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.
Worship Arts Ensembles
Cherubs meet weekly on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 5:30 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 Lydia Turner-Little is directing the ensemble this year, assisted by Stephanie Greer.
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.
The Inspiration Ringers is a training handbell ensemble for beginning ringers. Directed by Polly Baldridge, the ensemble meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 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!!!!
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.
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 traveled to Florida in June 2018.
The 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 is a group of creative and enthusiastic play writers and actors that compose 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 5:45 pm on Wednesdays. The ensemble is led by Cathy Scarbrough and Nalynn Ryder.
The Youth Praise Band leads singing at the Youth Chapel Sundays 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 scheduled periodically to learn new music. Ensemble coordination is provided by Tom and Polly Baldridge, and student members provide leadership and direction for the ensemble.
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. Click here for upcoming concert events. Recent major works shared include Rutter and Durufle Requiem, Handel's Messiah, the Vivaldi Gloria, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, 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 combined 9:30 am summer service, gathering 20 minutes in advance to rehearse.
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 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. Sessions are offered seasonally during the year.
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 collaboration for All Saints Day concert with Calvary UMC in Frederick, 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. The Living Christmas Tree is now shared every other year, and 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the event, which is a Damascus holiday tradition, shared during the week after Christmas.
Damascus UMC shared Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in August 2018. In recent years, Damascus UMC has put on several drama other productions including Godspell, madrigal dinners, 1940s Radio Christmas Carol, and Menotti's The Telephone.
The Academy of Saint Cecilia Youth Orchestra (ASCYO) is a non-profit organization created in 2001 as an outreach ministry of Damascus United Methodist Church to youth and their families in the greater Washington, DC area. ASCYO is now an independent 501(c)3 organization.
The mission of ASCYO is to serve the community by providing opportunity for young musicians to grow spiritually and attain musical excellence through instruction, rehearsal, and public performances of the great musical compositions of the past and present. The organization has instrumental ensembles by age and experience. The ASCYO hopes to encourage young people to make commitments to their faith and religious vocations in music and the arts by fostering an environment that reflects the Judaic and Christian traditions where prayer, music, theology, and caring fellowship are respected, revered, and practiced. Members are expected to respect faith traditions different from their own. The services provided to young people in music are given without regard to sex, race, religion, or national origin.