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.

To join us, email or simply join us at rehearsal.

Ensembles at First Church

      • Children’s Choir (grades 1st-6th)
      • 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.  

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. Rehearsals take place at 9:30am in the Sanctuary on Sundays when the choir sings in worship (see the church calendar). Rehearsal materials are also available in advance.

Festival Choir

The Festival Choir is a seasonal choir that prepares for performances of larger choral works with orchestra.  Rehearsals take place Wednesdays 7:30-8:10 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.

Continuo Organ
Our Fisk continuo organ can be moved between our worship spaces and the variety of registers allows for accompanying a single voice or leading the congregation in song. Click here to view the specifications.

Music Ministry Events 2021-2022

Organ Concert: Eric Plutz plays Vierne

Friday, October 8, 2021, 7:30 p.m. (Sanctuary)

Festival Choir Concert

Friday, November 19, 2021, 7:30 p.m. (Sanctuary)

The Festival Choir & Orchestra of First Church present

Handel’s Messiah (Part I) and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

100th Annual Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 12, 2021, during the 10:30 a.m. service (Sanctuary) Featuring the Children’s Choir, and children from our Sunday School and Children’s Chapel

Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday, January 2, 2022, during the 10:30 a.m. service (Sanctuary)

Organ Concert: Brian Schoettler

Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:30 p.m. (Sanctuary)

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