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

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012-2013 Friends of Music Series of Events Announced

The Friends of Music of Saginaw’s historic First Congregational Church announce their 2012-2013 series of recitals and musical events. 
This photo is from the archives of First Congregational Church.

The main four-event series commences October 13 with a visit by composer Robert J. Powell, and it concludes in late April 2013. To supplement, Brown Bag Lunch Organ Recitals begin at 12:15 p.m. during the Fridays of Lent and as advertised.  In addition, a Social Issues Film Series will take place at 7:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month beginning in December.  Films will be presented in First Congregational Church’s Bradley House followed by a brief panel discussion and reception.

What follows is a summary of the 2012-2013 events.  A Musical Birthday Party for Composer Robert J. Powell.  Saturday, October 13, 5:00 p.m.  Join distinguished American composer Robert Powell, who will visit from North Carolina, in an eightieth birthday celebration including select works for organ, piano, voice, and flute.  Soprano Rayechel Neiman will be joined by Toronto flutist Katie Welnetz in the varied musical menu.  A Classical Christmas Tea – Midland Guitar Ensemble. Sunday, December 9, 4:00 p.m.  Angelo Cassar and the Midland Guitar Ensemble return to First Congregational Church in an offering of Christmas music scored for acoustic classical guitar.  A tea reception will be served immediately following the program.  Celtic Music Expanded – Equinox.  Sunday, March 3, 4:00 p.m.  The six musicians of the Celtic ensemble Equinox perform a high-energy program of melodies made contemporary weeks prior to Saint Patrick’s Day and the Vernal Equinox.  Aeolian-Skinner Anniversary Organ Tour.  Saturday, April 27, 10:00 a.m.  Organist Susan Reim welcomes Friends of Music to First Presbyterian Church in Caro to celebrate the anniversary of Aeolian-Skinner’s Opus 1166.  Contact Nicholas Schmelter to reserve a place in the carpool and to take part in the reception luncheon

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.

Music and the performing arts have been a key part of the congregation’s demonstration and outreach for over one hundred years.  The church has offered concerts for the general public welcoming Duke Ellington and Virgil Fox, high school and college choirs, the Saginaw Choral Society, the city’s Jazz on Jefferson street festival, the Friends of Music Series of recitals, and several other events.  It is the birthplace of The New Reformation Band.  Recently, Michigan’s Ninetieth Legislature recognized the key role of the congregation in the preservation of Saginaw’s Cathedral District and in the outreach to the community as a whole: “The example that the members of this church has provided has touched and influenced all the people of Saginaw, and is a tangible demonstration that First Congregational is a church that has not abandoned Saginaw, but rather, keeps working to improve it.”

First Congregational Church’s sanctuary boasts an organ built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company of Boston (1928) that is presently undergoing a major restoration, which will be completed in September 2013. 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.

The congregation’s comprehensive music programs have attracted for decades professional and amateur musicians, music educators, and enthusiasts.  More than fifty choir members and Friends of Music serve as the program’s on-site technical base that is almost entirely volunteer.  In 2011, the congregation welcomed Dr. Steven L. Egler, Professor of Organ at Central Michigan University, as its first Artist in Residence. 

Dozens of Friends of Music initiatives take place annually and are self-sustaining.  These events bring together regional artists of all ages and skill. 

If you would like more information about the Friends of Music or if you would like to support the series of events, please contact Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565, or visit the group’s blog, http://fcc-musicfriends.blogspot.com/.

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