A friend of music at First Congregational Church is someone like you!

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dr. Steven Egler Appointed Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church

Historic First Congregational Church in Saginaw, Michigan, has announced the appointment of organist Dr. Steven L. Egler as Artist in Residence. His one-year term will begin September 1, 2011. As the congregation’s first resident musician, Dr. Egler will make use of the church’s facilities for practice, teaching, and recording purposes, take part in the congregation’s Friends of Music series of recitals, be allowed an office area, be active in the commissioning and premiering of new music for organ and choir, serve as a consultative resource to the church’s music program and organ committee, and take part in Sunday worship and special services as determined by his professional schedule. This titular designation and relationship praises Dr. Egler’s excellence as a professional musician, performer, music educator, scholar, and church musician.

Dr. Steven L. Egler, professor of organ, Central Michigan University, holds the bachelor of music, master of music, and doctor of musical arts degrees in organ performance from The University of Michigan, where he studied organ with Robert Glasgow and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. Additional study has been with Lillian McCord, Catharine Crozier, Charles W. Ore, Quentin Faulkner, and George Ritchie. He has appeared as a soloist, collaborative musician, and clinician throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Norway, and France, and he has performed as a member of the Shelly-Egler Flute and Organ Duo for over thirty-five years. His performances have been featured several times on Pipedreams, and he has performed and given workshops for eight regional and national conventions of The American Guild of Organists and the National Flute Association. He has also taught in six Pipe Organ Encounters sponsored by the A.G.O., and he has adjudicated various organ competitions, including the prestigious National Organ Competition in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Many of his current and former students hold major church and college teaching positions throughout the U.S., and Egler has been honored by his colleagues five times with the Professor Merit Award for his teaching, creative endeavors, and scholarly work. He has been involved with the A.G.O. in many official capacities, including the National Council on which he served as Councillor for Region V and the National Nominating Committee on which he is currently serving as Director. The Shelly-Egler Duo’s CD, The Dove Descending, is available from Summit Records, and Dr. Egler’s first solo CD, When In Our Music God is Glorified, was recorded in 1999 by Prestant Records on the 1997 Casavant organ, Opus 3756, at Central Michigan University. This CD is available from The Organ Historical Society. Dr. Egler’s collaboration with the late Dr. Paul Willwerth, professor of trumpet emeritus at Central Michigan University, resulted in two CD’s: Music for Trumpet and Organ (a remastering of an earlier LP recording) and Ecclesiastical Music for Trumpet and Organ (compositions by Dr. Willwerth). His most recent CD, The Organ Works of Gerald Near, was recorded by White Pine Music and is available from MorningStar Music. An active church musician, Egler has served several churches in Illinois and Michigan for over forty-five years.

First Congregational Church is an acoustically superb building, which dates to 1868, and is located on the corner of Jefferson and Hayden in downtown Saginaw. The congregation is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence and eclecticism in its musical offerings since the 1800’s. The church’s first quartet, formed in 1882, effectively improved the quality of singing in the church. Over the years, musicians including Duke Ellington and Virgil Fox have performed in the sacred space.  The church is one of the finest facilities for music and musical outreach in the region. Its sanctuary boasts a three-manual, seventy rank organ containing historic pipes from Skinner Op. 751 that is presently under renovation.  The chapel houses an unaltered two-manual, nine rank pipe organ, built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Inc. (Opus 1327). Among other instruments First Congregational Church houses two Steinway pianos, two harpsichords, six octaves of handbells, and dozens of recorders, percussion instruments, and Orff instruments.  Music programs for adults and children are a key congregational ministry and take place during the normal academic term.

The Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley, PhD, is the congregation’s Senior Minister.  Nicholas E. Schmelter, MM, a former student of Dr. Egler, is Director of Music Ministries at First Congregational Church, and was appointed to that position in February 2011. 

This photo is courtesty of Robert L. Barker.

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