Make a joyful noise!
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
~ Psalm 150 (NRSV)
MUSIC AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Music is an integral part of our faith community. It is the heartbeat of worship services, the very breath of our ensembles and a major art form connecting us all together.” – Brent Neuenschwander, Director of Music Ministries/Organist
FPC Music Series
4The First Presbyterian Church Music Series presents local, national, and international artists in concert. Some of these performers include the Dale Warland Singers, the Roger Wagner Chorale, Cantus, the Greg Smith Singers, The King’s Singers and the St. Olaf Choir; as well as internationally acclaimed organists including Marie Claire Alain, E. Power Biggs, Ken Cowan, Maurice and Marie Duruflé, and Virgil Fox.
The First Presbyterian Church Music Series is also proud to host one of the longest running organ competitions in the country. Started in 1960, the National Organ Playing Competition has given up-and-coming young organists a chance to compete with other organists from across the globe. Many of our winners have gone on to become teachers and internationally acclaimed organists. Past winners include Douglas Cleveland, Craig Cramer, Carla Edwards, Paul Jacobs, Wolfgang Rubsam, and Todd Wilson.
The 2023-2024 FPC Music Series is listed below. Admission to all concerts is open to the public and free of charge.
Music Series Schedule
Chancel Choir – Rehearses on Thursdays from 7:00-9:00pm in the Music Room
Handbell Choir – Rehearses on Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm in Room 201
If you enjoy music through singing or ringing handbells, we would love to have you join one of the First Pres choirs. The camaraderie of singing, ringing and learning together is an important part of our faith community and an integral piece of each choir member’s life. All volunteers are welcome and no audition is required. The Chancel Choir is augmented by paid section leaders including local music students, teachers and musicians. Both the Chancel Choir and Handbell Choir rehearse each Thursday evening from Labor Day to Memorial Day. The Chancel Choir sings every Sunday morning at the 11:00am English Worship Service and for special services such as Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and other services while the Handbell Choir plays once a month. During the summer months, a summer choir meets on Sunday mornings at 10am in the Music Room and sings at the 11:00am English Worship Service.
Sanctuary Organ – Aeolian-Skinner, Op. 1255-A (1956)
The Sanctuary organ was built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts. It was installed in 1956. During the early planning stages, the Organ Committee led by Minister of Music, Lloyd Pinkerton and Staff Organist, Jack Ruhl, engaged in a lengthy program of research which included a detailed study of organ building practices in the 1950’s; a survey of organ builders; trips to inspect new organs; personal visits and correspondence with organ authorities throughout the country; accumulation of bids; inspection of an organ comparable to the instrument which the committee eventually recommended for purchase; and an inspection of the factory with which the church was to deal. Before placing the order for the organ, copies of the stop list were sent to fourteen organ authorities in the country for their comments. Only two responses contained reservations. The remainder were full of enthusiasm and congratulations for the prospect of such an excellent instrument being installed in a section of the country that was graced by few quality pipe organs at that time. When it was first installed, the organ contained 76 ranks and over 4500 pipes. The majority of the pipes are located in the rear choir loft, with the Great, Positiv, and part of the Pedal division exposed in a symmetrical arrangement. The Antiphonal division, containing eight ranks is located in a chamber on the north side of the Chancel and is playable on the main console.
In 1958, the 32’ Bombarde was extended and a 16’ Contrabass was added and in 1991, the organ was rebuilt and releathered by Quimby Pipe Organs in Warrensburg, Missouri. The original three manual Aeolian-Skinner console was replaced with a four manual console and the relay equipment was replaced with solid-state organ equipment. John Hendrickson, the former Head Flue Voicer for the Aeolian-Skinner Company did a complete tonal revision. In 2001, a vintage E.M. Skinner French Horn and a new 8’ Skinner-replica Tuba Mirabilis were added by Renaissance Pipe Organ Company from Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2012, all reed ranks except the Rohr Schalmei and Vox Humana were professionally cleaned, restored and revoiced by Oyster Pipe Works, Louisville, Ohio and the French Horn and Tuba Mirabilis were revoiced for increased wind pressure. In 2017, all keyboard mechanisms were replaced and the electrical system was updated to a system by Syndyne Organ Systems. The improvements and maintenance since the early 2000’s have been curated by the Renaissance Pipe Organ Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Chapel Organ – Reuter Organ Company (1959)
After the installation of the Sanctuary Organ, McMillen Chapel was completed and in need of an organ. Dr. John Culp offered to underwrite the cost of a pipe organ as a memorial to his wife. The same intensive research process used in planning the Sanctuary Organ was used for the Chapel instrument. The result was a 13 rank organ built by the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas and installed in 1959. In 1991, while the Sanctuary organ underwent renovations, the Chapel organ also received a complete tonal and mechanical renovation.
Sanctuary Steinway Model B Grand Piano (1968)
Music Room Steinway Model L Grand Piano (1967)
A two-manual William Dowd Harpsichord (1977)
A six-octave set of Malmark Handbells and Tone Chimes
A three-piece Orchestral Timpani Drum Set
Three Yamaha Upright Pianos, a Kurzweil Digital Piano and multiple other pianos
Numerous Orff instruments.