I am very glad to add my mite to the memorial to Miss Rand who was a good friend of mine.

                   Forty years ago I went to Grace Church, Lyons, direct from my graduation at Nashotah Seminary.  It was my first parish, and of course, I was very enthusiastic.

                   The Church had been closed for some time and the garden of both church and rectory were overgrown with high weeds, presenting a very dilapidated appearance.  We got together a small choir for the first Sunday from outsiders of the Church.

                   They practiced well, but. As the services were new to them, they did not dare undertake it when Sunday came.  I told Miss Rand that if she would play the organ I would sing the service alone, which I did and it went off well.  The church was filled.

                   During the next week we arranged a fine quartette of Church people.  The church continued to be filled.  Miss Rand had long desired to have a boy choir and with the assistance of a young man of the quartette they trained a number of the boys and young men whom we were able to get together.  Lawyer Spence said, “If we go into this at all we will go into it right,” so a passageway for the procession was built on to the church.  We practiced all winter and had our first boy choir for the service on Easter Day.  It was a great success, as it has been all the years since.  We owed much to the Holmes boys and others whose names I cannot recall.

Bishop Perry came soon and confirmed a large class. 

I am in my seventy-third year and there is no church of which I have as pleasant memories as of yours there.

Most sincerely,
Easton, Maryland. 

To the Glory of God and in Memory of Electa Marian Rand for thirty-six years organist of Grace Church, Clinton, Iowa and founder of Grace Church Vested Choir this volume is dedicated. 

“To her choir she gave of herself without stint and without pause—her gift was of the highest.  Her monument is built of the hearts of men who are still her boys.”

Winfield S. Welch. 

A Reminiscence and a Blessing


I remember very vividly the first visitation I made to Grace Church, Lyons.  It was thirty years ago, January 14, 1900.

          I was impressed by the church building.  There was something unusual about it.  It had a certain dignity all its own.  It did not look as though it had been built a year or two before.  The interior was churchly and attractive.  The congregation impressed one.  All our own people were out to see and welcome and measure up the new Bishop.  There was an atmosphere, reverence, devotion.  I was sensible of a certain simplicity, reality, loyalty among the people.  My hear went out to them.  I felt at home.

          But perhaps I was most impressed with the choirmaster and the choir of men and boys.  The choir was then already ten years old.  I was told that the choir that led the praises of God that morning was the usual choir.  I was informed that Mr. Arthur L. Holmes the choirmaster, gave himself to the choir and its work with a whole-hearted consecration, that he was never absent from a rehearsal or a public service, that the men and boys were devoted to him and that Mr. Holmes inspired the members of the choir with his own spirit.  It was a beautiful, churchly service in which I shared that Sunday morning.  There was all the way through discipline, reverence, and at the same time a certain enthusiasm.

          For twenty-one years Mr. Holmes maintained in Grace Church, Lyons, the sort of choir I have described.  He gave his services without a salary.  He loved the work.,  He found in the work itself a compensation no money could have given him.

          Only a Bishop, because of his wide acquaintance with parishes in towns such as Lyons could realize how noticable, how unusual, the work Grace Church Choir was doing during the twenty-one years that Mr. Holmes was choirmaster.

          Lyons did not grow rapidly in population.  There were the usual parish vicissitudes, the ups and downs, the periods of depression and discouragement, but the personality of Mr. Holmes, his personal interest, his self-sacrifice, his consecration, explains the fact that a large and enthusiastic choir was kept together, a full choir at all services, discipline maintained, and yet a corporate spirit of interest and loyalty always in evidence.  Wherever you find such success, in any sort of work, in any organization, look for the leader and in his personality, his spirit, his knowledge, his methods, you will find the secret of what is accomplished.

          The members of the choir of Grace Church, Lyons, during Mr. Holmes’ twenty-six years of service will assent to all I have said.  The years have passed.  There have been changes.  Near and far men who once sang as boys in Grace Church Choir, look back to happy years, happy associations, with tenderness and appreciation, in the days when they sang in the choir under the guidance of Mr. Holmes.  They trace many an influence in their lives to that experience.  Only the final outcome, the manifestation of personality, what each man is in his innermost being, will disclose all that has resulted to themselves and to others in the worship of God during these happy years.

          I cannot do more than bear this testimony, to assure Mr. Holmes and all those who have been members of Grace Church Choir of my thankfulness to Almighty God for the work that has been done, a work I am sure that is held in everlasting remembrance, and to give Mr. Arthur L. Holmes and every member of the choir, past and present, near and far, my blessing. 

A Message from the Bishop Coadjutor


          How greatly the beauty and dignity of the Church’s worship is enchanced by the musical portion of the service, rendered in a reverent and dignified manner.

          The Music has always been an inspiration to the worshipper in Grace Church.  Miss Rand’s leadership and devotion to the choir work in Grace Church will long be remembered.  All who have experienced the joy of worshipping in this House of God will be thankful for the help and inspiration which has come from the devotional rendering of the choir’s part in the service, especially in the solemn service of the Eucharist.

          How many there are who do not appreciate the necessity for making the musical part of the services comport with the dignity of the Church’s Prayer Book offices, and her Liturgy.

          What an inspiration it is to hear the hymns sung in the proper tempo, with an expression which brings out the meaning for the worshipper.

          How it jars on one’s sensibilities to find the hymns and other selections do not harmonize with the Church’s Season.

          The reverent rendering of the service, the careful selection of hymns and anthems for days and seasons have been marked in the musical part of the service in Grace Church.

          The ESPRIT DE CORPS of the choir has been excellent.  So much is added to the dramatic effect of the worship by the manner in which the choir enters and leaves the church, the postures in the choir stalls, standing erect, kneeling in prayer, no lolling or assuming attitudes in the worship which detract so much from the perfect picture.

          Loyalty and devotion to service have been marked characteristics.  All these have placed the Vested Choir of Grace Church in the forefront of the choirs of the Diocese.

          We thank God for the strength and purpose of Miss Rand in organizing this valuable instrument which has added so much to the reverent worship of Grace Church.

          How valuable has been her contribution.

          May she rest in peace and dwell in perpetual light and continue to grow in God’s love and service, until at last with the redeemed she shall join in the Song of the Lamb before the throne of god. 

The Chorister’s Mission 

A Poem By  PETER C. EDWARDS, JR. (not included online)


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