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, January 31, 2012

First Congregational Church Hosts Lenten Noontime Recitals

Friday noontime recitals continue at First Congregational Church in downtown Saginaw, Michigan, during the season of Lent.  The first of six programs takes place on Friday, February 24, 2012, and continues until Friday, March 30, 2012.  All recitals begin at 12:15 p.m.

Several musicians from the region will perform recitals in the church’s sanctuary and chapel during the months of February and March:  Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, will perform on February 24; Patricia Bowen, Principal Organist at Trinity Lutheran Church, Midland, will perform on March 2; Dr. Christopher Urbiel, Minister of Music at Saint Sebastian Catholic Church, Dearborn Heights, and the Choral Director at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, will perform on March 9;  Jantz Black, Organist at First United Methodist Church, Midland, will perform on March 16; Dr. Steven Egler, Professor of Organ at Central Michigan University and Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, will perform with assisting musicians, James Hargett and Beverly Westervelt, on March 23;  and Nicholas Schmelter will perform, once again on March 30.

From the compositions of Brahms to a survey of the sacred music of Richard Proulx, the noonday programs will include a diversity of repertoire.  Music will be performed on any number of instruments: voice, clarinet, oboe, piano, and organ.  First Congregational Church’s chapel pipe organ, Op. 1327, built by the firm Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston, will be featured in several of the recitals.

Each performance is sponsored by the Friends of Music, who support the musical happenings of First Congregational Church.  Admission to the noonday recitals is open to the public and free, but donations are welcomed to support the needed maintenance of the congregation’s historic sanctuary organ by Ernest M. Skinner and to promote the ongoing outreach of the Friends of Music Series.

The congregation is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence in musical outreach and community service since the 1800’s. The Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley, PhD, is the congregation’s Senior Minister.  If you would like more information, please contact Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Piano Potpourri Proceeds Posted to Organ Fund

One hundred guests attended Dr. Carl Angelo’s January 29 “Piano Potpourri” concert, which included piano masterworks Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5 (Brahms), 32 Variations in C Minor (Beethoven), Toccata in D Minor, BWV 913 (Bach), and excerpts from Songs Without Words (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy).  The $926 retiring collection from Dr. Carl Angelo’s “Piano Potpourri” concert has benefited the congregation’s Organ Fund.    

Central Michigan University Chamber Singers “Sing All Day” - February 19

On Sunday, February 19, the twenty-four members of Central Michigan University’s Chamber Singers will perform a 4:00 p.m. choral concert at historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson, in downtown Saginaw, Michigan.  The public is invited to attend the program entitled Sing All Day, which offers an eclectic mix of choral music, the collaborative forces of a string quartet, and a harpist, Sylvia Norris. 

Among other compositions, the Chamber Singers will perform familiar spirituals by Harry Burleigh and André Thomas; selections on Cuban and Haitian melodies by Brian Tate and Sydney Guillaume; excerpts from Robert H. Young’s Missa Brevis; favorites by Felix Mendelssohn and Gerald Finzi; “For the Beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter in which guest ensembles, including First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir, will collaborate; and, John Corigliano’s Fern Hill, a setting of lyrical texts by poet Dylan Thomas, featuring mezzo-soprano Taylor Stevens.    

Admission to the afternoon program is free, but a retiring collection will be taken to support the Friends of Music Series.  A reception hosted by First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir will take place in the congregation’s Bradley House following the concert.

The Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson, is Central Michigan University’s most highly selective ensemble of 20-30 singers, primarily upperclassmen and graduate students. Krystal Thomas is the choir’s accompanist.  The Chamber Singers perform the highest quality music of all periods, but they focus on the literature of the Renaissance and other choral chamber music. Recent works include Bach’s Lobet Den Herrn, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Magnificat, Brahms’ Zigeunerlieder and Liebeslieder Walzes, Ravel’s Trois Chansons, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. Chamber Singers have been honored to sing the premier performance of many new choral works, to perform at regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference, and to perform in Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, and China. Their concert tour to Ireland and France in May 2007 included performances in cathedrals and halls in Dublin, Paris, and Chartres. The Chamber Singers are also pleased to host the annual Vocal Chamber Music Day where guests have included Chanticleer, the Kings Singers, Cantus, and the Brazeal Dennard Ensemble.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pennies for Pipes

Children of First Congregational Church will be presented with penny boxes; even boys and girls can help contribute sacrificial offerings to the organ fund.

Penny contributions were instrumental in the purchase of the large rose window at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio.  The window depicts scenes from the life of Mary, and was financed through the donation of pennies by children throughout the diocese.  Skinner Op. 820 is located at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Cents also helped build the monumental municipal organ in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“One of the most noteworthy municipal auditorium organs built by the Skinner firm was the four-manual, eighty-four stop instrument installed in the Municipal Auditorium, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1921.  The St. Paul Auditorium Skinner was ‘bought by the public through subscriptions … [and] pennies donated by school kids and the like.’  The entire cost of the instrument was raised in an Organ Fund Campaign lasting from New Year’s Day, 1920, to 10 March of that same year, culmination in the signing of the $62,000 contract by Ernest Skinner, who personally ‘visited St. Paul to look over the Auditorium in which the organ [was] to be placed.’” [Holden, The Life and Work of Ernest M. Skinner, p. 81]


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Group of Choristers Visit Historic Temple Theatre

A group of choristers from First Congregational Church visited the historic Temple Theatre on Wednesday, January 18, courtesy of Ken Wuepper, curator of the Barton Organ.  In addition to touring the facility and the organ chambers, the four girls were given the opportunity to play the instrument.  “An organ can actually have drums and cymbals!” was exclaimed by at one point of the demonstration by a visiting chorister. 
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Singing Valentines - A Simple Way to Say "I Love You"

What is a special way to share the words and expression “I love you,” with your beloved?  FCC’s Music Ministries, Nicholas Schmelter, and Malia and Marilyn Farley will provide an option following worship on February 12. Bradley House will be home to songs and acts dedicated to the one (or the ones) you love.  Purchase a singing valentine or “valenmine” for a loved one for a minimum gift of $25, which will benefit the church’s music ministries. Contact Marilyn Farley, 626.475.0320, about sharing hugs and kisses through mime.  Phone Nicholas Schmelter at the church office center, 989.754.6565, if you would like to reserve any of the following pieces arranged for your special someone – requests are attended in the order they arrive:

“As Time Goes By” (Hupfeld);
“My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers and Hart);
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Howard);
“Lover Come Back to Me” (Romberg and Hammerstein);
“My Wild Irish Rose” (Olcott);
“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (Ball); and,
“’S Wonderful” (Gershwin).


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dr. Carl Angelo Returns to First Congregational Church for Piano Potpourri

Dr. Carl Angelo will return to Saginaw’s historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson, to perform a recital on the Steinway & Sons piano, which was restored in 2009.

Piano masterworks including Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5 (Brahms), 32 Variations in C Minor (Beethoven), Toccata in D Minor, BWV 913 (Bach), and excerpts from Songs Without Words (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) are included in the recital Piano Potpourri, part of the congregation’s Friends of Music Series of concerts.  The performance begins at 4:00 p.m. on January 29, 2012.  Admission to the afternoon recital is free, but a retiring collection will be taken to support the needed maintenance of the congregation’s historic organ by Ernest M. Skinner and to promote the ongoing outreach of the Friends of Music Series.

Carl Angelo is a 1991 graduate of Indiana University with a doctorate in organ performance. He has a B.M. degree in Music Education and a M.M. degree in Sacred Music from Kent State University and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honorary Society. He has performed organ, piano, and chamber concerts in Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and Michigan. His organ teachers have included Larry Smith, John D. Herr, and John Ferguson. 

Dr. Angelo also received extensive piano training from Nellie Whittaker (a pupil of Guy Maier), Robert Palmieri (Kent State University), and has coached additionally with Dr. Gary Wolf (University of Central Florida). Dr. Angelo has lectured and performed for the American Matthay Piano Festival, and has also co-edited with Marie Hasse materials based upon the ideas of Matthay pupil Helen Parker Ford.

Dr. Angelo is the organist and handbell director at First Presbyterian Church of Flint, Michigan, and prior to this appointment, he directed First Congregational Church’s comprehensive music program including the congregation’s Musical Arts Series. Dr. Angelo has served churches Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. In addition, he is the pianist for the Saginaw Choral Society and an adjunct piano and organ instructor at Saginaw Valley State University.

First Congregational Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence in musical outreach and community service since the 1800’s. The Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley, PhD, is the congregation’s Senior Minister.  If you would like more information, please contact Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 15 - Music of the Taizé Community

Music from the Taizé community will be highlighted at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning worship, January 15.  Repertoire will be taken from  Music from Taizé, first published in 1982.

The Congregation of First Congregational Church will be led in reflective worship by members of The Chancel Choir, First Congregational Church, Angelo Cassar (Classical Guitar), Linda Hargett (Clarinet), and Beverly Westervelt (Oboe).

More information about Taizé can be found at the community website and in an excerpt taken from the British Broadcasting Corporation.