In Our Music God is Glorified!
We are a singing congregation and music is a primary way we worship God. Young or old, beginner or experienced, there is a place for you in our music ministry. We rejoice in the variety of ensembles and choirs which come together to praise God. Some of these groups do not meet in the summer months.
Rehearsals on Thursdays 7:15 – 9 p.m.
Under the direction of Dr. Kajsa Teitelbaum, our Director of Music, the Chancel Choir is always delighted to welcome new members in all sections, regardless of previous musical experience. This dedicated group of volunteer singers prepares a weekly anthem for 10:30 a.m. worship from September through May.
A Music Sunday is held on the 3rd Sunday of Advent and sometimes also in Lent for the choir to sing a major choral work in worship. In recent years, we have enjoyed Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Faure’s “Requiem,” and Handel’s “Messiah.” In 2018, the choir traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York to sing “What Sweeter Music” with composer John Leavitt. Occasionally, the choir goes on an extended tour, such as to Germany (1996) and to Sweden (2014).
Rehearsals on Tuesdays 5:45 – 7 p.m.
Using our substantial collection of handbells, the Congregational Bells ring once a month in worship from September to May and more often at Christmas and Easter. At least once a year, the Bell Choir travels to participate in a regional bell festival. All skill levels are welcome.
Rehearsals on Sundays 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Under the director of Julia Wirth, our Director of Children’s Music, the Faith Singers welcomes youth in Middle and High School. Their repertoire varies from contemporary Christian to Gospel and Classical.
Rehearsals on Sundays 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Julia Wirth also leads Joyful Noise, our choir for children in 1st through 5th grades. They explore music in a playful, fun, and safe setting, and learn how to use our voices and bodies as instruments. In addition to singing, they play Orff instruments, hand chimes, boom whackers, and handbells.
Do you play an instrument? We welcome you to offer music in worship. Opportunities for soloists and small groups of singers and instrumentalists, including an occasional pick-up choir in the summer, occur regularly throughout the year.
The original instrument at First Congregational Church was a pump organ that was transported across the plains in a wagon in the last 1800s. Although no longer played, the instrument sits in the lower south entrance of our building next to the choir room as a reminder of our church’s musical beginning.
The organ in the Chapel was a gift to the congregation from Dr. Everett Hilty, long-time Professor of Sacred Music and Organ Performance at University of Colorado, Boulder.
The first pipe organ in our 1906 sanctuary was built when the church moved from our original location on Pine Street, where the Carnegie Library now sits, to our current location. The organ originally sat in the front of the sanctuary but was moved to the balcony in the back about 50 years later. In 2007 when the sanctuary underwent major renovations, the organ was returned to its original place in the front and received a complete face lift by organ builder David Salmen from Wessington Springs, South Dakota. The majority of the old stops and pipes were replaced, and a beautiful new console was added. The new specifications of the organ allow for the repertoire from all countries and time periods to be played in an authentic way.
The music of our church is supported by annual distributions from two Endowment Funds. The Sawyer Organ Fund was established in 2012 with a generous gift from the estate of Jane Sawyer, the Director of Music at First Congregational Church from 1997-2012. In addition to providing resources to help maintain our organs, the Sawyer Fund enables us to bring outstanding organists from around the world for the annual Sawyer Organ Concert, a highlight of our music program.
In 2015, an additional Music Endowment Fund was established to support the congregation’s vibrant ministries of congregational and choral singing and instrumental music.