Music & the Arts

Music at the Advent

The Episcopal Church of the Advent is committed to providing a world-class music program for its parishioners and the community at large. Music is used to unite the congregation in song, and to enable parishioners to use their God-given gifts by offering several choral and instrumental groups.  There are periodic special services and concerts throughout the year, to which everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

Music Ministry

Dr. Brennan Szafron became the organist/choirmaster of the Church of the Advent in 2003, and since then the music program has grown to ELEVEN groups for people ages 4 to 104. All of these ensembles strive for excellence in their ministries, and making a joyful noise unto God! The ensembles meet in the choir room upstairs in Pendleton Hall, unless otherwise indicated.

Click here for our  2018-19 flyer of Concerts and Special Services!

The Musical Groups at the Church of the Advent

Adult Choirs

The St. Cecilia Choir
The St. Cecilia choir is an adult choir which sings for the 9 a.m. service most Sundays. This is the perfect ensemble for those that like an earlier service, those that enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, and those who like to make a joyful noise. Music is selected from all styles and periods and is kept relatively simple. Occasionally the St. Cecilia and Advent Schola choirs will sing together. No previous experience singing in a choir is needed to join the St. Cecilia’s! However, even if you are an experienced singer, there will still be plenty to challenge you. 

Rehearsal | Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. 

The Advent Schola
The Advent Schola is an adult choir which sings for the 11:15 a.m. service every Sunday. The Advent Schola sings a large body of music from the classical Anglican music tradition with a large emphasis placed on music of Western European composers. The music is somewhat challenging; therefore experience singing in a choir is desirable.  

Rehearsal | Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

The Occasional Choir
The Occasional Choir is an adult choir which sings only on the fourth Sunday of the month. This is the easiest way to join the music program. Simply come to the choir room in Pendleton Hall at 8:15 on the fourth Sunday of each month to learn the anthem for the 9 a.m. service that very same day! There isn’t even a weekly rehearsal. With little rehearsal time, the music is kept simple enough to be learned in the space of one morning.

Rehearsal | 4th Sunday of the Month at 8:15 a.m. 

The Evensong Choir
The Evensong Choir is the latest group at the Church of the Advent, open to all adult and some teen singers in the Spartanburg community. The choir sings for evensongs three to four times a year and rehearses 2 hours before each evensong. Music will be given out to interested singers in advance. Strong music reading skills are necessary to be in the Evensong Choir.

Rehearsal | Two hours prior to each evensong, with minor variations

Children's Choirs

The Cherub Choir
The Cherub Choir is a choir for 4-year olds which sings four times a year. This is the Advent’s youngest choir, and teaches children the joy of singing through fun games, bible stories and other musical activities. Meetings will be on Thursdays between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

Rehearsal | Room 106 of the Parish and Community Life Center.

The Angel Choir
The Angel Choir is for children in grades K-1 which sings on the first Sunday of every month. The Angel Choir sings in church more regularly, and even gets to learn simple music reading skills. There are lots of fun musical games to play. Dr. Kelly Vaneman is its director.

Rehearsal | Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. in Room 106 of the Parish and Community Life Center.

The Junior Choir
The Junior Choir is for children grades 2-5 which sings on the first and third Sundays of every month. The Junior Choir develops a child’s music reading and singing skills and prepares children to be musical leaders in worship. The curriculum is set by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), an organization which promotes high standards of church music all over the world. 

Rehearsal | Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m.

The Youth Choir
The Youth Choir is for grades 6-12 which sings on the third Sunday of every month. This is a great way for tweens and teens to keep on singing after “graduating” from the Junior Choir. The music draws from many styles and periods. This is also when choristers start singing more music in parts. 

Rehearsal | Sundays at 4:30 p.m. 

Instrumental Groups

Gabriel's Instruments
Gabriel's Instruments is an instrumental ensemble which plays in church once a month. Anyone in the church who has played a string, wind, or brass instrument at least one year is invited to join. The music will be flexible, tailored to whichever instruments are present and whatever anyone’s ability is.

Rehearsal | Tuesdays at 4:45 p.m. with additional rehearsals scheduled by the organist/choirmaster

The Advent Toners
The Advent Toners is a hand chime and now also a hand bell ensemble which plays in church once a month. This is a great way to contribute to the musical life of the church without even having to sing. The bells and chimes are tons of fun, and help to develop great rhythm skills. When they are heard anywhere in the church, they fill the air with a combination of joyful peals and subtle dulcetness.

Rehearsal | Thursdays between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m. 

The Carilloneurs Guild
The Carilloneurs Guild is a group of fine individuals which ring the bells in the Cleveland Memorial Bell Tower after Sunday services and following weddings and funerals. This group is open to anyone ages 18 and over. To join, please call Brennan Szafron for more information. Anyone who wishes to be a carilloneur must be able to climb steps.

All musical ensembles meet in the choir room upstairs in Pendleton Hall unless otherwise indicated. To register for any of the musical groups, please complete this form

To inquire about the music program:
Contact | Dr. Brennan Szafron, Organist/Choir Master, 864-504-3694

Musical Instruments

Flentrop Pipe Organ – 1989

The two-manual organ in the church was originally built by the Flentrop Orgelbouw Pipe Organs of Zaandam The Netherlands in 1989. The organ contains 3 divisions, 24 stops and 29 ranks of pipes. The manual compass is 56 notes and the pedal compass is 30 notes. Slider chests. Mechanical key action. Mechanical stop action.

Great                               Swell                              Pedal

Bourdon            16’                           Roerfluit                8’                     Bourdon      16’

Prestant             8’                            Gamba                  8’                       Fluit              8’  

Holpijp              8’                            Quintadeen           8’                      Octaaf           4’

Octaaf                4’                             Prestant                4’                      Fagot         16’

Fluit                  4’                             Fluit                       4’                         

Quint                3’                             Nasard                   2 2/3’

Octaaf               2’                             Gemshoorn           2’

Sesquialter       I-II                         Terts                       1 3/5’

Mixtuur             V                            Flageolet                1’

Trompet           8’                             Hobo                     8’



Swell to Great                                     Manual compass       C - g’’’

Great to Pedal                                    Pedal compass           C - f’

Swell to Pedal

Mechanical key and stop action

Flentrop Website


The Advent owns several upright pianos of varying quality, the best of which will be discussed in this section of the website. The one in the main choir room of Pendleton Hall is the church’s newest piano, having been purchased in 2003 through several anonymous donations in honor of Carolyn Roberts, who founded the St. Cecilia Choir in 1998. It is a “Boston” model Steinway piano, and its color is light walnut. The sanctuary piano was purchased several years before the current choir room piano was purchased. It is a Steinway upright piano, and its color is dark oak. The current sanctuary piano used to be in the choir room. Up until 2003, there was an undetermined blonde colored piano in the sanctuary, which was moved to the then new Parish and Community Life Center.


The Church of the Advent is the proud owner of 3 octaves of Mallmark hand chimes which were given to the music department as a memorial gift in 1987. They were used on occasion by the Angel Choir, under the direction on Sally Frick, starting in 1992 so that the choristers could make random, festive sounds on high, holy occasions (i.e. Christmas and Easter). When Brennan Szafron arrived in 2003, the hand chimes sat unused for a few years. In the fall of 2006, he formed the church’s first ever hand chime ensemble, the “Advent Toners”. The “core” 2 octave set of hand chimes (G4 to G6) was shipped to the Mallmark headquarters in Plumsteadville, PA in the summer of 2007 for reconditioning. Since then, the chimes have continued to provide beautiful dulcitones often as prelude music before the 11:15am service.


The Church of the Advent has two Yamaha Clavinovas which act as excellent substitutes when acoustic pianos are impractical/unavailable. The original Clavinova was purchased in the summer of 2006 in memory of John Turnbull, organist/choirmaster from 1985 to 2003.  It resides in the Olney Chapel in Pendleton Hall.  The second Clavinova was purchased in 2010 and resides in the Parish and Community Life Center.  


On Thursday November 17, 2016, the Advent Toners held a concert to celebrate its 10th anniversary. As a self-given anniversary present, the music department launched on the day of the concert its first ever fund raising campaign called “Buy a Bell”, which raised over $7,000 for the purchase of two octaves of hand bells. The bells were made by the Malmark firm in Plumsteadville, PA and shipped to the church in late June of 2017. The campaign’s goal was to have the funds raised by November 17, 2017, exactly a year after the concert. Instead, the money was raised by mid-April! The bells are a welcome addition to the music program, and aid greatly in the church’s mission of empowering its parishioners and ministering to them.   

Bell Tower

The Church of the Advent's stone bell tower is 17 feet square and 83' 2" high.  The top of the structure contains the belfry with four double arches.  There are 11 bells which are played manually from a console at the top of the tower. The bells were cast in 1926 by the McNeely Bell Works of Troy, New York.


For more information on our Music Ministry
Contact | Dr. Brennan Szafron, Organist/Choir Master, 864-504-3694



141 Advent Street
Spartanburg, SC 29302
Phone 864-585-2268
Fax 864-585-2202


Sunday Schedule 
Holy Eucharist Rite I

Holy Eucharist Rite II

Sunday School 

Holy Eucharist Rite I or II (alternating

Weekday Services | Olney Chapel 

Monday-Friday 8:15am  Morning Prayer
Tuesday  5:30pm - Holy Eucharist and Healing Service
Thursday 12:15pm - Holy Eucharist and Healing Service


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