Worship at Idlewild brings its members into the presence of the sacred through words proclaimed, songs sung and heard, and people gathering to glorify God and to comfort each other.
If you’ve experienced the glorious churches in Europe – an organ concert in Paris, a carillon in London, a choir in Stuttgart, a worship service in Rome – you know the tradition of the music ministry at Idlewild Presbyterian Church. The congregation shares in praise with hymns related to modern concerns in the new hymnal and the enduring hymns of Christian tradition.
Choirs at Idlewild offer opportunity for kindergartners to retirees who want to sing and learn about worship through music. Special programs of alternative music add variety and entice special interest groups to worship. Youth Sunday may bring drums and guitars; stewardship focus may feature a gospel choir or jazz combo; and music for holy days such as Easter and Christmas usually includes a brass ensemble, harp and violin, or chamber group.
Adult Sanctuary Choir
The reputation of a high quality of musicianship of Idlewild's Adult Choir attracts singers from the membership, the graduate music program at the University of Memphis, nearby Rhodes College, and throughout the community. Approximately 50 singers lead the music worship each Sunday at the 11 o'clock a.m. service. Soloists lead the service at 8:30 o'clock a.m. in the chapel, except for Easter services, which are in the sanctuary.
Cherub Choir — Preschool II and Kindergarten
The Cherub Choir sings in Sunday worship about every two months.
Primary (grades 1-3) and Junior Choir (grades 4-6)
Sing periodically in Sunday worship and special occasions.
The design of the Idlewild organ was inspired by instruments of 18th and 19th century France. It is comprised of three keyboards and a pedal board. The 69 sets of pipes in the organ are combined into 47 individual sounds or stops and total 3,459 individual pipes. The key action system and stop action system allows the organist to create an infinite variety of combination of sounds and tonal colors. The console employs a memory system that permits the organist to store many different combinations of sounds.
The local chapter of American Guild of Organists schedules meetings and recitals at Idlewild, in addition to recitals by the church’s organists.
Started in 1980, the Idlewild carillon of 48 bells was completed just before Christmas 1999. The bells were cast in France by Paccard. The carillon is the only one in Memphis. It is played Monday-Friday at 4:00 p.m., and at noon each day by computer.
Idlewild's 48-Bell Carillon is housed in a stone tower which rises majestically 120 feet above the church’s sanctuary. The bells, which were cast at the Paccard-Fonderie de Cloches of Annecy, France, range in weight from 4,397 to 29 pounds, totaling more than 26,890 pounds. Forty-four of the bells are stationary; the other four, the C, F, G and A in the bottom octave, swing in a peal or a random ringing. Due to the varying sizes of the bells, the smallest of the four bells rings first, the next largest follows, and so on. The cessation of the peal is in reverse order.
The church building itself was completed in the late 1920s, but, because of the volatile economic times, the magnificent bell tower remained empty for decades. In 1980 the first 23 bells were installed, and the remaining 25 were installed in the fall of 1999. The full carillon was initiated by carillonneur Paul Hicks on December 31, 1999 at 11:59 as a welcome to the third millennium.
In addition to chiming the hours, the carillon is played for 20 minutes each weekday at noon and at 4:00 in the afternoon.
Our services are broadcast live on the radio each week. Visit the Schedules section of our web site for station and time information. Streaming audio, MP3, Podcasts, and text files of our services are all available through the Worship & Music section of our web site.
Whether you are already a member of the Presbyterian denomination, coming from another denomination, just moving to Memphis, or new to church life altogether – you are warmly invited to become a part of the Idlewild family of faith!