Musicchoir from distance

Music plays a large role in worship at First Church. Under the direction of Brian Schoettler, Minister of Music and Organist, a number of ensembles lead worship with music that is traditional and classically-rooted, interspersed with modern and globally-oriented music.

Ensembles at First Church

      • Cherub Choir (Kindergarten and 1st grade)
      • Children’s Choir (grades 2-6)
      • Youth Ensemble (grades 7-12)
      • Handbell Choir (youth in grades 6-12 and adults)
      • Chancel Choir (youth in grades 9-12 and adults )
      • Gospel Choir (adults and youth in grades 9-12)
      • Worship in the Park Ensemble (adults and youth in grades 6-12)

Please scroll down for rehearsal times and other details.  Click here to view our current rehearsal schedule.

Cherub Choir

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5:00-5:50 p.m.  The Cherub Choir focuses on foundational music skills that will prepare younger children for the Children’s Choir. The Cherub Choir sings in worship once each month and is directed by Bethany Lindner and Melissa Lindner.

Children’s Choir

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5:00-5:50 p.m.  The Children’s Choir continues to build on basic skills – helping children develop their voice and musicianship.  Choristers learn to use the hymnal, read music notation, and sing in harmony. The choir sings in worship once each month.

Handbell Choir

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 6:30-7:20 p.m.  The Handbell Choir plays in worship once each month. Basic music reading skills required (instrumentalists are especially welcome).

Chancel Choir

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 p.m.   The Chancel Choir sings in worship each week and is the core choral ensemble of First Church.  This ensemble is dedicated to presenting the best sacred music from all eras including music by living composers.  In addition to our Wednesday rehearsal, this ensemble meets from 9:30-10:15 a.m. each Sunday for a brief rehearsal before worship.

Gospel Choir

The Gospel Choir typically sings in worship once each month. This ensemble is ideal for those who cannot commit to a weekly rehearsal. Monthly rehearsals take place Sundays 11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  See the website for our rehearsal schedule.

Festival Choir

The Festival Choir is a seasonal choir that prepares for performances of larger choral works with orchestra.  Rehearsals take place Wednesdays 7:30-8:15 p.m. October-November and March-April.  While music reading skills are needed, no audition is required.

Youth Ensemble

The musical youth of First Church perform in worship twice each year on Christmas Eve and Confirmation Sunday.  Youth are also encouraged to join the Festival Choir and Gospel Choir as they are available.


Any instrumentalists interested in sharing their gifts during worship are encouraged to email Brian Schoettler.  During the summer months, our 9:00am Worship in the Park services are lead by an instrumental ensemble consisting of instrumentalists of all ages.


Sanctuary Organ

Our sanctuary is home to a fully renovated Austin organ with six divisions and nearly 5,000 pipes – one of the largest instruments on Chicago’s North Shore.  Click here to view the specifications.

Chapel Organ

Our organ in Tittle Chapel consists of pipework from an Austin organ originally installed in the chapel playable from a new Rodgers console that also integrates electronic pipe samples.  Click here to view the specifications.

Music Ministry Concerts 2019-2020

Festival Choir Concert: Britten’s Best

Friday, November 22, 2019, 7:30 p.m. (Sanctuary)

A birthday tribute to Benjamin Britten including his Hymn to Saint Cecilia & A Ceremony of Carols

98th Annual Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 15, 2019, during the 10:30 a.m. service (Sanctuary)

Featuring the Children’s Choir, and children from our Sunday School and Children’s Chapel

4th Annual Organ Day Concert

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 1:00 p.m. (Sanctuary)

Featuring Brian Schoettler, organist

Festival Choir Concert: Beethoven and Vierne

Friday, April 24, 2020, 7:30 p.m. (Sanctuary)

Choral masterworks including Beethoven’s Mass in C & Vierne’s Messe solennelle


All concerts presented by the Music Ministry of First Church are free and open to the public. 

Worship & Sermon Podcasts

Click here to listen to our weekly FaithatFirst podcast includes the sermon and some of the music from the previous Sunday’s worship service.

Printed Sermons

-September 9, 2018