We have a rich tradition of music at First United where our choirs, musicians, and congregation join in worshiping and communicating the presence of God. Ensembles of church members, friends, and guest musicians often provide special music, from woodwind quintets to bluegrass bands to jazz trios.
Our volunteer choir provides musical leadership for most of the services throughout the church’s program year (September through early June). We sing a wide range of musical styles and have singers with a variety of abilities and backgrounds — new members are always welcome! Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. Contact Bill Chin (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext 108).
Handbells date to the 1800s and earlier, when small bells were used to practice the “method” for the large bells in the church belfry. First United has a history of bell choirs going back more than 35 years, and we use the instruments several times a year during worship. We have five octaves of Malmark handbells and two octaves of Malmark handchimes. Sometimes children use the handchimes to accompany an anthem in Sunday worship, first practicing in Sunday school classes. Minimal musical experience is needed for handbells, just a basic knowledge of reading music, good rhythm, and counting skills! There are typically four or five rehearsals before a Sunday performance, usually 6-7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Contact Michael Surratt (email@example.com), 630-209-0149.
The children’s choir includes young singers from 3rd though 8th grades and sings in worship four times during the church year. Rehearsals are on Sundays immediately following worship and last half an hour, starting in October. Our children’s choir makes great music and great friends in a low-stress environment. Our church school children’s classes also occasionally sing in worship. Contact Bill Chin (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 108).
No robes, no extra rehearsals. Just meet us on the choir risers an hour before Sunday worship and we’ll prepare a simple but beautiful song for the service. Open Choir is the last Sunday of every month. Contact Bill Chin (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 108).
Instrumental music at First United
We have lots of opportunities for you to share your musical talents. String players, brass players, guitarists, keyboard players, drummers and percussionists — in fact, people who play pretty much any and all instruments — can find a place in our worship plans at some time or another. Whether you like to play in a large or a small group or have some solo material you can share, we would be glad to welcome you into our music family. Contact Bill Chin (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 108).
Music at First
Music At First presents concerts to open the doors of the church to the greater community. We offer a “Sing We Joyous” concert each December with choirs, small singing ensembles, and dancers, always including First United’s creative new take on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” There are vocal and instrumental concerts throughout the year and three Summer Sings, when audience members are welcome to serve as the choir. We invite you to subscribe to our E-newsletter for event updates. You also may email email@example.com or leave us a message at 708-386-5215 (ext. 108). Or follow the Music at First Facebook page.
First United’s sanctuary organ is a four-manual, 88-rank Casavant built in 1982, the company’s opus 3544. This organ replaced an E.M. Skinner four-manual instrument, opus 274, that was commissioned when the current sanctuary was built in 1917 and finished in 1918. It was the largest church organ in the Chicago area at the time of its installation. The chapel houses a two-manual, five-rank Reuter unit organ. A complete stop list and more photographs of the Casavant organ may be found in the book Pipe Organs of Chicago, Vol. 1, by Stephen J. Schnurr Jr. and Dennis E. Northway (pipeorgansofchicago.com), or by contacting First United’s organist, Michael Surratt (firstname.lastname@example.org), 630-209-0149.