COVID-19 Update: Our music ministry activities are currently modified to protect the community. We are actively producing virtual ensembles, live-streaming on the church Facebook page on Wednesdays, and holding Zoom choir rehearsals on Wednesday evenings following the livestream. Our in-person services are currently led by a small ensemble of singers. If you would be interested in singing for a worship service, contact Vanessa Crixell.
At Abiding Grace, we enjoy a wide variety of music from many composers. We sing from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal, as well as the This Far by Faith hymnal. Anthems and musical offerings vary by genre and style. We are very blessed to have master organist and pianist, Dr. Roger Burnell, as an integral part of our music ministry and various ensembles.
If you are interested in participating in the music ministry at Abiding Grace, we offer many ways to get involved. All are welcome to participate in any of these opportunities – regardless of ability.
Lift Every Voice Choir
Rehearsals are weekly at 7:30 pm. The Lift Every Voice Choir sings at the 11:00 am service, and will sing a cantata at Easter and Christmas. We also have additional choir opportunities, including caroling at retirement facilities and the Dallas Arboretum in December.
Summer choir begins after Memorial Day and ends before Labor Day. This is only a once per week commitment, as the rehearsals are before worship on Sundays. This is the perfect opportunity for you to try choir out!
The Praise Ensemble is a smaller group of independent singers, guitar, piano, flute, and cello, among other instruments. The Praise Ensemble performs a wide range and style of praise music. Praise Ensemble meets on select Mondays at 7:00 pm, and will be a part of worship during Lent, Holy Week, general season, Advent, and Christmas.
The Abiding Grace Orchestra is made up of many instruments! Directed by James Crixell, the orchestra will often accompany hymns for worship services, offer preludes, and join the choir for Easter and Christmas cantatas. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings at 8:30 pm.
Grace Notes Handbell Choir
The Grace Notes Handbell Choir is directed by James Crixell. We currently have a three-octave set of handbells and chimes; and there is always room for more members or substitutes. Grace Notes meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.
There are several unique opportunities for the music ministry each year! We perform an Easter and Christmas cantata every year; as well as caroling events, and trips every other year. One of our recent trips was singing at Carnegie Hall in 2019 under the direction of composer Pepper Choplin.
Our music ministry would not be possible without the service and dedication of sound technicians. If you would be interested in participating in the A/V team, please contact Vanessa Crixell.
Music Ministry Leadership
Vanessa Crixell has served as the Director of Choral Ministries and office manager at Abiding Grace Lutheran Church since 2017. A Grapevine, TX native, she has a Bachelor’s of Choral Music Education from Baylor University, where she met her husband James. While attending Baylor, she served as the music director at Speegleville United Methodist Church. She has found great joy and spiritual fulfillment developing the music ministries at Abiding Grace, and she looks forward to its continued growth. Vanessa and James recently bought their first home in Justin, and they live there with their goofy Bull Terrier rescue, Chico.
James Crixell directs the instrumental ensembles at Abiding Grace Lutheran Church. He is also in his fifth year of band directing, and his first year in Keller ISD after teaching in Mansfield ISD for four years. A Brownsville, TX native, James graduated from Baylor University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Music Education with distinction (Cum Laude). James is very grateful for the countless performance opportunities that the Baylor School of Music had to offer, including the Baylor Golden Wave Band, Baylor Wind Ensemble, Baylor Symphonic Band, Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Baylor Trombone Studio, Bearbones Trombone Quartet, and Baylor Jazz Ensemble.
Roger Burnell is an organist and collaborative pianist at Abiding Grace Lutheran Church. A native of central Kentucky, he studied both piano and organ at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, earning BM and MM degrees. After receiving the DMA in Organ Performance from Texas Tech University, he did post-graduate study in Poland and in Riga Latvia, where he had lessons with cathedral organist Larisa Bulova on the great 19th century Walcker organ. Dr. Burnell has performed organ recitals in Germany and Slovakia.