Music and Arts Ministry

Make plans to join Damascus UMC in praising your Maker, exploring and deepening your faith in worship and art, and claiming your God-given gifts. So many opportunities are available to us as we praise God!

Ensembles rehearse during the school year and share in worship and in special events as indicated. Please contact Polly Baldridge, Minister of Music and Worship, for additional information!

Worship Arts Ensembles

Children: Cherubs | Choristers | Inspiration Ringers | Colorful Hands of Jesus (Puppets)

Youth: Charles Wesley Singers | Youth Handbells | Youth Puppets | Youth Praise Band

Adults: Chancel Choir | Men's Choir | Women's Ensemble and Vocal Instruction

For All: Oratorio Choir/Concert Choir | Drama Productions

For Children:

Cherubs (Age 4 1/2 to 1st grade)

Cherubs choir singing in worship

Cherubs meet weekly on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5 pm during the school year to experience music, singing, movement, and games that foster musical and spiritual growth. The Cherubs share in worship several times during the year. We are delighted that Celia Hembrough is directing the ensemble this year, assisted by Lydia Turner-Little. These two youth are gifted musicians who have grown up singing in the choirs at Damascus UMC.

Choristers (2nd to 5th grades)

Choristers musical 2013

The Choristers is a treble choir for girls and boys that focuses on sacred music, music skill building, vocal technique, worship tradition, and faith building. The ensemble, directed by Polly Baldridge, leads in worship several times during the year including the annual Palm Sunday procession. They also share musicals during the year, giving members an opportunity to experience a fully staged children's drama production. Participation is open to all, and children may participate by semester or by special event. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 5 to 6 pm in the Music Room. Ms. Mary Nieter and Diane Fry assist with rehearsals.

Inspiration Ringers (2nd to 5th grades)

Inspiration Ringers members

The Inspiration Ringers is a training handbell ensemble for beginning ringers. Directed by Polly Baldridge, the ensemble meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm on the Great Hall stage and shares several times a year in worship and for the annual handbell concert at DUMC. New members are always welcome!!!!

Colorful Hands of Jesus(Puppets for 2nd to 5th graders)

The Colorful Hands of Jesus puppet troupe meets weekly on Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5 pm to write scripts, record voice-overs, and rehearse skits with puppets to be shared throughout the year in worship and Sunday School assemblies. They also engage in outreach ministries in the community and share at Vacation Bible School in the summer. The ensemble is directed by Cathy Scarbrough and Nalynn Ryder.

For Youth:

Charles Wesley Singers (6th - 12th grades and beyond)

Charles Wesley Singers sharing Vivaldi

Damascus UMC's youth choir, the Charles Wesley Singers, has a 25+ year history of singing weekly at the 8:15 am worship service, sharing at the 8 pm service on Christmas Eve, and touring each summer. The ensemble, directed by Polly Baldridge, is a cornerstone of youth ministry at DUMC, and accompanist Steve Kalnoske also shares in leadership. Rehearsals are Sundays at 5 pm. Singers are invited to join at any time during the year. Charles Wesley Singers plan to tour New England from June 20-27, 2017.

Youth Handbells

youth handbells circa 2012The Youth Handbells meet on Sundays from 4 to 4:45 pm on the Great Hall stage to rehearse and share in fellowship. This group ranges in size from 4 to 5 octaves and plays a variety of music, including selections in worship and in the annual handbell concert.

Youth Puppets

Youth Puppets is a group of creative and enthusiastic play writers and actors that create and act out their own material for worship services and other special events at Damascus UMC. Membership is open to anyone in middle and high school, and rehearsals are from 5 to 6 pm on Wednesdays. The ensemble is led by Cathy Scarbrough and Nalynn Ryder.

Youth Praise Band

Youth Praise Band

The Youth Praise Band leads singing at the Youth Chapel every Sunday at 9:45 am during breakfast before the youth break into age groups for Sunday School classes. The band features vocalists, guitarists, bass players, pianists, and percussionists and has a rotating group of members. Anyone is welcome to join the ensemble at any time. Practices are held the first and third Sundays of each month during the school year from 3:30 to 4:45 pm in the Youth Chapel. Ensemble coordination is provided by Tom and Polly Baldridge, and student members provide leadership and direction for the ensemble. 

For Adults:

Chancel Choir (Summer Choir)

The Chancel Choir sings weekly for the 11 am service. Music ranges from contemporary to ancient, and many genres are learned and shared in worship. The ensemble rehearses on Wednesday nights in the Music Room from 7:30 to 8:45 pm. Special programming is scheduled each year for the Chancel Choir, sometimes as part of a worship service and sometimes in a concert setting. Plans for 2016-2017 include the Living Christmas Tree concerts on December 28 and 29 and a concert of Vaughan Williams music on January 22. Other recent endeavors in worship include the Vivaldi Gloria, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and Rutter's Requiem, and Bach cantatas. The ensemble is directed by Polly Baldridge and accompanied by Steve Kalnoske. All singers are welcome to join at any time during the year. During the summer, there are no weekly rehearsals but a pick-up choir continues to sing at the second service (10:15 am during the summer).

Men's Choir

Led by Curt Shiflett and accompanist Kathryn Smith, the Men's Choir meets weekly at 7 pm on Wednesdays in the Music Room to share in singing fun and accessible anthems with up to 4-part men's harmonies. They share regularly in worship and in special events including The Living Christmas Tree.

Women's Ensemble & Vocal Instruction

Women of any age and level of singing experience are invited to join the Women's Ensemble. While there is a performing component, much of the rehearsal time is dedicated to learning vocal technique from director Polly Baldridge, who also is a private voice teacher. When in session, class is from 7 to 7:30 pm in the back of the Great Hall on Wednesdays. Session will be held again in January 2017.

For All:

Oratorio/Concert Choir

Singers from the community and church gather several times a year to prepare and share special performances. Recent performances include the 29th anniversary of the Living Christmas Tree in December 2016, a concert of Vaughan Williams music, Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Durufle's Requiem, Vierne's Mass in C# Minor, and Vivaldi's Gloria. Rehearsals are Wednesday nights at 8:15 pm when a project is in progress. Plans are underway for next season to include a concert of hymns with Calvary UMC in Frederick on Nov. 5, 2017.

Drama Productions

In recent years, Damascus UMC has put on several drama productions including Godspell, madrigal dinners, 1940s Radio Christmas Carol, and Menotti's The Telephone. Another large-scale production is being planned for the 2017-2018 season.