Music at First Parish
Music is an important part of the worship experience at First Parish, and an essential part of the Sunday service. Our music program is rich in diversity and creativity, offering music from a wide range of genres and cultures.
On a Sunday morning you might hear the work of Brahms or Mozart, or more contemporary composers such as John Rutter. You might just as easily hear an early American Negro spiritual, or even a show tune if its message fits the morning’s theme. Music is selected to enrich, challenge, and nurture our spiritual growth. Far from being merely entertaining, music offers insights and provides solace that words alone cannot.
Music Sundays: Special Performances Twice Each Year
First Parish is widely known for its Music Sunday performances on Palm Sunday and in early December to celebrate the holiday season. During these special worship services, the choir presents a major work that serves as the centerpiece for the service. Usually accompanied by a small orchestra, and sometimes with the addition of visiting soloists, the choir swells beyond its normal size thanks to the participation of additional parishioners who join just for these performances.
Works presented in the past have included Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; Handel’s Messiah; Mozart’s Mass in C Major; Haydn’s Mass in D Minor; Orff’s Carmina Burana; and staged presentations of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
To watch and listen to the choir’s performance of Bach’s Wachet Auf! in December 2014, click here.
Join a Choir
Our music program consists of three choirs, open to all:
As always, please check the Calendar for the latest dates and times that our choirs are performing and rehearsing.
Children from age 5 through Grade 6 are invited to join our Children’s Choir, under the direction of our Music Director Polly Oliver. The Children’s Choir practices most Sundays after the service from 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Children’s Choir sings at services every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Flower Sunday, and often presents a Children’s Musicale in the spring.
Music Director Polly Oliver and the Adult Choir welcome all singers! The choir practices Wednesday nights from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The choir sings two anthems at each Sunday service, as well as a choral benediction. The choir also presents two major works each year at our popular Music Sundays during the Christmas season and on Palm Sunday. Members of the parish or community who cannot commit to full-time choir membership often join the choir to sing in these special presentations.
The First Parish Bell Choir includes adults and some older teens who meet on Saturday mornings for rehearsal. The Bell Choir, under the direction of parishioner Andrea Case, plays at several services throughout the church year.
Guest artists occasionally are invited to provide an added dimension to our worship services. Participation is open to anyone who wishes to sing, play, tell a story, or recite a poem.