10.16.13Best of NYC, Best Free Lunchtime taste of timeless magnificence, Village Voice

No time for midday yoga or meditation? Tuesday through Friday, you can still seize hold of some inner peace by hustling into Grace Church for Bach at Noon, 30 minutes of Bach organ pieces performed by Patrick Allen, the organist and master of choristers, or organ scholar Phillip Lamb, between 12:20 and 12:50 p.m. Sometimes joyous, sometimes weighty, and sometimes sounding like glittering mathematics fugue-ing before God, these baroque "meditations" are soothing and thrilling at once, the experience a reminder even for unbelievers that there are things grander than us, that can unite us across time.

Published October 16, 2013

08.18.11STREET-CORNER SYMPHONIES Free concerts you can take in at lunch


On September 11, 2001, Grace Church organist Patrick Allen began playing Bach hymns for crowds gathering in the pews. Ever since, his meditative "Bach at Noon" series (Tuesdays through Fridays from 12:20 to 12:50 p.m.) has drawn droves of listeners, from neighborhood regulars to out-of-towners seeking solace in the city. 802 Broadway (between 10th and 11th sts.)


08.20.10Music That Rises Above the City's Roar

New York Times, August 20, 2010

Music That Rises Above the City’s Roar

In the hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, Patrick Allen, the organist at Grace Church near Union Square, decided to play for the people gathering in the church's pews, filling the silence with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach because, as Mr. Allen put it, "it was clear that this music was the medicine and food needed by those coming through the doors." Nearly nine years later, the Bach at Noon series continues — peaceful, meditative revivals.

06.11.09The Choir Experience at Grace Church....

The Choir Experience at Grace Church…

“Third Story. Last I want to tell you about a part of Grace that we certainly never expected to get to know: The Choir. Everyone knows that Grace started out as a choristers’ school, but most people also know the only thing they think they need to know about the choir – namely, you have to get to school at the crack of dawn! Well, that wasn't working for us.

But lo and behold, the kids wanted to join the choir. You know why – yes? All the kids know this: being a Grace Church chorister is the youngest paid position available on the island of Manhattan! Even a kid needs a job these days. So join, they did, and it was not long before choir over-ran our lives. This was like a lot of GCS sports and activities – sound familiar? Well, we became hard-core choir groupies.

Actually, there’s a whole Haight-Ashbury metaphor for the choir. The choir is exactly like The Grateful Dead. Choir parents are roadies – wandering around, totally obsessed, never sleeping. Dr. Allen is Jerry Garcia – ultimate Zen. And, of course, the choir, like The Dead, tours worldwide: Bristol, Amsterdam and, next year, Rome. I know that many of you have been on choir trips or school trips, so you know how crazy those trips can be. All I have to say to you folks going to Rome next year is “WHAT HAPPENS IN ROME STAYS IN ROME". And for your sake, boy, I hope I am JOKING!

Ultimately, choir became an opportunity for the children to grow and lead and an opportunity for our family to give back to Grace a small part of what it had given to us. Perhaps most mysteriously of all, through a re-kindling of our commitment to our Christian tradition, we opened ourselves up to a greater embrace for all faiths and regard for others in this global community that we all inhabit today in 2009.

And through this experience of Grace, we knew that we had found a place that truly invited us to give ourselves to it with all of our hearts."

From Jan Ford, Talk given at Graduation, June 2009 Grace Church School

06.01.06Best (only) reason to go to church - 2006

The Village Voice
Best of Award 2006

Best (only) reason to go to church - 2006

Bach at Noon

Being raised in a born-again Christian household left a bad taste in my mouth: One Good Friday, when I was 10 years old, my mother forced a heaping tablespoonful of horseradish down my throat, just to make sure I'd never forget how much Christ had suffered for me. There were other "lessons" too. Anyway, once I turned 18 and my sentence ended, I swore I'd never enter another church or have anything to do with religion ever again. But I broke my vow recently: While walking down Broadway, I was drawn into Grace Church by some of the most moving, beautiful organ music I had ever heard. As I sat beneath the mile-high cathedral ceilings, sunlight streaking through the stained-glass windows, I realized that there was a being greater than me, greater than all of us—Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach at Noon organ meditations (every Tuesday through Friday, 12:20 to 12:50 p.m.) allow you to briefly transcend the ugliness of the world and connect with the good—without the distractions of forced ritual and a yammering preacher. They're also only 30 minutes long, so your ass doesn't get too sore from the pew, and there isn't an ounce of horseradish in sight.

03.01.00Overheard in the aisles of Grace Church

Overheard in the aisles following offerings by Patrick Allen

The program today was like little pictures, perfectly balanced offered gently with a good natured spirit.

The Bach was offered with elegant fluidity. Pure virtuosity fused with humility.

I would come every day if I could.

The Howells sounded like Howells, the Vierne like Vierne and the Franck like Franck.

Each composition is realized in a manner that gives the impression that the composers have conceived them at that very moment.

Beautiful respect for the diversity of musical language.

Honest and warm playing with a vibrant and unique style.

Your orchestral playing was an amazing tour de force!

You are a Rock Star!