Music Ministry

The music program plays an integral role in worship at Kirk in the Hills. Sacred music, combined with the Proclamation of the Word and the Celebration of the Sacraments, brings us to a deeper understanding of our faith. Here at the Kirk, we sing glad praises to the God in whom we live and breathe and have our being.

The choirs form the backbone of our music ministry, and there are many ways to become involved. The choir season runs from September through May for all choirs except for the Chancel Choir, whose season concludes in June. For those who love to sing, consider joining one of our choirs--if choir participation is not for you, then we welcome your enthusiastic participation in the pews. For those who play an instrument, we hope you will consider offering your gifts of music in worship.

For information about participation in any of the music department's offerings, please contact Marilyn Biery, Bridge Director of Music Ministry at (248) 973-8004 or

Sing for joy to God our strength!

Music Events

Carillon

High in the Kirk tower is the 77-bell carillon, the world's largest in number of bells (tied with our sister tower, Hyechon College in Korea). The carillon was cast by the 300 year-old royal bellfoundry of Petit and Fritsen, The Netherlands. The instrument was the gift of the Fruehauf family, designed by Dr. Frederick L. Marriott, longtime Kirk organist and carillonneur, and installed in 1960.

The largest bell, the Bourdon, is 6' 10" in diameter and weighs over six tons, and the smallest is only 6" in diameter and weighs fourteen pounds. While thirty-six of the bells may be played electrically (and therefore without dynamic nuance) from the sanctuary organ console, the full 77 bell compass is playable only (with dynamic nuance) from a mechanical keyboard called a clavier, located in a cabin in the belfry. Five of the large bells (G, B, D, E and G) form a peal which swing freely; these five also sound in combination each quarter hour as directed by the instrument's computerized clock mechanism.

Midway up the tower is the Marriott Library, which serves as both a repository of Dr. Marriott's music library and his many compositions (including his works for carillon) as well as the home to a practice clavier of the same design as the carillon's clavier.

The instrument is normally played each Sunday before worship, for recitals on Sundays after worship (during the Summer Carillon Series featuring carillonneurs from around the world), before other concerts during the year, and frequently for weddings. 

Hymn Preludes for the Kirk

Frederick L. Marriott: A Centennial Anthology

View videos of carillonneur Carson Landry performing at Kirk in the Hills on May 4, 2023:

Hypnos by Phyllis Chen
Allegro by Julie Zhu
Here Comes the Sun
What a Wonderful World

Youth Choirs

Registration for 2024-2025 Children's & Youth Choirs will begin soon.
To learn more, please click the button below to learn more!

More about Youth Choirs

Chancel Choir

The Chancel Choir is comprised of professional and auditioned volunteer singers, and sings during Sunday worship services in the sanctuary throughout the entire calendar year as well as for special seasonal services and concerts. 


Chancel Choir Singers

Noah Dakho

Terence Farmer - Following graduation from the University of Windsor School of Music, Terence served for several years as timpanist of the Windsor Symphony, followed by graduate school at Yale and Wayne State Universities. After a career transition from music copyist/editor, his entrance into church staff activity began as Interim Music Director for Fenton UMC. Following vocal studies with John Charles Pierce and Kristen Eder, Terry began to maintain staff singing positions with Presbyterian/Protestant and Christian Science churches, as well as scheduled Choral Union, Audivi/Opera Modo, and Vocal Arts Ensemble performances. Terry is pleased to continue at the Kirk his family’s tradition of music ministry artistry, while maintaining a dual professional career as orchestral timpanist and percussionist in SE Michigan and Research Engineer Technician in Ann Arbor. Terry has sung at the Kirk since July of 2023.

Carol Johnson

Leslie Mason, spinto soprano, is based in Detroit and regularly appears with Opera MODO and Detroit Opera. Leslie holds a Masters of Music in vocal performance from Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Eastern Michigan University. Leslie also performs classic jazz with her husband Jesse. They have four children who, according to Jesse, “have their mother’s pipes.” Leslie is a private voice instructor of nearly 30 wonderful students and has also enjoyed spending the past 12 summers on the voice faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp teaching young students about singing and opening their hearts through sound. She has sung at the Kirk since the fall of 2022.

Daniel Paradowski, baritone, was born and raised in the Detroit area, Daniel has been singing at the Kirk since 2004. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1998 with a bachelors in music. Daniel sang a few seasons with the Detroit Opera before the birth of his fourth son in 2007. Daniel enjoys cooking, reading, and loves being in church or with his family. Daniel leads the choir in the Chorister’s Prayer after each Thursday rehearsal and is always ready to pray with or for anyone at any time.

Keith Peters, tenor, is married to Martha with three wonderful children.  He graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Liberal Arts; Keith played the tuba in marching band and sang in the choir. He has an MBA from University of Detroit.  Keith worked in financial reporting before becoming a stay-at-home parent. Currently a Trustee at the Kirk, Keith recently chaired the organ committee. He has sung in the Chancel Choir since 2008. Keith spent so much time on the organ project at the Kirk, that he learned to play the organ.

Judith Premin, Soprano - grew up in Fenton, MI.  Judy began studying music at Western Michigan University and transferred to the University of Michigan graduating with a Bachelor of Music in voice performance and Music Education, followed by a masters in vocal performance at U of M.  She taught in Mt. Clemens, Dearborn and Wayne-Westland Community Schools.  Judy has also been a staff singer at St. John's in Detroit, St. Colette in Livonia, as well as First Presbyterian church, Birmingham, and has been at the Kirk since 2012. Judy has an Airedale that rules the other 15 dogs Judy owns, which makes daily walks a challenge.

May Wang, soprano, was born in China and grew up in a city called Dalian.  May has sung with the Chancel Choir since 2020. She studied Computer Science and is a Healthcare IT Admin. May is choir mom to most of the choir and keeps us all in line.

Jesse Benjamin Ward is an accomplished choral singer with over three decades of experience. He has sung with the Choir of Men and Boys at Christ Church Grosse Pointe, Fort Street Chorale, Ars Nova, Oakland University Chorale, and the Detroit Concert Choir.

 Jesse has studied voice in the studios of Carol Petty, Tobey Miller, Leslie Mason, and John Paul White. He holds an Associate's Degree with a concentration in Music Performance from Macomb County Community College and has also studied Vocal Music Performance at Oakland University. He has been singing at the Kirk since 2023. 

Diane Kay Wheeler, soprano, received a B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University, as well as a B.M.E. in Music Education with concentrations in piano and organ from Indiana. She sang with the Chancel Choir for five years previously and has recently returned. Diane loves to travel and is currently building a canoe so that she can travel solo around the world.

Chantel Woodard, soprano, grew up in Detroit. She earned a B.M. in Music Performance from Virginia State University, an M.M. in Voice Performance from Wayne State University and has been singing at the Kirk since September of 2021. Her interests include weightlifting and gardening. She has performed the Witch from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Madame de la Haltiere from Massanet’s Cendrillon. Chantel has an infectious laugh which can cause others around her to laugh so hard their insides cramp up and they can’t function for an hour. A dangerous skill, to be sure.


We are currently hiring Chancel Choir members, click here for more information.
For information about auditions, please contact Marilyn Biery at  or 248-973-8004.

Staff

Marilyn Biery

Director of Music Ministry

Merideth Hite Estevez

Associate in Music

David Enos

Associate Organist

Carol Beth Litkouhi

Young Children's Choir Director

Bobby DeLisle

Youth Choir Director

Rosie Biery

Music Department Mascot