The mission of Words&Music, Inc. is to present exceptional performances of both traditional and newly commissioned compositions in the vocal chamber music repertoire. Our purpose is to bring beautiful music to the forefront while simultaneously giving equal attention to the wonderful poetry and prose that inspire each work. Our efforts include both educational and performance initiatives throughout our community.


Words&Music was founded in Virginia by Melissa Coombs,Terrance Johns and Virginia Rice Sircy. The ensemble first collaborated in a performance of Ned Rorem’s Evidence of Things not Seen in the spring of 2007. Evidence remains a signature piece in the Words&Music repertoire.

In 2009, Words&Music took its show on the road with Rorem’s vocal masterpiece at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Albany, New York. The Times Union noted that Virginia Rice Sircy’s playing was “…fierce and potent.” The following spring, the vocal members of Words&Music were the featured soloists in a performance of Mozart’s Requiem with Albany Pro Musica at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Albany, New York.

Words&Music, Inc became a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2010. This status has enabled Words&Music to expand its concert season and outreach efforts. Words&Music has presented outreach programs at The Fairfax military retirement community in Ft. Belvoir, VA; Trinity High School in Falls Church, VA; Church of the Holy City in Washington, DC; and Christ Church Durham Parish in Nanjemoy, MD.

In addition to presenting acclaimed performances of existing works, Words&Music is committed to adding to the vocal quartet repertoire through commissions and working with other arts organizations. Founding member Terrance Johns is the featured composer for the stirring Star of the Morning winter seasonal program. In 2012, Words&Music collaborated with WordSong, a Boston-based arts organization, to present a series of interactive musical discussions featuring newly composed settings of Langston Hughes’ Harlem. In May 2012, Words&Music commissioned a new version of Howard Frazin’s The Voice of Isaac for vocal quartet and piano quintet. This commission was made possible by a grant from the Weissberg Foundation of Arlington, VA. In March 2013, Words&Music partnered with the Washington Master Chorale to co-commission The Eye Begins To See, a work for chorus and solo quartet, by Donald McCullough. In September 2013, Words&Music will be launching its inaugural composition competition to further enhance the repertoire for vocal quartet and piano.

Words&Music, Inc has been a past recipient of Operating Grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and ArtWorks. Found Again: The American Indian Project was sponsored in part by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts/ ArtWorks.