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

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Egler's Faculty Recital Received Highest Praise

Dr. Steven L. Egler, Professor of Organ at Central Michigan University and Artist in Residence of the First Congregational Church in Saginaw, performed a recital at CMU on September 11 to a near capacity audience at the university's Staples Family Recital Hall.  The performance received an instantaneous standing ovation by the enthusiastic crowd.  Photos of the recital are courtesy of Robert L. Barker.  Captions are beneath each image.

The event's ticket.

The recital program's cover.

The recital program's listing of repertoire.

Egler performs at the console of Casavant Op. 3756.

Fiste and Kiesgen pose to the left of Egler.

Egler greets performance hall patron Sam Staples and Nicholas Schmelter.

FCC member Ken Wuepper, organ curator of Saginaw's Temple Theatre, congratulates Egler on his performance while Jonathan Best, Chair of the Organ Committee of First Congregational Church, awaits the opportunity to speak with the performer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Composer Powell Celebrates 80th Birthday at Special Musical Event

Nationally recognized composer Robert J. Powell celebrates his eightieth birthday with the Friends of Music of Saginaw’s First Congregational Church.  He will take part in a musical recital, and the public is invited on Saturday, October 13, at 5:00 p.m. at the church’s historic 405 Jefferson Ave. location.  This is the first in the series of musical events offered during the 2012-2013 season.  The cost of the event is free, but the suggested donation of $10 will help defray event expenses.

The recital, sponsored as part of a two-day event with the support of First Congregational Church’s Friends of Music, Trinity Episcopal Church (Bay City), and the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, will include select works for organ, piano, voice, and flute.  Soprano Rayechel Neiman will be joined by Toronto flutist Katie Welnetz in the varied musical menu.  Nicholas Schmelter will accompany on the organ and piano.

Robert J. Powell, who received a Bachelor of Music Degree in organ and composition from Louisiana State University and a Master of Sacred Music Degree from Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music in New York, has composed hundreds of pieces for organ, instrumental ensembles, and choir. Powell has served in many church positions during his professional career including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Meridian, Mississippi, St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, and Christ Church, Greenville, South Carolina. 

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.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Share Musical Memories

What organ-related musical memories do you have at First Congregational Church?  Nicholas Schmelter is preparing a scrapbook of these archives and hopes to include archives and first-hand accounts.

Taken from the congregation's archives, the postcard photo is from Christmas 1966. 

A Musical Birthday Party for Robert Powell

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Euchre Tournament Slated - Participants Needed

The music ministries of First Congregational Church are planning a euchre tournament for two-person teams on October 21 at 6:00 p.m.  The event will include food, cards, and prizes. Please contact Nicholas Schmelter or Bryan Cook to communicate your interest and sign up.  

Stories About FCC's Pipe Organs

Do you have any memories, stories, or historic photos of the pipe organs at First Congregational Church?  Do you have the recital program from when Virgil Fox visited our instrument?  Nicholas Schmelter is preparing a scrapbook of these archives and hopes to include archives and first-hand accounts.

Taken from the congregation's archives, the first historic photo is from the 1920s.  The six visible organ pipes did not sound.  Note the divided choir.  From the 1970s, the second photo documents the rear balcony, glass windows, and full congregation following the post-fire rebuild of the sanctuary.