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

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Monday, May 21, 2012

First Congregational Church Receives Pentecost Score “I Will Pour Out My Spirit” By Composer Philip Rice

Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, Michigan, announces the receipt of a commissioned anthem for Pentecost written by award-winning composer Philip Rice. Scored for SATB choir and organ, “I Will Pour Out My Spirit” is written for Dr. Steven Egler, Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church.  The anthem’s text is taken from Acts 2:17-21; 26-28, and 18th century hymns by John Jacobi and Augustus Toplady. 

Philip Rice (b. 1988) is a composer of sacred and secular vocal and instrumental works. He has studied with Stefan Young (a student of Nadia Boulanger), David Gillingham, and has received additional instruction from composers Sven-David Sandström, Tom Cipullo, Cindy McTee, and Roberto Sierra. He graduated with distinction from Westminster Choir College with a MM in composition in 2012, and summa cum laude from Central Michigan University with a BM degree in composition and theory in 2010. He is currently pursuing a DMA at Michigan State University. Rice has won several prizes for his compositions including awards from Chanticleer, The Kansas University Choral Society, SibeliusMusic.com, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Central Michigan University, Westminster Choir College, and others. Rice's works have received performances by a variety of ensembles in the United States and abroad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For the Children – May 20, 3:00 p.m.

For the Children 2012, a program that celebrates the creative contributions and talents of young persons in the community and benefits the mission of the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region, will take place in the in the historic sanctuary of First Congregational Church on May 20 at 3:00 p.m.  Join several young performers offering music and drama including of the Heritage High School String Ensemble, Ivy Holland, David Brown, Travis Coughran, Lauren Fischer, Annie Kidder, Angela Noah, and Rev. Dr. Todd Farley.  The event is free and open to the public.  Following the program For the Children, members of the Women’s Fellowship and Youth and Family Ministries, First Congregational Church, and friends of CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region, will serve a dessert reception in Bradley House.  There, John and Katrina Vowell, representing the local organization Major Chords for Minors, will also provide hospitality and a reception table at which children will have the chance to see, hear, and play musical instruments.  The photos below of For the Children 2011 are courtesy of Beverly Westervelt.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Concert Choirs Collaborate on Saturday, May 12

First Congregational Church’s Friends of Music welcome the Concert Choirs of Mount Pleasant High School (Mount Pleasant, Michigan) and John Glenn High School (Bay City, Michigan) for their spring combined concert conducted by Brandi Brauker and Adam Gardner.  The performance will take place on Saturday, May 12, at 2:00 p.m. at historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Ave., Saginaw, 48607.

What follows is a list of repertoire for the concert.

“Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” (Moses Hogan)
“Elijah Rock” (Moses Hogan)

Five Hebrew Love Songs (Eric Whitacre)
                        Mary Harrast, violin
Calla Ringgenberg, piano
Requiem  (John Rutter)

The performance of Rutter’s Requiem features Ellen Alexandrou (flute), Allison Smith (oboe), Jacob Webster (cello), Sylvia Norris (harp), Nicholas Schmelter (organ), Dakota Camerena  (timpani), and Lawrence Chen (glockenspiel).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Congregational Church Welcomes Community During Jazz on Jefferson Street Festival

First Congregational Church welcomes the community to its historic facility during the ninth annual celebration Jazz on Jefferson, a one-night festival hosted by the vibrant institutions of Saginaw’s historic South Jefferson Avenue between Federal and Hoyt, which will take place on the evening of Wednesday, June 6, 2012.  Jazz on Jefferson brings together arts organizations, performers, vendors, and the public to create Saginaw’s premiere summer street festival. Events begin at 5:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. with a free concert at First Congregational Church by Zarin-taj – Jazz Singer / Entertainer, and her team of jazz musicians from the Midwest including Arlene McDaniel (piano), Eugene Rebeck (bass), Jim Cooper (vibraphone), Steve Rodriguez (saxophone), and Ian LeVine (percussion).

Members of First Congregational Church will direct walking tours of the church campus including the sanctuary, which dates to the 1860s and boasts windows by Tiffany & Co. and A. J. Timler and a pipe organ by Ernest M. Skinner of Boston.  Children are invited to take part in crafts in the remodeled upstairs education wing of Suttner Hall.

The Dow House, built by Midland architect Alden B. Dow in 1936, serves as parsonage for the congregation’s minister.  Built of concrete blocks, it is a modern design. It, too, will be included in the tour of the church facility. 

The annual Spring Into Art show that has occurred each May and June for the last three decades is centered in the John Iliff Chapel, designed by Peter Frantz in the 1950s.  Spring Into Art is a month-long celebration of art highlighting the work of regional artists, who are invited to submit exhibit entries.  Original works of media including paintings, drawings, collages, fibres, and ceramics are accepted. 

Members of the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will perform pipe organ demonstrations on the chapel’s pipe organ, built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston in 1956.  Dr. Steven Egler, Artist in Residence of First Congregational Church, and Patti Bowen, one of the congregation’s Friends of Music, will join Nicholas Schmelter in performing jazz-inspired organ music every half hour.

Theatre on the lawn will be offered in sets and facilitated by the congregation’s Director of Christian Education and Youth, Angie Noah, who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre (Goshen College). “Scenes from the Streets” is the title of the collection of pieces including the following shorts: “I Am Not Batman” by Marco Ramirez is about a street kid with a stomach full of store brand macaroni and cheese who fulfills the ultimate Batman fantasy; “Through the Eyes of a Child” is a drama devised by Annie Kidder, Travis Coughran, and Lauren Fischer; “Altered Perceptions: A ‘Wicked’ Stepsister’s Tale” by Angie Noah is an original comedy sketch featuring text from Michigan native, author James Finn Garner.  The Farley Family Mime including the Rev. Dr. Todd Farley, an understudy of Marcel Marceau, will also take part.

The street festival culminates with an 8:00 p.m. concert that is free to the public by Shirlene (Zarin-taj) Brown, who 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, Zarin-taj (“Crown of Gold”) 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. 

Brown’s 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).  She presently serves as the jazz singer / entertainer at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where she performs regularly at the Water Lily Lounge.

First held in 2004, Jazz on Jefferson is a collaborative event sponsored by the members of the South Jefferson Avenue Events and Marketing Committee. Member organizations include the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History, Public Libraries of Saginaw (Hoyt Branch), Saginaw Choral Society, First Congregational Church, Team One Credit Union, Kingdom Life Ministries, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, and South Jefferson Avenue residents. The evening marks the diversity, heritage, and vibrancy of these organizations and displays the architectural treasures of South Jefferson Avenue. June 5, 2013, is tentatively marked as the tenth anniversary celebration of Jazz on Jefferson.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friends of Music - Patrons for 2011-2012

The Friends of Music Series expresses gratitude to the following generous individuals for their financial support of the musical goings on and outreach of First Congregational Church during the 2011-2012 season.  If you have made a contribution and your name has been inadvertently omitted from the list of financial supporters, please accept our apologies and call 989.754.6565, or you may e-mail the Artistic Director, Nicholas Schmelter, n.schmelter.fccsaginaw@gmail.com.  Please be generous with your support of upcoming initiatives.

As of 2 May, 2012:

ANGELS ($1000+)
Mr. George Burrows IV (in memory of Lydia Burrows)

BENEFACTORS ($500-999)
Mr. and Mrs. James Kanitz

SPONSORS ($150-499)
Dr. Carl Angelo
Mr. L. Kenneth Bublitz
Mr. and Mrs. William A. Crane
Mrs. Max Fisher
Mr. and Mrs. David Homan
Mr. Harold Nadler
Mr. and Mrs. John Stark
Rev. and Mrs. Charles Stuart
Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Tincknell
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wuepper

PATRONS ($50-149)
Anonymous (in honor of middle school music teachers)
Ms. Ruth Averill
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Becker (in memory of Thomas Fry)
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Best
Ms. Sue Duncan (in memory of Robert Chandler)
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Eggers
Mrs. Ruth Enszer
Mrs. Helen Fry
Mr. Timothy Harris (in memory of George Harris)
Mrs. Enid Hausding
Ms. Nancy Lawrence
Mr. and Mrs. Timothy McCulloch
Mrs. Joan McGlaughlin (in memory of Thomas Fry)
Dr. James L. Mitchell
Mrs. Eleanor Olson
Mrs. Eleanor Olson (in memory of Betty Ostler)
Mr. and Mrs. William Ostler
Mr. and Mrs. William Ostler (in memory of Joey Prine)
Mr. John Phillips
Mr. and Mrs. James Royle (in honor of chorister Maxwell Royle)
Rev. William Taylor
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Thibaudeau

FRIENDS ($1-49)
Mr. and Mrs. Ken Block
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cline
Ms. Janet J. Crane
Mrs. Helen Fry (in memory of Betty Ostler)
Mrs. Helen Fry (in memory of Thomas Fry)
Mr. and Mrs. John Furlo
Mr. Peter Frantz
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gulliver
Mr. and Mrs. David Holmgren
Mrs. Dorothy Hughes
Mr. and Mrs. James Kaylor
Mr. and Mrs. Blair Konn
Ms. Suzanne Marvosh
Mrs. Dorothy Moll (in memory of Mary Williams)
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Murphy (in honor of all who protect our freedom)
Ms. Christine Nicewicz
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Thibaudeau (in honor of Nicholas Schmelter and Angela Noah)
Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Stewart (in memory of Gary Copeland)
Ms. Beverly Westervelt
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wuepper (in honor of Dr. S. Egler and Nicholas Schmelter)
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wuepper (in memory of Joey Prine)

Please mail contributions to the First Congregational Church Friends of Music Series, 403 South Jefferson Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48607, and make checks payable to “First Congregational Church” with “Friends of Music Series” on the memo line.