best to God and to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 96:9)
The Incarnation Choir sings for the 9 am and 11:15 am traditional services each Sunday, as well as 5 pm Choral Evensong during the academic year (September through May).
The Incarnation Choir, comprised of 10 professional singers and 30 volunteers, maintains a vigorous singing schedule, including more than 125 choral services per year, as well as concerts and special events.
The choir’s repertoire spans nearly 1000 years, ranging from Gregorian chant to 21st-century music. Their discography includes seven compact discs, the latest of which is a recording of Lessons & Carols as broadcast on Public Radio International. During the parish’s centennial year, the choir commissioned and premiered compositions by Joel Martinson, Hans-Dieter Karras and Francis Jackson.
The Incarnation Choir has toured extensively in the United Kingdom including residencies at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Westminster Abbey. In the summer of 2014, they made their first tour to Washington D.C. and New York which included a week-long residency at Washington National Cathedral and services at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Those interested in auditioning for the choir are encouraged to contact Scott Dettra. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9:30 pm. Volunteer members are asked to sing two services each Sunday on a rotating schedule. Singing in the choir is a great ministry opportunity and a fun way to use your musical gifts and talents.
Choral Evensong is offered Sundays at 5 pm throughout the academic year. Visitors and newcomers to the parish find Evensong to be an accessible way in which to experience the full beauty of the Anglican tradition. The candlelit service consists largely of music, both ancient and modern, sung by the Incarnation Choir.
The office of Evensong was codified by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549, but is based on services that have been prayed by Christians for well over a thousand years. The service is one of serenity and calm in which we seek to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
Evensong lasts only 45 minutes and is followed by a spoken Eucharist for those who wish to stay.
Our history of Lessons & Carols began in 1959. It has become a tradition within our parish to offer this service to our community every December featuring not only conventional readers such as choristers and our bishops but also community leaders from the arts, philanthropy, education, commerce, government and other religious organizations.
The Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 at King’s College, Cambridge, UK. Almost immediately other churches adapted the service for their own use. Wherever the service is heard and however it is adapted, whether the music is provided by choir or congregation, the pattern and strength of the service derive from the lessons and not the music. “The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God …” seen “through the windows and the words of the Bible”.
The use of the organ in Christian worship has a history stretching back to the 1400s. The breadth of music required in today’s worship demands an instrument capable of both subtlety and strength. The Incarnation Organ, built by the Noack Organ Company in 1994, admirably fulfills these roles. Its 58 stops are distributed among four keyboards and a pedal clavier. Of the 4,105 individual pipes, 2,218 come from Incarnation’s first organ, a 1960 Aeolian-Skinner. The instrument has an electric playing action, with the console located in the loft opposite the organ case.
The sound of the Incarnation organ was designed to support robust congregational and choral singing, finding parallels to classical organ design as well as certain details of 19th-century English cathedral organs. The result is an instrument that balances warmth and color with brilliance and excitement.
In 2015, responding to two decades of experience with the organ’s musical performance, Noack returned to undertake a thorough renovation. Portions of the mechanism were re-engineered to improve sound egress and dynamic range, and seven new stops replaced earlier, less satisfactory ones. In the process, the organ was cleaned, and every pipe adjusted and tuned. Richard Houghten of Milan, Michigan supplied the console with new keyboards, a rebuilt pedalboard, and a new complement of playing aids based on the guidelines of the American Guild of Organists.
Scott Dettra, Precentor and Director of Music
Hailed as a “brilliant organist” (Dallas Morning News) and an “outstanding musician” (The Diapason), Scott Dettra is acclaimed as one of America’s leading concert organists. Mr. Dettra’s playing is praised for its clarity, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance, and has been described by The American Organist as “music making of absolute authority and sophisticated expression.” He combines an active performance schedule with his post as Director of Music and Organist at the Church of the Incarnation. He is also organist for The Crossing, a professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia. Prior to his appointment in Dallas, he was for five years Organist of Washington National Cathedral.
Recent and upcoming performances include appearances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Houston, San Diego, Phoenix, Kansas City, Barbados, Canada, and Germany. Festival appearances include the Lincoln Center Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Arizona Bach Festival, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. He has been a featured performer at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator for master classes, workshops, and competitions.
Mr. Dettra is featured on many compact disc recordings, including Majestus (Loft), recorded at Washington National Cathedral, and Tongues of Fire (Pro Organo), recorded on the 325-rank instrument at West Point’s Cadet Chapel. In addition to commercial recordings, his performances have been broadcast numerous times on such radio programs as American Public Media’s Pipedreams and Performance Today, the BBC’s Choral Evensong, and The New York Philharmonic This Week.
An accomplished choral conductor, Mr. Dettra’s choirs have been featured on national radio broadcasts in the United States and the United Kingdom, and at conventions of the American Guild of Organists. He has prepared choirs for performances with such ensembles as the National Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and has also led and taught at several courses for the Royal School of Church Music.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Dettra began piano study at age three and organ study at age eight as a student of his father, Lee Dettra, holding his first church organist position at the age of nine. Mr. Dettra holds two degrees from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, where he was a student of Joan Lippincott, and has also studied organ and jazz piano at Manhattan School of Music.
In addition to Washington National Cathedral, he has previously held positions as Associate Music Director of the Washington Bach Consort, Associate Conductor of Washington’s Cathedral Choral Society, Accompanist of the American Boychoir, and church positions at St. Paul’s, K Street in Washington; St. Mark’s, Locust Street in Philadelphia; and Trinity Church, Princeton.
Scott Dettra has been acclaimed as one of the leading American concert organists of his generation. He combines an active performance schedule with his post as Director of Music and Organist at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, where he leads a vibrant music program in the country’s fifth largest Episcopal parish. Prior to his appointment in Dallas, he was for five years Organist and Associate Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral, where he served as principal organist and assisted with the direction of the Cathedral choirs. Mr. Dettra’s playing is known for its poetry, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance.
He has performed at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (2002, 2010, 2014), the Association of Anglican Musicians (1996, 2005, 2012), and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Festival appearances include the Lincoln Center Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Arizona Bach Festival, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. In addition to his concert appearances, his performances have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams and Performance Today, the BBC’s Choral Evensong, and The New York Philharmonic This Week.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Dettra holds two degrees from Westminster Choir College, where he was a student of Joan Lippincott, and has also studied jazz piano at Manhattan School of Music.
Graham Schultz, Associate Director of Music
A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Graham Schultz currently serves as Assistant Organist at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. While in Cleveland, he was Organist and Choirmaster of St. James Church where he oversaw a music program steeped in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Prior to studying in Cleveland, Mr. Schultz attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan where, upon graduation, he was awarded the Fine Arts Award in Organ Performance. From 2010 to 2013 Mr. Schultz was the Lloyd Cast Organ Fellow at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York where he served as the principal organist and assisted in overseeing the nation’s oldest continuously-performing Choir of Men and Boys. He has served as an accompanist for multiple choral residencies in Britain including at the Cathedrals of Durham, Gloucester, Hereford, Rochester, and St. Patrick’s, Dublin. Most recently he accompanied the Incarnation Choir on their 2014 tour to Washington National Cathedral, St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In 2015, Mr. Schultz was awarded the Associateship Certificate by the American Guild of Organists. His teachers have included Thomas Bara, Charles Rigsby, and Todd Wilson. Mr. Schultz currently serves as a Regional Councilor for the Association of Anglican Musicians.
Josh Boyd, Organ Scholar
“He launched into the program with energy and confidence… masterfully played… Boyd’s fine performance proved that he deserved a hearing…” – The Diapason
Joshua Boyd began studying piano at the age of nine in the small town of Mars Hill, North Carolina. When his family moved to South Carolina he studied piano and organ with Fran Pinson. In 2009 he was accepted into the piano department of Dr. Stephen Taylor at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. He was graduated from the University of Michigan in 2015 with a degree in organ performance where he frequently performed with the University’s Symphony Orchestra, University Philharmonia Orchestra, and University Choirs. His private instructors have been Dr. Marilyn Mason, Dr. Timothy Tikker, Dr. Karl Schrock, and Dr. James Kibbie. He has performed in many venues across the United States including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of their Conservatory Project concert series and The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Joshua has been featured on the radio broadcast PIPEDREAMS produced by American Public Media in a recital given at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI. In 2017 he was the organist for the first performance of Handel’s Messiah given by the Early Music Festival of Detroit. Recently, Joshua was chosen to participate in the first Longwood Gardens Organ Academy for a week of masterclasses and private coaching with the world’s foremost authorities in transcriptions and orchestral playing. Currently, he is the organ scholar at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, TX and a Master’s Degree student at Southern Methodist University in the studio of Stefan Engels.
As a component of one of Dallas’ most highly regarded church music programs, the Incarnation Choir School provides professional musical training to children ages 7 and above, at no financial cost to parents.
- Professional training in music, with an equal emphasis on voice training and music-reading skills
- Development of leadership and intellectual skills
- Significant individual attention in a challenging yet fun environment
- Spiritual formation through the singing of sacred music of the Anglican choral tradition
- A small stipend will be paid to each chorister, underscoring the seriousness of the commitment to the choir
This program will be open to children age 7 and above (as of September 1). Boys will remain in the program through the voice change (usually around 7th or 8th grade), and girls may participate through their high school years. No prior training or experience is required, only an eagerness to learn. Age-appropriate reading proficiency and the ability to match pitch are required. There are no expenses or tuition fees, unlike many comparable programs; the strong commitment parents and children make is all that is required. The program will be open to all children, regardless of religious affiliation.
The specific schedule will be set after dialogue with interested parents. Choristers will be asked to attend one or two weekday rehearsals (60-90 minutes) each week and will sing at the 9 am traditional service on Sundays.
Interested families should contact Scott Dettra, Director of Music & Organist.
The Incarnation bell tower houses twenty-five bells. The oldest bell was cast in 1887 by the Meneely Bell Foundry of Troy, New York for the then Cathedral Chapel of the Incarnation. The inscription on the original bell bears witness to the rural location of the first church, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” In 1963, a twenty-four bell carillon was installed by the Van Bergen Company on the current Incarnation campus. All of the bells are playable both automatically and from the organ console. In 2014, the bells were fully refurbished by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Uptown Contemporary Service
Music in Ascension Chapel
In Uptown you’ll find guitars, piano, drums, upright bass, strings, banjo, and more, all rollicking tunes to God. On any given Sunday you may hear a 15th century hymn and a song on the radio played within minutes of one another.
Music that connects us to a historical faith while fostering hope for the here and now. That’s the Uptown Worship Band. Catch them at the 9 am, 11:15 am, and 5 pm contemporary services each week.
The Uptown Worship Band leads a Christ-centered, rich worship experience connected to a historical faith that fosters hope, brings glory to God as one body through playing instruments and singing, and encourages us to live our lives according to The Gospel. The songs we sing are for the glory of God and not entertainment. They are theologically sound and lead us to a true place of worship where the triune God is praised.
Justin Brooks is a worship music leader and songwriter based in Dallas, Texas where he serves as Director of Music Uptown at Church of the Incarnation. Born and raised in Beaumont, near the coast of Southeast Texas, the long line of musicians and church music directors in his family (his father being one of them) influenced him from an early age. Trained as a concert percussionist from age 11, his love for playing drums eventually led to his fascination with learning different instruments, eventually becoming accomplished on guitar, piano, and various other instruments. It was in high school that Justin began leading his youth group in worship every Wednesday and Sunday.
Justin eventually relocated to his second home of Dallas where he studied and received a Bachelor’s Degree in music business from Dallas Baptist University. During his time there, he performed throughout Europe and the Baltic States. He also led worship music at a campus-wide bible study with his band, Souldancefree, allowing him to travel the country and abroad, leading music and performing in various venues and events, such as student summer camps, national student conferences, and Metro Bible Study – Houston. In 2005, he joined The Epic Press (formerly Rhythm) as their lead guitarist for the EMG/Warner label. Justin traveled the United States and shared the stage with national acts such as Newsboys and Chris August.
One of Justin’s passions is writing original music and songs in which the Uptown Worship Band uses to lead the congregation in worship. In addition to other recordings, Justin and the Uptown Worship Band released Thirst in 2008. This collaboration of original worship songs has a central message that all of the love, kindness, and gifts that God gives us, should in turn make us have a deep desire to long for Him, and that He would quench the “dry and weary land” of our hearts. In 2012, Uptown Worship Band released a collection of modern settings of hymns, Psalms, and ancient prayers titled Hymns And Psalms. They followed that up with an EP of canticles in 2014, Songs From Earth, Our Island Home.
Justin lives in Dallas with his wife, Tiffany and two children, Taylor and Grayson.