Music at St. Paul’s

Welcome to the music ministry page at St. Paul’s

At St. Paul’s, music is one way of living out our mission to make God’s love known – now and in generations to come. Our music program includes an accomplished volunteer choir with professional soloists and section leaders from the community; a youth choir, and a handbell choir.

 Celia Tolar-Bain and Summer Choir

July 31, 2022 on Celia’s last Sunday as Fill-In Organist and Choir Director

during our search for a permanent Music Director




On behalf of the vestry and the search committee for a new music director, I am pleased to announce that St. Paul’s has called Matt Hill to be our new organist and director of music. Matt has served as the director of the music program at St. Andrew’s in Morehead City for the past several years, and is well known in the church music community. He brings extensive experience with both adult and youth choirs and ensembles. He brings a fine tenor voice as well, and currently sings with the diocese’s Schola Cantorum in Evensong services throughout the diocese.

Matt grew up in Davis, graduated from East Carteret High School, and earned his degree in sacred music, voice, conducting and organ in the School of Music at East Carolina University. Among the churches he has served are The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville NC, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oregon City, Oregon, and the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in British Columbia. He has founded public music programs and concert series, and led training courses based on The Royal School of Church Music America curriculum. Locally, Matt serves on the board of directors of the American Music Festival. Matt’s first Sunday behind the organ will be August 21.

I am so very grateful for the work of Allison DuBuisson and her committee. They did a prayerful job of discernment and the fruits of their labor are preparing us for many new possibilities. I cannot wait to see what those possibilities yield for the Kingdom of God.

Faithfully, Rev. Tambria E. Lee




Music Director / Organist Job Opening

With the retirement of our beloved music director and organist, Linda Laughton, St. Paul’s seeks a new organist and director of our music program. We seek an enthusiastic candidate to develop our vision of a music program that nurtures talent and joy, and touches every facet of church life.

For further information, click here.

The Linda Laughton Music Enrichment Fund

In Thanksgiving for the ministry of Linda Laughton, the vestry invites you to support the Linda Laughton Music Enrichment Fund. Linda’s tenure as music director at St. Paul’s was transformative, and her musical artistry profoundly enhanced worship at St. Paul’s.

The fund will support musical endeavors beyond the scope of the St. Paul’s music budget. These include music education, equipment, additional instrumentation, and special events such as concerts and orchestral series. Donors are invited to support music enrichment at St. Paul’s through special giving and memorial designations. Funds will be allocated at the discretion of the music director and the rector.

To make a donation, make a payment payable to St. Paul’s Church, noting LL in the memo line.

Anthems from our Virtual Choir

During the months of COVID-induced isolation from each other, our music program lived on in a virtual choir, under the  direction of our technology  wizard, Linda Laughton. Choir members practiced and recorded their parts at home, and then Linda worked her magic on the audio files. For many of the virtual anthems, the St. Paul choir was joined by members of the Schola Cantorum, and choir members from other churches in the region, and from Alabama, West Virginia and Florida.  

Enjoy a few of these virtual presentations.

UNTO GOD MY EXCEEDING JOY, a virtual choir choir project

(click title above to play video/listen or right click title to download)

Each week in our Eucharistic prayer we enjoin our voices with “angels, archangels and all the company of heaven” giving glory to God. We never imagined how thin the veil between heaven and earth would be when as we commended Lisa Stockard, beloved at St. Paul’s Beaufort to the One in whose image and likeness she was so fearfully and wonderfully made. Together with her husband Matt, they served St. Paul’s together; he as priest, she as artist and musician. Together they built  a legacy of creativity and possibility that remains alive and well. Lisa’ s watercolors of the church in all their myriad of renderings adorn the walls of our parish house, our offices and our homes. Each is different yet fully vibrant capturing the essence of what together they so faithfully nurtured in others. We prayed to know how best to honor Lisa and her legacy of art and music. Linda Laughton our organist and choral director used her gifts and those of her friends from around the world to uniquely express our gratitude for Lisa’s life and our continued thanksgiving for Matt whose priesthood still shapes the souls of those who sit in these pews. Those very souls join angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven” as we offer unto God our exceeding joy for the gift of Lisa Stockard. May you know the same as you listen with gladness and singleness of heart.

Rev. Tambria E. Lee – Rector, Saint Paul’s Beaufort

“Unto God My Exceeding Joy” is a composition for SSATB choir and organ written by Hridar Ingi Thorsteinsson for The Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir in Reykjavik, Iceland. From 2003 to 2006, my husband was assigned duty at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. While there, I served at the base Chapel of Light as organist, choir director and handbell director and we visited Hallgrimskirka many times. In 2015, one of my choir members traveled from North Carolina to Iceland and visited Hallgrimskirka where she bought a single copy of this octavo for me. In 2021, several parishioners gave funds to add 25 octavos to the permanent music library at St. Paul’s to honor Matthew Stockard, a previous rector whose wife, Lisa, died in February. This performance was produced as a virtual choir project during May and June of 2021, while still under Covid pandemic restrictions on choral singing. It has been a very special joy for me to compile this Icelandic music composition with the stunning photographs of Iceland by my friend, Kathryn Yanacek Mason. Our thanks to the fifteen singers who contributed vocal tracks, to Kathryn for her photographs, and to Hridar Ingi Thorsteinsson, composer, for his permission to perform and stream this piece.   Linda Laughton,  Music Director

WITH A VOICE OF SINGING, a virtual choir project

(click title above to listen or right click title to download)

Music Notes: Our virtual choir project for Easter Sunday and Eastertide is a choral classic by Martin Shaw (1875-1958). This joyous work was composed for the Annual Festival of the Rochester (UK) Diocesan Church Choirs Association, and remains a universal favorite nearly 100 years later! This virtual project is a compilation of 17 voices representing nine different churches in West Virginia, Alabama, New York and North Carolina.

Sicut Cervus by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina,

a virtual choir project. Click here.

Music Notes: Sicut Cervus by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, is a model of sacred Renaissance polyphony expressing spiritual yearning. It is one of the most popular among Palestrina’s motets. Sicut cervus is Latin for “as the deer” and the lyrics of the anthem are the text of Psalm 42:1; “As the deer longs for running waters, so my soul longs for you, my God.” We pray all who listen will be enchanted by the unique beauty of the countermelodies as they are woven together by voice.

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The Complete History of the St. Paul’s Handbells

It all started during the lifetime of parishioner, John Costlow, who during his travels to the UK and given his penchant for handbells, would visit flea markets in search of used bells. After his death, his widow Ginny donated a full box of old handbells to the music ministry at St. Paul’s. When I arrived at St. Paul’s in September of 2018, Stephen unearthed the box from storage and I, a ringer going way back, got excited. The bells were in ratty condition, some without handles, but the sound was pure tone and glorious. Researching the bells, we discovered they were manufactured by the John Taylor bell foundry in Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK, and that some date to the late 1800s. The John Taylor Foundry is regarded as the founder of the world’s finest bells and their ringing mechanisms are finished with hand tooled leather and felt.

In January, 2019 Sandra and Birkett Howarth funded the refurbishing of the old bells at Jeffers Handbells in Irmo, SC. When the bells were returned, they had been cleaned, repaired and packed in two old donated cases, free to us. We assembled a small group of ladies and got busy learning how to ring.

In February 2020, we ordered seven new bells to complete our partial two–octave set after receiving donations from
Patricia Pitts IMO and IHO her husband, Charles; Joy and Michael Rave IHO their daughter Anastasia (the “A” bell); Ine and Tip Noe, Barb Ackermann, Pat Ausband, Sarah Jo Safrit, Dorothy Wilson, Doris McMullan IMO Tommy Jones, and Mark and Linda Laughton.

The bell foundry closed during the Covid–19 pandemic, April, 2020, and manufacture was delayed due to staffing shortage after reopening in May, 2020.

The new handbells arrived on September 23, 2020 to complete our two–octave set. In November 2020, we added a 2–octave set of Malmark Handchimes to the choir.

To the many hands and hearts who played a role in the history of the St. Paul’s handbell choir, thank you! It is my prayer that the sound of the bells will bless listeners for generations to come.


-Linda Laughton, retired music director


Choirs at St. Paul’s

    Adult Choir.    The liturgy follows the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The choir is responsible each week for singing a hymn during the procession, a Gloria or Kyrie or Trisagion, a psalm, a gospel acclamation and verse or a sequence hymn, a choral anthem at the offertory, a presentation hymn, the Sanctus and Fraction Anthem during the Eucharistic prayer, hymns at the communion, and a post-communion or recessional hymn. Occasionally, the choir will also sing a choral introit before the beginning of the service, or a choral benediction at the end of the service. Hymns are sung primarily from The Hymnal 1982 and its supplements, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Wonder, Love and Praise.” Occasionally, hymns are sung from other sources and reproduced in accordance with St. Paul’s church copyright license agreement with

    St. Paul’s Choir is an associate member of The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) whose mission is to assist churches throughout the world in maintaining high quality standards in their music programs. St. Paul’s uses RSCM planning resources in selecting its choral music. St. Paul’s also utilizes the RSCM choir training method, VOICE FOR LIFE (VFL), as an independent study program which is offered to any choir member of any age willing to put in the extra time required outside of weekly choir rehearsals. VFL is a 5-level course with ribbons and certificates available at the completion of each level.  The ribbons are an attractive incentive for the children and youth singers as they may be worn over the choir cotta during performance.

    Children and Youth Choirs.  All children and youth at St. Paul’s gain choral experience in brief sessions during their normally scheduled Sunday Christian Formation classes. This experience allows them to learn at least two choral anthems per school year, one performed during the Nativity Pageant on Christmas Eve and the other on Easter Sunday or Pentecost.  

    Handbell Choir.  The Handbell Choir rings a  set of John Taylor handbells manufactured at Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough, England. The “Grace Handbells” were a gift to the church from a parishioner, and a portion of the set dates back to the early 1800s. The bells were refurbished in February, 2019 thanks to the generosity of another parishioner.  Our newly formed bell choir meets at a mutually agreeable time to practice the intricate skills of proper English handbell ringing technique. The St. Paul’s Handbell Choir is a member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Using only four to eight bells, the handbell choir rings the psalm on Sundays when a plainsong tone is sung. Our newest addition to the music ministry, the Handbell Choir is intent upon developing its repertoire and hopes to very quickly add the six missing bells to complete the 2-octave set.

    How to share your music gifts at St. Paul’s.  All St. Paul’s choirs welcome new members with open arms and loving hearts.

Contact the Church Office for more information.

Monetary gifts to the Music Ministry discretionary fund are always welcome.