At the Chapel, music can be experienced on many levels: in person at a worship service or concert, as a choir member, or online. In addition to regular inclusion in worship services, music is featured at Duke Chapel in a variety of special concerts and recitals.

  • The Chapel Choir presents two major works with choir and orchestra each academic year. For over 70 years, Handel’s Messiah has been Duke’s unofficial beginning to the holiday season. In the spring, the choir presents monuments of church music by Brahms, Verdi, Rachmaninoff, Britten, and others.
  • The Duke Vespers Ensemble presents free concerts of sacred early music on a regular basis and leads the musical portion of the Choral Vespers worship service.
  • The Organ Recital Series presents free programs by world-renowned organists on each of the Chapel’s magnificent organs.
  • In the tower of Duke Chapel is a 50-bell carillon, played on weekdays at 5:00 p.m. and before and after Sunday worship services and special events. For holidays or other public occasions, the programs often feature selections appropriate to the day.
Organ Scholars

The Chapel Organ Scholars initiative seeks to continue and expand the musical heritage of Duke Chapel primarily by awarding two scholarships to organ scholars for the academic year 2015–2016. As a result, a senior and junior organ scholar will receive guidance and training, learn from practical and contextual experience, and thus be prepared for a full-time vocation in church music.

Additionally, a service of Choral Evensong (Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer set to music) will be offered each Sunday afternoon and serve as the practical training ground for the scholars in both performance skills and the coordination of organ music with sung liturgy. Consequently, an Evensong choir will be formed and anchored by eight funded singers known as the Chapel Singers.