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

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Monday, December 29, 2014

First Congregational Church’s Friends of Music Announce 2015 Events

Friends of Music of Saginaw’s historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Avenue, announce their winter/spring 2015 series of recitals and musical events highlighting regional and national talent.

The first event, taking place on Friday, February 6, 7:00 p.m., is a concert that will benefit the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region and the congregation’s Friends of Music outreach series.  Musicians Mike Brush and Julie Mulady will collaborate in a performance of “The American Songbook” highlighting treasures of the modern repertoire.  According to Brush, “the lyrics and melodies [will] drive the unusual and personal song selection.”  In Mulady’s intimate or sonorous song renderings along with Brush’s expressive and supportive accompaniment, the program will offer an ideal collaboration.

The suggested entrance donation is $20; however, $25 tickets will guarantee seating and access to a “meet the musicians” reception in the church’s Bradley House Theatre.  All proceeds from the event will be split between the CAN Council and First Congregational Church’s Friends of Music.

Mike Brush is well known throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.  A keyboardist and vocalist, Brush has earned a solid reputation as a jazz and blues performer, composer, and educator. He has devoted his songwriting and arranging talents to personal, educational, collaborative, and community-centered creative projects. For the past thirty years he has balanced the demands of teaching music in the Saginaw Public Schools and performance. Mike was the director of the Voice/Keyboard Department at the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy from 1999-2010. In 1985, Mike released Exposed, his first album of original jazz-influenced songs. The album received positive critical response and local airplay. His songs and ensembles have represented Saginaw’s diversity, and in recognition of his work with young people, Mike received the Herman W. Coleman Human Relations Award from the Michigan Education Association, the All Area Arts Award from Saginaw’s enrichment commission, and the Unity Award from the Los Angeles Unified School District. These awards were received in 1997. Brush served as the Grand Marshall of the 1996 Saginaw Pride Parade and received The Saginaw News' Crystal Apple Award in 2006.

For the past ten years, Julie Mulady has gained a reputation as a popular singer and actress in the Saginaw area. Credits include performances with the Saginaw Choral Society, Saginaw Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Eddy Band, and pianist Ralph Furlo. Julie was featured in a January 2004 concert "Julie Mulady – Broadway and More" at First Presbyterian Church in Saginaw.  Julie has delighted audiences in productions at the Theater Guild of Midland and Pit and Balcony Theatre. Julie is an elementary school teacher for the Saginaw Public Schools.

The Exultate Deo Chamber Choir will perform “Music of Holy Week” on Good Friday, April 3, at 7:00 p.m.  Conducted by Robert Sabourin, the choir will sing classic hymns and anthems for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.  Exultate Deo is made up of professional and semi-professional singers from the region who share a love of sacred choral repertoire. Nicholas Schmelter, organist for the program, will play organ voluntaries for each of the three days of Holy Week.  The concert is open to the public free of charge. Donations will be received to provide for future events.

The culminating event of the 2014-2015 Friends of Music Series also completes a year of recitals dedicating the Frances Goll Mills Memorial Pipe Organ.  Marilyn Keiser, an internationally respected organist, will perform a recital on Friday, May 15, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.  Marilyn Keiser is Chancellor’s Professor of Music Emeritus at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, where she taught courses in sacred music and applied organ for twenty-five years.  Prior to her appointment at Indiana University, Dr. Keiser was Organist and Director of Music at All Souls Parish in Asheville, North Carolina, and Music Consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, holding both positions from 1970 to 1983.  A native of Springfield, Illinois, Marilyn Keiser began her organ study with Franklin Perkins, then attended Illinois Wesleyan University where she studied organ with Lillian McCord, graduating with a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree.  Dr. Keiser entered the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she studied organ with Alec Wyton, and graduated summa cum laude in 1965 with a Master of Sacred Music degree.  Her Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary was awarded in 1977.  Upon graduation from Union Seminary, Marilyn Keiser became Assistant Organist of The Riverside Church in New York City, and one year later was appointed Associate Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a position she held from 1966 to 1970.  In constant demand as an organ recitalist and workshop leader, Dr. Keiser has appeared throughout the United States in concerts sponsored by churches, colleges and chapters of The American Guild of Organists.  She has been a featured artist for regional conventions of the AGO as well as for national conventions in Dallas and Washington, where she played with orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in Detroit, where she appeared with the Detroit Symphony.  In addition, she has appeared as featured artist for the International Congress of Organists in Cambridge, England; in concert at the Royal Victoria Hall with the Singapore Symphony; at the American Cathedral in Paris, the Southern Cathedrals Festival in Winchester, England, and the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.  An active member of the AGO, Dr. Keiser has been a member of the national council, has served as national Registrar, a member of the national nominating committee, and Dean of the Western North Carolina chapter.  She holds her Associate, Choirmaster and Fellowship degrees from the Guild.  A virtuoso concert organist, Marilyn Keiser has performed across the United States.  In addition she has given lectures and workshops in church music for all of the major denominations, specializing in music for small churches.  She has been president of the Association of Anglican Musicians, a contributing editor to the hymnal, Ecumenical Praise, has served on the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Church Music and was a consultant to the Hymn Music Committee for the Episcopal Hymnal 1982.  In addition, she served for five years as chairman of the Advisory Board for the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Congregations.  She was one of two alumni of Illinois Wesleyan University chosen for their first annual presentation of Outstanding Young Alumni Awards.  In May of 1995, she was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.  In April 1997 she was presented the Unitas Citation from Union Theological Seminary and in April 1998 she was presented with a Teaching Excellence Recognition Award from the Indiana University School of Music.  She was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Illinois Wesleyan University in February 2002, and was named Chancellor’s Professor at Indiana University in April 2002.   In April of 2013 she was awarded the American Guild of Organists Distinguished Artist Award.

A variety of musicians will offer thirty-minute noonday recitals on Lenten Fridays to supplement the three main concerts.  Brown Bag Lunch concerts will take place in the church’s sanctuary beginning at 12:15 p.m.  A cookie reception will follow in the church’s narthex area.

Robert Hart – Flute
Friday, February 20, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

Nicholas Schmelter – Organ
Friday, February 27, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Carl Angelo – Organ
Friday, March 6, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Steven Egler – Organ
Friday, March 13, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

James Gladstone – Organ
Friday, March 20, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

The Choir of St. Lorenz Middle School
Friday, March 27, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Performers for 2015 Lenten Series Announced

Noonday recitals for the 2015 Lenten season are announced below.
Robert Hart – Flute
Friday, February 20, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.
Nicholas Schmelter – Organ
Friday, February 27, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.
Dr. Carl Angelo – Organ
Friday, March 6, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.
Dr. Steven Egler – Organ
Friday, March 13, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.
James Gladstone – Organ
Friday, March 20, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.
The Choir of St. Lorenz Middle School
Friday, March 27, 2015 | 12:15 p.m.

Friends of Music Series of Recitals - Winter/Spring 2015

The Friends of Music Series of Recitals for Winter-Spring 2015 is announced.  Further information will be published in coming days.
Mike Brush and Julie Mulady - The American Songbook
A Program to Benefit the CAN Council and Friends of Music
February 6, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.

Exultate Deo Chamber Choir - Music of Holy Week
Choral Selections, Hymns, and organ Works for the Sacred Season
Good Friday, April 3, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.
Marilyn Keiser - Organ Recital
A Recital by a Master Organist Completing the Organ Dedication Year
May 15, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 19 - Advent Noonday Recital, James Gladstone

December 19, 2014
12:15 p.m.

James Gladstone

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
David Lowe
(b. 1946)

Once in Royal David’s City                                                                                     
David Cherwien
(b. 1957)

Two Settings of Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her
Johann Sebastian Bach

Two Christmas Hymns for Organ                                                                          
J. Wayne Kerr
(b. 1958)

A Carol Improvisation (“Greensleeves”)                             
Charles W. Ore
(b. 1936)

Prelude on Divinum Mysterium
Thomas Giordano
(b. 1945)

Toccata on “We Three Kings of Orient Are”
Franklin Ashdown
(b. 1942)

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Special Christmas Greeting

2014 was an exciting musical year highlighted by the completion of the Skinner organ project.  In appreciation, and to communicate three beloved Christmas melodies, Nicholas Schmelter is sharing three extemporizations on carols that are available on Soundcloud.  Click the links below to listen to these pieces recorded live in the sanctuary of First Congregational Church on November 24. Thanks to technician Ken Wuepper.

            Angels We Have Heard on High (GLORIA)
            In the Bleak Midwinter (CRANHAM)
            O Little Town of Bethlehem (ST LOUIS)

As always, thank you for your interest in the music ministries and outreach of First Congregational Church and for your generous support.

December 12 - Advent Noonday Recital, Nicholas Schmelter and James Royle

December 12, 2014
12:15 p.m.

Nicholas Schmelter

James Royle


Choral Prelude on “Greensleeves”                                                                         
Alec Rowley

A Christmas Carol                                                                                                   
Alec Rowley


            First Part


1.      Christmas Eve

2.      Marley’s Ghost

3.      The First of the Three Spirits

4.      Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball


Second Part


1.      The Second of the Three Spirits

2.      The Awakening

3.      The Last of the Spirits

4.      Scrooge’s Redemption

5.      Christmas Day

Noonday Recitals Continue December 12

Mark your calendars for the continuation of thirty-minute Advent recitals in the serene sanctuary of First Congregational Church.  A cookie reception will be provided courtesy of the Bridget Fuller Circle.


            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.

Miguel de Sousa - Recital, Friday, December 12

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. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Messiah - Sunday, December 7

The Chancel Choir and guests will offer a musical conveyance of scripture on Sunday, December 7, at 10:30 a.m. The ensemble will offer the first three scenes of Handel’s Messiah.

Isaiah's prophecy of salvation

1. Sinfony      
2. Comfort ye my people (Keith Kidder, tenor)
3. Ev'ry valley shall be exalted (Keith Kidder, tenor)
4. And the glory of the Lord (Chancel Choir)

The coming judgment

5. Thus saith the Lord of hosts (David Ryan, bass)
6. But who may abide the day of His coming (David Ryan, bass)
7. And he shall purify the sons of Levi (Chancel Choir)

The prophecy of Christ's birth

8. Behold, a virgin shall conceive (Allison Dakos, soprano)                         
9. O thou that tellest good tidings (Allison Dakos, soprano, and Chancel Choir)    
10. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (David Ryan, bass)
11. The people that walked in darkness (David Ryan, bass)
12. For unto us a child is born (Chancel Choir)

Susan Mercy and Cynthia Mikulin, violin
Steven Egler, organ
Nicholas Schmelter, harpsichord

December 5 - Advent Noonday Recital, Steven Egler

December 5, 2014
12:15 p.m.

Steven Egler

This recital is generously sponsored by Friends of Music, James and Mary Ann Wilkes.


Fantasia on Veni Emmanuel                                                                                               
Alec Rowley

Improvisation on In dulci jubilo                                                                              
Alec Rowley

In dulci jubilo, BWV 751                                                                             
Johann Sebastian Bach

In dulci jubilo                                                                                                
Dietrich Buxtehude

Veni Emmanuel from Chantworks, Set I                                                                
Gerald Near
(b. 1941)

Postlude on In dulci jubilo                                                                                       
Leo Sowerby