First Church has a tradition of excellent music in worship, which is liturgical and rooted in the lectionary. Led by Brian Schoettler, Minister of Music & Organist, musicians of all ages sing and play the best sacred music from all eras including music by living composers.

Ensembles at First Church

      • Children’s Choir (grades K-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.

Children’s Choir

Rehearsals:Wednesdays 5:15-6:00 p.m. (K-6th) rehearsals in the Choir Room (3rd Floor). The Children’s Choir develops foundational music skills and prepares children to lead worship.  Choristers learn to use the hymnal, read music notation, and sing in harmony. The choir sings in worship once each month (October-May).

Handbell Choir

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 6:30-7:15 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 led 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

Mark Miller Workshops and Concert

Saturday, March 7, 2020, daytime sessions, 7:30 p.m. concert in the Sanctuary

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.