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

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607

989.754.6565

www.fccsaginaw.org

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pentecost Sunday -- Zarin-Taj Brown to Offer Sung Communion Service

First Congregational Church welcomes jazz artist Shirlene Zarin-Taj Brown to First Congregational Church at 10:30 a.m. on June 12, Pentecost Sunday, when she will collaborate with Nicholas Schmelter in an improvised service of Holy Communion. 

Brown began her career as a radio announcer for Public Radio WLGI (90.97 FM) in Hemingway, South Carolina, and has received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music (Saginaw Valley State University).  A professional, touring vocal artist, she has collaborated with ensembles and pianists in varied musical styles in Europe, Asia, and the United States of America.  Brown has performed with renowned jazz cellist Karen Patterson of New York City, the Motor City Samba of Detroit, and the Michigan Arts International Ensemble directed by Dr. Michael Naylor of Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Her participation with regional jazz combos includes the following collaborations: Jazz Nova Ensemble directed by Tony Rongo of Bay City, Michigan; Mainstreet of Midland, Michigan; Level 5 of Flint, Michigan; and also the Jazz combo Swing Shift under the direction of Kenneth Duquaine, Flint, Michigan.  Brown is featured on several CD releases including John Ebata & Friends (1997), Opus #3 (2001), and her latest release, Simple Treasures (2007).


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homecoming - New Reformation Band to Return - June 5

For more information about the New Reformation Band, visit their website [http://www.newref.com/].

The New Reformation Band will return home to historic First Congregational Church, 403 South Jefferson Street, on Sunday, June 5, at 10:30 a.m., and offer music during the congregation’s weekly worship service.  Members of the public are invited to take part in this unique worship event that will include traditional revival hymns adapted in Dixieland Jazz style, or Traditional Jazz, which is considered to be America's only original art form.

The Oppermann Brothers and Reverend Gary Miller founded the band on February 10, 1970, for a single performance at First Congregational Church. Today, after many decades of existence, The New Reformation Band has given thousands of performances worldwide at jazz festivals and orchestra concerts, in arenas, concert halls, universities, churches, and other settings. 

Following the service, members of First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir and Women’s Fellowship will offer a special homecoming reception in Bradley House for band members Dave Oppermann, Nick Oppermann, Gary Sutton, Dave Bennett, Bob Eastham, John Hill, and Dave Tatrow. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Organ Historical Society - A Welcome Visit


Sixteen participants joined the Michigan Chapter of the Organ Historical Society in its visit to First Congregational Church, 403 South Jefferson Street, last Saturday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m.  Nicholas Schmelter led the group in a tour of the historic facility and the congregation’s two pipe organs.  

The Organ Historical Society is an international organization that seeks members from all levels of interest in the organ. The Society promotes a widespread musical and historical interest in American organbuilding through collection, preservation, and publication of historical information, and through recordings and public concerts. The Organ Historical Society is dedicated to documenting and preserving historic pipe organs and to raising public awareness and appreciation of America's organ heritage.

First Congregational Church’s sanctuary boasts a three-manual, seventy rank organ, built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company of Boston (1930) and enlarged by John F. Shawhan (1965) and Scott Wheeler (1975). This instrument contains historic pipes from Skinner Op. 751 and other additions by Casavant Frères Ltée Op. 2809, and is in urgent need of restoration.  The chapel houses an unaltered two-manual, nine rank pipe organ, built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Inc. (Opus 1327).

Event photos below are courtesty of photographer Robert L. Barker. 

Other information and sound files will soon be available at the website of the Michigan Chapter of the Organ Historical Society [http://www.cabaletta.com/Home.htm].













Monday, May 23, 2011

Organ Project Education - Let's Go!

Recent organ project education events were well attended. 

Eight Friends of Music travelers made the 320-mile day trip from Saginaw, Michigan, to Stambaugh Auditorium to tour the auditorium facility and its renovated Skinner organ.  The instrument at Stambaugh Auditorium (Op. 582) is – in itself – a study of organ building: it embraces a municipal organ design and quality unique among installations in the United States of America and the world.  Op. 582 is a model for the organ committee and congregation of First Congregational Church as maintenance of Op. 751 continues. 

Sixteen guests from all parts of Michigan attended the Organ Historical Society’s tour of First Congregational Church on Saturday, May 21.

Jon Best (Chair, First Congregational Church Organ Committee), committee members, and friends deserve special praise for organizing these two successful projects. 

If you would like to learn more about the congregation’s two historic pipe organs or the sanctuary organ restoration project, please contact Nicholas Schmelter at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The New Reformation Band Returns Home

The New Reformation Band will return home to historic First Congregational Church, 403 South Jefferson Street, on Sunday, June 5, at 10:30 a.m., and offer music during the congregation’s weekly worship service.  Members of the public are invited to take part in this unique worship event that will include traditional revival hymns adapted in Dixieland Jazz style, or Traditional Jazz, which is considered to be America's only original art form.

The Oppermann Brothers and Reverend Gary Miller founded the band on February 10, 1970, for a single performance at First Congregational Church. Today, after many decades of existence, The New Reformation Band has given thousands of performances worldwide at jazz festivals and orchestra concerts, in arenas, concert halls, universities, churches, and other settings. 

Following the service, members of First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir and Women’s Fellowship will offer a special homecoming reception in Bradley House for band members Dave Oppermann, Nick Oppermann, Gary Sutton, Dave Bennett, Bob Eastham, John Hill, and Dave Tatrow. 

Later in the week on the evening of Wednesday, June 8, 2011, First Congregational Church will join the buildings and institutions located on South Jefferson Avenue between Federal and Hoyt, in hosting Jazz on Jefferson, a one-night celebration of musical performances, a classic and antique car show, house tours, an architectural walking tour, and food. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jazz on Jefferson

On the evening of Wednesday, June 8, 2011, Saginaw’s historic South Jefferson Avenue will host Jazz on Jefferson, a one night celebration focusing on the vibrant institutions of South Jefferson Avenue.  Jazz on Jefferson will begin at 5:00 p.m.   Events along the street end at 8:00 p.m., with a free concert by the Robert Lee Revue at First Congregational Church.

Held in the buildings and institutions located on South Jefferson Avenue between Federal and Hoyt, the evening will offer a rich, diverse schedule and will feature a diverse array of performers, a classic and antique car show, house tours, an architectural walking tour and food vendors.           

Participants include:

                        The Castle Museum
                        Hoyt Library
                        First Congregational Church
                        Team One Credit Union
                        Kingdom Life Ministries
                        Cathedral of St. Mary of Assumption

First held in 2004, Jazz on Jefferson is a collaborative event sponsored by the members of the South Jefferson Avenue Events and Marketing Committee.  Members of the Committee include the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History, Hoyt Public Library, Saginaw Choral Society, First Congregational Church and Neighborhood Renewal Services of Saginaw, Inc., Kingdom Life Ministries, Team One Credit Union.  Focusing on the organizations that call Saginaw’s Historic South Jefferson Avenue home, the evening celebrates their diversity, heritage and vibrancy and showcases their resources and the architectural treasures of South Jefferson Avenue.  It brings together arts groups and groups not traditionally associated with the arts to create a unique event for the community.  This is the seventh year for the program.

Jazz on Jefferson is a participant in Saginaw Celebrates Summer supported by Hemlock Semiconductor.  Jazz on Jefferson has received support from an ArtReach grant from Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission and Hausbeck Pickles & Peppers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Composition Will Be Given Premier May 22

The composition “Pentecost” will be given its premier on Sunday, May 22, at 10:30 a.m. worship.  The choral anthem was composed by Nicholas Schmelter in April 2011.  It is scored for chorus, soloist, and piano accompaniment.  First Congregational Church and the Chancel Choir warmly welcome friend Peggy Knutson, who will perform the solo portions of the anthem.  Earlier in 2011, member and poet Marion Frahm Tincknell generously penned the composition’s text, which is fitting for Eastertide, the Pentecost season, or celebrations of music, the fine arts, and creativity.

Eastertide Organ Recital to Take Place May 20

Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, Michigan, will perform a free organ recital at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 2011.  In celebration of Eastertide, the program will include a complete performance of André Fleury’s 6 Chants de Pâques.   The thirty-minute work is seldom heard in its entirety and will be performed on the church’s three-manual, seventy rank organ built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company of Boston 1930 and enlarged by John F. Shawhan (1965) and Scott Wheeler (1975).  The lunch-hour recital is open to the public; introductory tours of the organ will follow the program.  A free-will offering will be taken after the recital to support the overhaul of the historic sanctuary pipe organ, which is in need of repair. 

Friends of Music to Visit Stambaugh Auditorium

First Congregational Church’s Friends of Music will visit Stambaugh Auditorium’s pipe organ on Saturday, May 14, at the invitation of the auditorium’s Executive Director, Phil Cannatti, and President of the Board of Trustees, William Conti. The Stambaugh Auditorium is an ornate public facility in Youngstown, Ohio, that is architecturally modeled in a classical style in the manner of the Pantheon in Paris. Stambaugh Auditorium houses a four-manual, fifty-nine rank pipe organ, built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company of Boston in 1926 that was recently restored by the A. Thompson-Allen Company of New Haven, Connecticut.  The auditorium’s organ was built a few years prior to First Congregational Church’s instrument, Skinner Op. 751, which is in urgent need of repair.  Friends of Music will caravan to Youngstown, tour the facility, and be given a brief recital highlighting the Skinner organ’s unique orchestral tonal colors.  Members of the public are invited to attend for the cost of fuel.  Reservations are required. If you would like to reserve a place in the tour or have any questions about the Youngstown visit, please contact Nicholas Schmelter at the church office center, (989) 754-6565, or Jon Best, (989) 799-9425.