Music plays an intentional and meaningful role in the life of Freemason Street.  In worship, it is purposefully designed to reflect our community’s effort to seek spiritual depth and divine interaction.  Our choices musically seek to avoid oversimplified theology and superficial listening and singing experiences.  God’s majesty, mystery, grace, spirit, complexity, and beauty as well as humankind’s diversity of experience and expression is enthusiastically explored through music from a diversity of centuries, nations and languages.

Music is meaningful for us beyond worship as well, affording opportunities to listen, to laugh, and to celebrate as we gather for the Music Series at Freemason Street, talent shows, and community programs.

There is an array of opportunity for participation in the many ensembles listed below!



The principal ensemble of the church is the Adult Choir, comprised of about 30 devoted and gifted vocal musicians.  Anchored by a professional core and collegiate choral interns, the choir sings throughout the calendar year, leading worship music for the congregation and singing a rich catalogue of finely crafted music, reflective of the depth, complexity and beauty of the Creator.  From Brahms, Lauridsen, Mozart, Beethoven and Bernstein to Spirituals, the choir’s skillful evocation of the spirit through singing has become a hallmark of our worship.

A subset of the Adult Choir, our Pre-Worship Ensemble is a small group of about 8 singers, principally formed by our professional and intern leadership.  Each week they join our own instrumental musicians to set the tone for worship with meditative music and substantive texts that help us transition from the bustle of life to the sacred wonder of worship.

One of the exciting and unique components of music here is our Freemason Street Brass Choir.  This all-volunteer ensemble of skilled professional and semi-professional players brings brilliance, majesty and excitement to special services of worship and community events.  Like the Adult Choir, the Brass Choir plays a variety of music, grounded in a rich, classical core that frequently includes the multi-choir music of composers like Gabrielli and Palestrina, played around our large balcony.

The Handbell Choir chimes every Sunday in worship, and occasionally presents special music.  Comprised principally of our church’s youth, this vibrant group has long been a part of the fabric of FSBC’s worship experience.

Our Instrumental Team includes gifted musicians whose solo playing adds color and depth to our worship experience.  Trumpet, violin, flute and recorder are regularly heard in our worship, as are occasional contributions of other talented players.



The 1917 Tower Bells

In addition to the music which fills the air inside our building, we are also blessed to have in our steeple a set of authentic, vintage Tower Chimes which ring to the entire surrounding community.  Mounted in the church steeple just one level below the chimes themselves, the chimestand is rarely seen by anyone other than individuals who play them (our principal player is friend of FSBC, Sean Bilby).  Individuals who would like to see the bell tower mechanism or to learn to ring the bells at FSBC should contact the church.


The overall music program is led by Director of Music Robert Shoup, who is a recognized choral leader in southeastern Virginia.  His ongoing work with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Arts Festival helps provide opportunities for Freemason Street to collaborate with the region’s finest singers and instrumental musicians.

Our principal Keyboard Artist is Dr. Andrey Kasparov, also a recognized classical musician in Hampton Roads.  Dr. Kasparov’s continued success as a recording artist and international touring performer are reflections of the skill and insight he brings to his service at Freemason Street.  At the organ and the piano, Andrey’s musicianship invites immersion and inspiration.

Our Director of Youth Instrumental Music is Billy Batte,  whose vast and varied performance experience informs his leadership of our young players.  A skilled violinist and arranger, Billy routinely creates custom pieces for the Handbell Choir, and he is a key part of our leadership at FSBC.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact the church!


FSBC - Freemason Street Baptist Church

(Our Lenten journey through Jesus' last words from the cross are proving transformational for this pastor. Walking this way with you is a gift from God for which I am grateful. -bg)

-Bob Guffey

There it was again: “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

I was reading the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus from the cross, and had come to the Third Word – “Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother” – and there it was again.

“The disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 19:26)

The common assumption is those words have come from the writing voice of John the Apostle, the author of the gospel in which we find these words repeated several times.

“The disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Usually when I read those words in the setting of a bible study group, someone will remark, “Well, that John sure thought a lot of him himself, didn’t he?”

The longer I have read that passage though, I do not think so.

This is John – John, as in the brothers, James and John, who Jesus named “Sons of Thunder.” (Mark 3:17)

This is John who, with his brother, came boldly to Jesus demanding to sit in authority with Jesus in his kingdom. (Mark 20:37)

This is John who wants to call fire down to consume a Samaritan village that has rejected Jesus. (Luke 9:54) This is John who gets it wrong again and again.

“The disciple whom Jesus loved.”

I’ve come to read these words differently, especially if this is, indeed, the apostle John.

What I hear now is this.

I hear John writing: “The disciple whom Jesus loved? Can it be? After all I have gotten wrong? The disciple whom Jesus loved! Can it be? Jesus loves even me!”

That’s me, too. I see my life and all that I have done and left undone.

I see hopes fulfilled, and dreams left empty. I see successes and failures.

I see where I have not lived up to the standard set by Christ resident in me, Christ, “the hope of glory.”

I look in amazement at his face at the cross and say, “The disciple whom Jesus loved?”

Yes, even me.

Even you, too.

Grace and peace,


Robert Guffey

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There will be a Congregational Meeting & Potluck this Sunday immediately following Worship.

Congregational Meeting & Prayer Retreat

Congregational Meeting & Prayer Retreat

To seek to transform lives by worshiping God building relationships developing disciples and serving our neighbors

Today at 9:35am • No Comments