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 fall rehearsal schedule.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Through the Ages: A Celebration of the North Shore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Sunday, September 24, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
We welcome emcee Carl Grapentine from WFMT as we host a service of organ and choral music by composers from the North Shore. Works by First Church organists Austin Lovelace, Morgan Simmons, and Brian Schoettler are slated for the program which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the chapter. A reception will follow in Glenna Hall.
Festival Choir Concert “Bach and Handel”
Friday, November 17, 2017, 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary
Featuring Bach: Cantata No. 80, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott and Handel: Messiah – Part 1
96th Annual Christmas Pageant
Sunday, December 17, 2017, during 10:30 a.m. worship in the sanctuary
Featuring the Cherub Choir, Children’s Choir, and children from our Sunday School and Children’s Chapel
2nd Annual Organ Day Concert
Sunday, March 18, 2018, 1:00 p.m. in the sanctuary
Featuring Brian Schoettler, organist
All concerts are free and open to the public. Your generous support of our Music Ministry is appreciated.
Festival Choir Concert “Messiah”
Friday, April 13, 2018, 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary
Featuring Handel: Messiah – Parts 2 & 3
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.
Sermons are often available in written form as well.