Music is a wonderful gift from God.  Our earliest recorded Hebrew scriptures reveal that music has been central to worship from the beginning.  Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we are instructed to “sing a new song to the Lord,” and to “praise God with strings and pipe!”  This rich tradition continues around the world and here at First Church.


With all the changes in our personal and church family routines, our carillon provides an opportunity for some level of “normalcy” during this difficult time. I am pleased to tell you that our wonderful carillonneur, Tanya Lukyanova, will continue to play the carillon on the first Sunday morning of the month through the summer. Specific time will be announced, so that, if you would like, you can come to the church and listen from your car. I also see this as a nice gesture to the neighborhood.


‘The Bells of First Church’

A big THANK YOU to all who attended our shortened but still wonderful Bells of First Church carillon concert series in July! Our two skilled performers each gave us an evening of enchantment with tunes both new and familiar, some taking us back to our childhoods. We enjoyed pleasant weather and near-record crowds. As always, many attendees are not affiliated with First Church, but are members of the community who look forward to these concerts year after year. I spoke with many of them who were eager to tell me how grateful they were that these concerts took place this year, when nothing else in their lives feel normal. I even got a voicemail from an anonymous neighbor of the church who called to thank us on the final night. Such a great outreach!

Special thanks to our own Tatiana (“Tanya”) Lukyanova, who not only played brilliantly on the final night, but who also shares her exceptional talents with us monthly on Sunday mornings. We are indeed fortunate to enjoy her gifts, as we also are for the generosity and foresight of the Stanley family whose legacy lives on in the gift of this amazing instrument!

(To those of you who didn’t attend these concerts, two words: “Next year!”)

~Jim Gower, Dir. of Music Ministries


If you’re like me, there may be times in this period of isolation when you have to stop and think what day it is. So it was a bit of a jolt when I was reminded that, were this a normal year, this is when our wonderful CHOIR would be wrapping up its 2019-2020 season. So even though we haven’t  and won’t be blessed with hearing the CHOIR in the near future, I would be remiss not to mark this occasion with a very sincere expression of appreciation for this dedicated band. As I always say, in any church, the CHOIR demands more commitment of time and energy of its members than any other lay body within the congregation. And the result of their hard work is beautiful music that helps us worship and brings us closer to God week after week. Our mission is infinitely enhanced by our outstanding section leaders. In this time as we’re all more conscious of personal health and safety, the role of the CHOIR is even more appreciated as we learn from science that group singing is one of the most risky activities in terms of potential virus spread. So as we thank our CHOIR, we all look forward to the day when we can safely gather again to sing God’s praises.

The Organ

The pipe organ has rightly been called “The King of Instruments.”  Reigning over our sanctuary from the rear gallery is a glorious instrument built in 1962 by Austin Organs, Incorporated, of Hartford, Connecticut.  The organ, consisting of 3,135 pipes in five divisions, is played from a console of three manuals (keyboards) and pedals.  It is a versatile instrument, capable of accompanying choirs, leading the congregation in song, and displaying organ literature of all historical periods in concert. Capable of everything from a subtle murmur to thundering bombast, it is one of the largest pipe organs in the region, its value second only to the building and property.