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

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FCC’s Friends of Music Announce Autumn Series of Events

The Friends of Music of Saginaw’s historic First Congregational Church announce their 2014-2015 series of recitals and musical events highlighting regional and national talent. 

The four autumn events kick off with a September 26, 7:30 p.m., recital by Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, on the recently restored and rebuilt Frances Goll Mills Memorial Pipe Organ.  All donations received at this event will be applied to the congregation’s organ reinvestment fund. Enjoy music by Bach, Beethoven, Buck, Dupré, Grainger, Sowerby, and Wyton. Schmelter graduated in 2006 with a Master of Music degree in organ performance from Central Michigan University, where he studied with Dr. Steven Egler. He has undertaken research in pipe organ design and installation, and has surveyed trends in Roman Catholic organ installations in the United States. In addition, he has researched and performed the music of Marcel Dupré, antiquarian organ music from Great Britain and the United States, and the accompaniments of Victorian choral works. Schmelter was awarded honors at Central Michigan University including a Graduate Fellowship, the Centralis Scholar Scholarship Award, the School of Music Performance Scholarship, and the Presser Foundation Award. He has performed recitals and other tours throughout Michigan as well as in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Milwaukee, and Toronto, Canada. Schmelter has served in many capacities in the

American Guild of Organists. He presently serves the Saginaw Valley Chapter as Dean. A church musician since the age of sixteen, he is an adjunct faculty member at Saginaw Valley State University.

Solo and collaborative pianists Wendy Chu and Yu-Hsuan Yang perform selections by Barber, Bizet, Brahms, and Gershwin at the second recital, October 11, 7:30 p.m.  Observe the sights and sounds of two hands and four hands on the sanctuary’s Steinway piano.  Wendy Wan-Hsing Chu has performed both as a soloist and collaborative artist in Taiwan, Canada, and the U.S.A. She has also taught at Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, and Stella Royce Music Camp. An active member of the Music Teachers National Association, Dr. Chu serves as the Semi-Finals Chair for Central Division of Michigan Music Teachers Association. She has also adjudicated for MMTA. Dr. Chu earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan and Master of Music degree in piano performance and music education from Central Michigan University in 2002. In 2006, she received the Doctor of Music degree in piano performance from Michigan State University. Her principal teachers were Ralph Votapek and Panayis Lyras.  Residing in Saginaw, Dr. Chu teaches privately and at Saginaw Valley State University.  A native of Taiwan, Yu-Hsuan received her Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from National Taiwan Normal University. She completed her Master of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded by the Patricia Joy Arden Scholarship Fund and studied with Dr. Louis Nagel. Yu-Hsuan received the Doctor of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota, where she studied with Alexander Braginsky and was awarded the Mann Fellowship and Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Yu-Hsuan was a prize winner in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and Changhua County Piano Competition and finalist in the University of Michigan’s Concerto Competition. She was also awarded an Honorable Mention in the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. Yu-Hsuan has been invited to perform in the Steinway Peace Piano Concert, the Schubert Club Concert Series, the Grace Academy Faculty Recital, and master classes given by famous pianists including Ieva Jokubaviciute, Read Gainsford, Rebecca Penneys, Hie-Yon Choi, and Arthur Greene. Ms. Yang currently resides in Midland with her husband.

Dr. Steven Egler, Artist in Residence at the First Congregational Church, performs the third recital on the Mills Memorial Pipe Organ on November 14, 7:30 p.m.  Egler has selected works by Bach, Bédard, Hebble, Locklair, Vierne, and Yon.  Instructor of organ at Central Michigan University since the 1970s, Egler holds Bachelor, Master, and Doctor of Music degrees in organ performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied organ with Robert Glasgow and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. Additional study has been with Lillian McCord, Catharine Crozier, Charles W. Ore, Quentin Faulkner, and George Ritchie. He has appeared as a soloist, collaborative musician, and clinician throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Norway, and France, and he has performed as a member of the Shelly-Egler Flute and Organ Duo for over thirty-five years. His performances have been featured several times on Pipedreams, and he has performed and given workshops for eight regional and national conventions of The American Guild of Organists and the National Flute Association. He has also taught in six Pipe Organ Encounters sponsored by the AGO, and he has adjudicated various organ competitions, including the prestigious National Organ Competition in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Many of his current and former students hold major church and college teaching positions throughout the USA, and Egler has been honored by his colleagues five times with the Professor Merit Award for his teaching, creative endeavors, and scholarly work. He has been involved with the AGO in many official capacities, including the National Council on which he served as Councillor for Region V.  The Shelly-Egler Duo’s CD, The Dove Descending, is available from Summit Records, and Dr. Egler’s first solo CD, When In Our Music God is Glorified, was recorded in 1999 by Prestant Records on the 1997 Casavant organ, Opus 3756, at Central Michigan University. This CD is available from The Organ Historical Society. Dr. Egler’s collaboration with the late Dr. Paul Willwerth, professor of trumpet emeritus at Central Michigan University, resulted in two CD’s: Music for Trumpet and Organ (a remastering of an earlier LP recording) and Ecclesiastical Music for Trumpet and Organ (compositions by Dr. Willwerth). His most recent CD, The Organ Works of Gerald Near, was recorded by White Pine Music and is available from MorningStar Music. An active church musician, Egler has served several churches in Illinois and Michigan for over forty-five years including his current appointment as Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church in Saginaw held since 2011.

The fourth autumn program, a piano recital by Miguel de Sousa, will take place on Friday, December 12, at 7:30 p.m.  Miguel Luis Inocencio de Sousa, a traveled classical pianist and coach from Portugal completing an advanced music degree at Central Michigan University, will perform pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Grieg, and Kapustin.  Born in Setubal, Sousa began his musical studies in the Academy of Fine Arts Luisa Todi.  He attended classes with Daniela Ignazzitto in 2006-2007. In 2007, Miguel began a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance at Evora University under Elizabeth Allen and Antonio Rosado. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2010. Since 2009, Miguel has performed solo recitals in Portugal, Sweden, England, Italy, and the United States. In addition to Miguel’s experience as a soloist, he has accompanied small and large ensembles.  Now, while completing a Master of Music degree in piano performance under Dr. Alexandra Mascolo-David at Central Michigan University, de Sousa accompanies many vocal and instrumental students including the CMU Concert Choir.

Three thirty-minute Advent noonday recitals will supplement the autumn calendar.  They will take place in the church’s sanctuary on the Fridays of December as listed below.

Dr. Steven Egler – Organ
Friday, December 5, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.

Nicholas Schmelter – Organ | James Royle – Narrator
Friday, December 12, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.

James Gladstone – Organ
Friday, December 19, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.

Events for winter/spring 2015 will be announced in coming months.

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.

Find below courtesy photos of each fall recitalist.


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