Music Ministries

Abington Presbyterian Church is both a center for worship and a place for the exchange of ideas and cultural opportunities for the community, a tangible symbol of God's presence in our everyday activities.  Music has long played an important role in the life of this church.

Musical leadership for our ongoing worship life includes two children's choirs, a youth choir, and an adult choir, as well as bell choirs for children, youth, and adults incorporating ringers of all ages and abilities.

Musical Leadership

John Sall Director of Music Ministries
Sean Burns Organist & Accompanist
Ruth Ideen-Sall Director of Children's Choirs
Janet Tebbel Director of Handbells
Kathryn Messina Chair, Worship and Music Council
Alan Keiter Chair, Music at Abington Committee
Alan Keiter Organ Curator

John Sall

John SallDirector of Music Ministries
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John Sall serves Abington Presbyterian Church, founded in 1714, as Director of Music Ministries.  He leads youth and adult choirs and the Abington Symphony Orchestra and oversees congregational music programs and the Music at Abington concert series. With a background including organ, choral, and church music studies, Kenyan percussion choral accompaniments, and work with children, youth, and adults, John brings a variety of personal and professional experiences to the musical worship life of Abington Presbyterian Church. He has developed unique and creative programs which combine the rich and varied resources of the Abington Symphony Orchestra and Oratorio Choir in literature ranging from baroque cantatas to newly composed works for a cappella choir or solo orchestra, as well as classic Oratorios from the 18th to the 20th Centuries.

John Sall's interest in music was fostered in the rich resources of strong school, church, and private music study in Holdrege, Nebraska, and through the Lutheran Summer Music program.  A graduate of St. Olaf College (Minnesota), John was uniquely involved in the strong performance tradition of the school as a member of the St. Olaf Choir, St. Olaf Orchestra, and St. Olaf Band in addition to his studies in Church Music and Organ with John Ferguson; he received the Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music and Organ magna cum laude.  John Sall studied conducting with Alan Harler and completed the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance in 2007 and was honored with the Elaine Brown Tribute Award, presented by the choral department each year to an outstanding student for their work in "relating music to broader issues of community-building and human expression."  Following graduation from the program, John was immediately invited to teach conducting to beginning students.  In 2010 Sall was invited to serve as a visiting Choral Scholar and returns this year as conductor of the Temple Women's Choir, and he regularly covers rehearsals with the Contemporary Music Ensemble.  John has studied choral conducting and worked in masterclass settings with Joseph Flummerfelt, David Hayes, Dale Warland, and Robert Scholz, and has studied orchestral conducting with Luis Biava and Steven Amundson.

John enjoys composing and orchestrating for his ensembles and in other settings, distinguishing himself as the Grand Prize winner in the First Annual Composition Contest for Young Composers, Riverside Church, New York, with his anthem, "Is Not This The Fast That I Choose?" composed for choir, organ and string quartet. This work was selected by the Harmony of Hearts program of Cross International as one of their featured pieces in 2009. Sall has published percussion performance suggestions for several African hymns and choral anthems, and he helped develop and lead an experiential day camp to teach liturgy and worship to children.  John is currently serving an elected term on the national executive board of the Presbyterian Association of Musician (PAM). He is also a member of the American Guild of Organists participating in the Philadelphia chapter and ACDA. John came to Abington in 2001 and makes a home with his wife Ruth and their three daughters.


Sean Burns

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A graduate of New York University and Westminster Choir College, Sean Burns is currently a member of the adjunct faculty of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ as well as a staff pianist at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Before his recent appointment as APC's organist, he most recently served the community at Corpus Christi Church in Lansdale, PA, where he was principal organist for five years. Sean began his organ studies with Eric Gombert, currently the organist at St. John's Lutheran Church in Allentown, PA, and then undertook studies for a Master of Music with Alan Morrison. In addition to his dedication to sacred music, Sean maintains an active schedule as a piano accompanist, primarily for students of classical voice.


Ruth Ideen-Sall

Director of Children's Choirs and Children's Ministries
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Ruth is the daughter of a life-long church musician and grew up singing in her mother's children's choirs. Originally from Wyoming, Ruth began her own singing career in the Grace Lutheran Church Junior Choir and the Casper Children's Chorale. It was in high school when she attended a month-long summer music camp, Lutheran Summer Music, that Ruth found her vocation as a singer and a teacher of singing, as well as serving the church. In 2008, Ruth joined the music staff at Abington Presbyterian Church as the Children's Choir Director. Working with the graded children's choir program and leading weekly music exploration for the 120 children of Abington Presbyterian Nursery School first introduced Ruth to the musical life of children at APC.

Ruth began to work with the Children's Ministry program at Abington Presbyterian Church in 2011. Her background as a teacher and years of learning at the hands of wonderful pastors, Christian educators and musicians made the trasition easy. Ruth  enjoys working with the dedicated wolunteers at APC to create a wonderful place of welcome for all children in worship, Sunday School, mission and fellowship. Coordinating with intergenerational groups has been Ruth's passion since beginning work with children's ministry. Ruth enjoys the excitement of our Homecoming celebration in September, the joy of the church picnic in June, and many other congregational activities that bring children and families together with congregants of all ages.

A graduate of St. Olaf College (Minn.) with a degree in vocal performance, Ruth's solo voice career as an art song, opera, and oratorio soloist developed alongside her children's choir conducting career. Ruth brings abinding energy to a holistic approach to singing, using many different paths to help children find their true, full singing sound. Her care for children is evident as she employs music as a means to help them find their voice, to discover a connection to their Creator, and to build a foundation of scripture through text. Ruth is on the executive committe of the Greater Philadelphia Choristers Guild chapter serving as president in 2017-18. She has been children's choir clinician at Massanetta Springs' Worship and Music Camp.


Janet Tebbel

Director of Handbells
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Janet Tebbel shares her unique balance of church music, education, and ringing skills with the congregation through her leadership of children's, youth, and adult handbell choirs.

A member of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, for 37 years Janet Tebbel has played the carillon there and organized the summer recital series.  She also plays weekly recitals at Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown, and appears in recital around the country and globe both as a solo performer and as a member of the carillon duo "The Treblemakers".  She enjoyed her career as music educator and Head of the Music Department at Rosemont (PA) School of the Holy Child where she was involved in teaching classroom music, coordinating private lessons, and planning of festival choral gatherings and regular liturgies for the school.

Janet lives in the Laverock section of Glenside with her husband, Wayne and little black dog, Cassie. Besides carillon activities, Janet enjoys gardening, travel and spending time at the family's cabin in the woods near State College. Their son and daughter-in-law live in Germantown and are expecting their first baby.  Their daughter lives in Washington, DC and works for a startup designing programs to support underserved school districts.

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