Music expresses the essence of our community. The seminary is international and multicultural, representing diverse Christian traditions. Our liturgical music is rooted in a Reformed appreciation of communal singing of psalms and hymns. From this center we explore the rich heritages of our global and ecumenical community.
Martin Tel is the C. F. Seabrook Director of Music at
Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. At the seminary Tel conducts three choirs,
teaches courses in church music, and administers the music for the daily
seminary worship services.
Prior to coming to Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996,
Martin spent a year in the Netherlands as a Fulbright scholar studying organ
design and performance and congregational song. He helped to design an organ
for the seminary which was built by Paul Fritts and Company Organbuilders
(Tacoma, Washington) and installed in the seminary’s Miller Chapel in
2000. Together with this instrument and
the native talents of the international seminary community, Martin continues to
foster the art of the folk singing in the church.
Martin Tel holds degrees from Dordt College (music, Dutch),
the University of Notre Dame (organ literature), Calvin Theological Seminary
(Christian education), and the University of Kansas (church music). His research in the Netherlands took place at
the Instituut voor Liturgiewetenschap at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and
his organ study at the Sweelinck Conservatorium of Amsterdam. He served as senior editor of Psalms for All Season: A Complete Psalter
for Worship (Faith Alive, 2012). He also served on the editorial committee
which produced a new hymnal for the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed
Church in America denominations, Lift Up
Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Faith Alive, 2013). With his wife, Sharilyn, he is raising
three children in Princeton.
Michael Gittens, choral assistant
Rachel Barker, bell choir director
All seminary students, as well as faculty, staff, and spouses, are invited and encouraged to join the seminary’s choral program. The choirs are directed by Martin Tel.
The CHAPEL CHOIR is the core choral ensemble at the seminary. The choir rehearses on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:30. The length of rehearsal varies from one and a half to two hours. The choir will focus on the function and creative use of the hymnal, the psalter (metrical and responsorial), global music and service music. In addition to weekly leadership in chapel worship, the Chapel Choir participates in various concerts throughout the year. Students may earn academic credit for their participation in this ensemble.
SEMINARY SINGERS is an auditioned ensemble (up to 20 members) drawn from the Chapel Choir that prepares more complex literature in preparation for concerts and events and also provides additional musical leadership in chapel worship. This group rehearses for an additional hour each week. Placement in this ensemble will be determined by musicianship exhibited in the choral audition, prior choral involvement at the seminary, and proximity to graduation.
Approximately 10 times in the course the academic year, the PRINCETON SEMINARY TOURING CHOIR will travel off campus to sing for church worship services and other gatherings. Repertoire and membership for this choir will be drawn from the Chapel Choir. This ensemble is a “stipend choir” of professional quality, however, interested persons should not approach this as a mere employment opportunity. The choir is a vital ministry of Princeton Seminary. For more information about the ministry of the touring choir, click here. During the 2014-2015 Academic Year the Touring Choir will travel to Michigan and Washington D.C. to lead in worship.
Auditions for the choral ensembles are held at the start of the academic year. Stop by Scheide Hall to sign-up for an audition/placement time. All new and returning students must meet with Martin Tel for an audition/placement prior to being a part of the choir.
In addition to the ensembles directed by Martin Tel, students regularly initiate and conduct their own ensembles. In the past we have had ensembles devoted to dance, gospel music, Praise & Worship music, handbells, and other instruments. The chapel office supports the work of these groups and regularly engages their leadership in our daily worship service.
The Handbell Choir is comprised of members of both the Princeton Seminary and Princeton University communities. Rehearsals take place weekly in Miller Chapel.
If you are interested in any of the above groups, or would like to offer leadership for another ensemble, contact the chapel office.
Music in Worship
If you dance or play a musical instrument and would like to participate in worship, contact Martin Tel and let him know of your interest.
The Chapel owns pew copies of the following hymnals: Psalms for All Seasons (Faith Alive Christian Resources), Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal (Westminster/John Knox Press), and the African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA Publications, Inc.). Congregational copies of Sing! A New Creation (Faith Alive Christian Resources) are available if needed though it is no longer in the pews. We also have braille copies of Sing! A New Creation and The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990) which can be used upon request. We are hoping to have braille copies of the other two hymnals in the near future.
If you are planning a worship service (either in Miller Chapel or elsewhere on campus) and would like to use music that is not published in one of the hymnals available in Miller Chapel, please be aware that copyright permission is needed to reproduce the music or lyrics in a bulletin or song sheet. The Chapel owns copyright licenses from CCLI.com, OneLicense.net, and LicenSing.org. Visit these sites to see if your song falls within one of our licenses. If not, permission must be granted from the publisher, and we are willing to assist in seeking the necessary permissions for your service.