Our community at Trinity includes our vibrant parish of more than 1,600 members — and more than 200 employees working to support our worship services, programming, and ministry around New York City and the world.
In this series, we’re introducing you to some of the faces you may see on Sundays and at services and programs throughout the week, whether they’re at the pulpit or the altar or behind the scenes. You’ll get to know what their day to day looks like, what brought them to Trinity, and how to get in touch — and get involved — with the work they’re doing inside and outside of the church.
Music is an integral part of Trinity’s ministry, and our diverse range of choral and instrumental ensembles perform in our historic spaces all year long. Among the most impactful of our music programs is the Trinity Youth Chorus, now in its 18th season, which provides 12 hours of musical instruction every week to K–12 students from throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Holding the baton is Melissa Attebury (she/her), Director, Trinity Youth Chorus and Music Education, who has been on the staff of the music program since 2006. Below, Melissa shares more about her own musical background, what it means to train a new generation of artists in a sacred space, and some important youth chorister traditions.
Hi, Melissa! Tell us a little about your role.
My role is Director, Trinity Youth Chorus and Music Education. With the Music Education team, I manage and direct all aspects of music education for kindergarten through college-aged students, both at Trinity and with external collaborators. I serve as the main conductor for our youth chorus. Having had many roles at Trinity in my time here, I also sing with the Trinity Choir, occasionally conduct the Trinity Choir or other ensembles, and manage the music budget and many administrative aspects of the Music department in general.
What was your path to Trinity?
I grew up as the child of church musicians. My mom was an organist and choir director. My dad, grandparents, and extended family were all in the choir of our Methodist church, where members of my family have been involved for generations. I played piano and sang in church from a young age and knew I wanted to pursue music in some way. I trained as a singer in college and pursued a career in opera, which took me on the road a lot. There, I met my husband, also a singer. Eventually, with my second child on the way and feeling the need to work more locally, I auditioned for and joined Trinity Choir in February 2006. Within a few months, I took on an assistant teaching role with the youth chorus, and soon after became an administrator for the department as well.
How do you think your role fits into the life of the congregation?
I was raised with the idea that as a community, we share our gifts and talents for the glory of God. Our children and youth are a vital part of our congregation, and helping to train the next generation and pass on my own love of music and singing is a passion and privilege.
The Trinity Youth Chorus year-end concert, Still I Rise, is coming up on May 21! Can you share a little about what they’ve been working on this year?
The choristers sing a wide variety of music. We started the year with Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” sang our annual Benjamin Britten Ceremony of Carols concert (a Trinity tradition since I have been here), offered a special candlelight concert of the Pergolesi “Stabat Mater” in Lent, and will finish out the year with a pops concert. The choristers sing repertoire from Monteverdi to jazz to Queen, and everything in between.
How can congregation members get in touch with you?
Via email at MAttebury@trinitywallstreet.org. You can also find me leading the 9am service music on Sundays, or up in the choir room rehearsing!
Tell us something we should read, watch, eat, or listen to.
Make brown butter snickerdoodles. They are a chorister favorite.
What’s your favorite quote, lyric, verse, or poem? Share some words to live by.
Too many to name, but a few favorites that are on repeat in chorister rehearsals:
- On time is 15 minutes early.
- Be kind, be safe, be responsible, be respectful.
- Always be prepared…to have the conductor call on you to sing a solo!
What’s saving your life right now?
My Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. Unconditional love, all day, every day!