Trinity Church Service of Thanksgiving for the Union Victory

Event Information

Trinity Church

Manager / Director:
Henry Stephen Cutler

Event Type:

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 July 2020

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

11 Apr 1865, 1:00 PM

Program Details

Program included choirs of other churches.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Boyce [composer]
Composer(s): Unknown composer
Participants:  Trinity Church Choir
Composer(s): Handel
aka The President’s March
Composer(s): Phile
Text Author: Hopkinson
aka Star spangled banned
Composer(s): Smith
Text Author: Key


Review: New York Post, 11 April 1865.

     “Te Deum Laudamus. Victory Celebration at Trinity Church. In accordance with the announcement of yesterday a solemn service of special thanksgiving was held to-day in Trinity Church, the great feature being the singing by the choir of the Te Deum—a custom which for centuries has been common in Europe on occasion of national triumph and thanksgiving.

Shortly after noon, Mr. Ayliffe, the bell-ringer of old Trinity, began playing upon the chimes a series of appropriate melodies. In the meantime a crowd of people flocked into the church; and not only were the seats and aisles filled, but the porches were occupied, and many were obliged to go away unable to find entrance.

The Services. At about a quarter after one o’clock the procession of clergy and choristers, all arrayed in white surplices, filed out of the vestry room and entered the chancel. . . .

The voluntary on the great nave organ having ceased, the services were opened. . .

The Te Deum. The Te Deum selected for the occasion was Clarke’s [Boyce’s?] in A, arranged for decani and cantoris. It was sung with good effect by the choir of Trinity, aided by singers from other churches, all of whom volunteered their services. No opportunity had been allowed for rehearsal, yet this fine composition—over a hundred years old—was sung in a highly creditable manner. . . .

The Excelsis. At the request of Dr. Vinton, the old Gloria in Excelsis—a strain of melodious harmony as simple and as grand as Old Hundred itself, was then sung by the full choir, to the accompaniments of the two organs, the entire congregation joining with noble effect. Indeed, a more thrilling song of praise has never been heard even in old Trinity.

Rev. Dr. Dix then pronounced the benediction and the vast congregation slowly dispersed, Mr. Diller, the assistant organist, playing on the grand organ, the Hallelujah Chorus and patriotic melodies. Dr. Cutler presided at the chancel organ, and directed the entire musical performances.”

: Strong, George Templeton. New-York Historical Society. The Diaries of George Templeton Strong, 1863-1869: Musical Excerpts from the MSs, transcribed by Mary Simonson. ed. by Christopher Bruhn., 11 April 1865.

     “The choir had been largely reinforced, and did well, considering there had been no time for rehearsal.  The Te Deum was called I think ‘Cloche in A’ but it is unimportant whether it was Cloche in A, Turkies in B, or Snooks in C.  I have heard it scores of times, a decent succession of lifeless chords, like all the English Church music I know.  But the old Gloria in Excelsis—the old chant familiar to us since boyhood—was taken up by a thousand voices, sustained by both organs.  It was most touching, noble, awe-ful, to hear.  The ‘nave-organ’ played the assemblage out of church with Handel; Hallelujah Chorus, Hail Columbia, and the Star-Spangled Banner, fortissimo.”

Review: New-York Times, 12 April 1865, 8.

     Grand Te Deum at Trinity Church.  Includes a list of names of the choir.

     “The rejoicings are by no means over. Again the city was draped with bunting, and again the chimes rang forth their silver notes of patriotic melody. The feature of yesterday’s celebration was the ceremony at Trinity Church. From the hour when the first gun was fired at Sumter to this moment she has borne aloft the flag of the republic and remembered its defenders day and night. Memorable services of various natures and of grandeur have been held within the walls of this temple, but at no time has New-York so centered at Trinity as it did yesterday. . .

     The occasion was as follows. . . .Call to the People: ‘In view of the great events of April 9, 1865, which God has vouchsafed to the armies of the Union and the cause of constitutional liberty, the bankers, merchants, judges of the courts, lawyers, business men, and citizens generally, are, invited to meet at Trinity church on Tuesday April 11, at 1 o’clock P. M., to join in the anthem Te Deum Laudamus.’

     . . . .At the termination of the morning service, the greater portion of the congregation took their departure. Eagerly seeking the vacated places were hundreds of people who crowded about the doors and gates, striving to obtain entrance. By half after eleven the entire church was filled, every available place occupied, and the stairs to the pulpit even being taken by the more determined sex as places of vantage. Outside the throngs increased, and at a little after noonday the street was fairly blockaded by men and women, who vainly pushed and crowded, and struggled for even a look at the interior.

     The courtesy of Dr. H. S. Cutler, the efficient and cultured conductor of music at Trinity, enabled us to penetrate to the inner rooms, where were the officiating clergymen, their friends of the order, the choir proper, and the amateur volunteers. At 1 o’clock the vibrations of the large organ, played by Mr. Diller, the assistant organist, announced the hour of service, and the procession was formed in the following order, beginning with

     The Choir, as follows: [Lists choir members]. . . .

     As these gentlemen entered the chancel, the church presented a splendid sight. There sat or stood compacted a vast congregation of expectants, in whose ears yet rang the chiming of the bells, and w[illeg.] with appetite sharpened by the occasion and organic performances of Mr. Diller, waited anxiously for the coming feast. . . .

     The piece de resistance was then in order. The grand

     Te Deum,

     which was performed on this occasion, was written in the year 1750, by the celebrated composer and organist at Windsor Chapel, Dr. William Boyce, and is known as the ‘Boyce Te Deum in A.’ It is due to Dr. Cutler to state that the superb rendition of this work by himself and choir was made wholly without rehearsal; in fact, the scores and parts were distributed for the first time some five minutes before the procession entered the chancel. The effect was indescribably grand. . . .

     Gloria in Excelsis. The full force of the organ then pealed forth the magnificent harmony, in which the choir and the congregation joined, producing grand effect.

     After the Rector, Rev. Morgan Dix, D. D., had pronounced the benediction, Mr. Diller, Dr. Cutler’s assistant, played upon the large organ a selection of national airs, during which the audience slowly and reluctantly dispersed.