Sundays in December – 4:30pm.
Join in the Advent and Christmas season with music! Each Sunday during Advent, Washington Street UMC will host a 30 minute seasonal organ concert, followed by 15 minutes of singing hymns and carols, concluding with light holiday refreshments. All events are free and open to the public! Scroll down and check out the four Sundays of Advent to learn more about our guest organists.
The 40-year old Schantz Organ was renovated and upgraded this year, restoring it as one of the best pipe organs in Northern Virginia. To learn more about the work completed this year and to see pictures from the renovation, click over to learn more about the organ. To go in detail and learn about the organ’s musical components, check out the stop list.
If you have any questions about the Advent Organ Concert Series, please contact our Director of Music, Kyle Miller, at [email protected].
Washington Street UMC is located just off the corner of King Street and Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria. Click here for directions to the church.
John Horman retired from teaching after twenty-seven years with the Montgomery County, Maryland Public School System. He received the Broom Award for Excellence awarded by his home county for his work in composition for children. John served Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Maryland for forty-three years as Organist and Director of Music. He has served as Director of Music and organist for the past 5 years at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C.
Over the course of his career John has served as clinician for children or youth choirs at national conferences held by Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, American Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ. John’s compositions are found in the catalogues of over ten nation-wide publishers. He presently has over 250 anthems for children, youth and adults in print.
John has served both on the Choristers Guild Board of Directors and The Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. More recently John joined the Pallas Theatre Collective Board of Directors where he serves as president.
He works as a freelance writer for a number of music’s periodicals including Church Music Workshop, a journal published by Abingdon Press and The Chorister, the journal for the Choristers Guild of Dallas, Texas
Combining talents with hymnist Mary Nelson Keithahn, John has co-authored four new hymn collections, Come Away With Me, Time Now to Gather, The Song Lingers On and most recently,A Faith That Lets Us Sing. Some of these hymns have been included in the United Methodist hymnal supplement, The Faith We Sing, and the Presbyterian supplement, We Sing the Faith, and the new Presbyterian Hymnal, Glory to God, among others.
Melvin Goodwyn served as high school choral director and arts administrator for 31 years in the Prince William County school system before retiring in 2009. He has accompanied numerous instrumental and vocal performances including the Virginia High School Senior Honors Choir and All-State Choir where he has collaborated with such notable conductors as Weston Noble (Luther College, ret.), Jerry Blackstone (University of Michigan), Eph Ely (University of Missouri-Kansas City, ret.), Jo-Michael Scheibe (University of Southern California) and Kevin Fenton (Florida State University). Mr. Goodwyn served as Director of Music and Organist at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church (Alexandria) for 32 years and currently holds the position of Organist at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (Woodbridge). Mr. Goodwyn is also the collaborative pianist for the Vienna Choral Society. He earneda Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College (Princeton) where he studied piano with Harold Zabrack and Walter Brennan and a Master of Music degree from Catholic University. Mr. Goodwyn was also an organ student of Carl Freeman at River Road Baptist (Richmond).
Stanley Thurston currently serves as the Director of Music at Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C. He is a classically trained pianist, composer, and arranger. He has appeared as conductor for such venues as NBC’s Today Show, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with notable artists including Denyce Graves, Kathleen Battle, the Canadian Brass, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and jazz legends Ramsey Lewis and Wynton Marsalis.
Stanley has served as a Panelist for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Artistic Director for Washington Performing Arts Society’s Men, Women and Children of the Gospel Choirs, and Artist in Residence at Washington National Cathedral where he was commissioned by the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee to compose and conduct a special musical tribute for President Obama’s National Prayer Service. He is the founding Music Director of The Heritage Signature Chorale.
A graduate of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, he made his European opera conducting debut in Verdi’s La Traviata with Romania’s Opera Constanta, returning to conduct Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. He has also conducted at the U.S. Capitol; The Music Center at Strathmore, Carter Barron Amphitheater; DAR Constitution Hall; Arena Stage; the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland; the Washington Hebrew Congregation; Washington National Cathedral; and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, MD.
Melissa Peterson is the Organist at Washington Street, having served in this position since 2012.
She also serves as the Pastoral Care Assistant. Melissa served as an ordained Lutheran pastor for seventeen years with congregations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. In Maryland, her focus was Youth and Children’s ministry. She is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, GA, with a double major in psychology and organ performance, and a Master of Divinity at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA. In addition to her duties at WSUMC, she is the accompanist for the choral groups at Fairfax High School in Fairfax, VA and also teaches private piano lessons.
Kyle Miller has been a musician ever since Grandma Miller had him dancing to The Lawrence Welk show as a toddler. He took an interest in organ and church music in 8th grade and has never stopped playing or singing since! He is the Director of Music at Washington Street.
A graduate of Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, he double majored in music and accounting. His adult self would like to thank his 18-year-old self for that moment of clarity and wisdom. After Heidelberg, Kyle received a scholarship to study a Master of Sacred Music degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
Kyle has worked in churches large and small from the time he was just 13 years old. As a choral singer, Kyle toured the US and Europe with his college concert choir, performed at numerous churches in the Dallas area, sang with the North Carolina Master Chorale in Raleigh and even appeared on live TV! He currently sings in the City Choir of Washington.
When he’s not singing, directing, organist-ing or piano-ing, you can find Kyle working in finance at his full-time job at the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB).