Music and Music Education

Senior Choir:

The Senior Choir sings virtually every Sunday in worship from September through early June, as well as during special services throughout the year. The group presents a great variety of music, ranging from the simple to the more challenging. Each year we strike a balance of new music and older, more familiar pieces. Previous experience singing in a choir is very helpful but not a requirement.

Rehearsal: Thursday evenings 7:30-9:15 pm in the Choir Room.

Youth Choir:

Girls and boys, ranging in age from 5th grade to high school, perform September through early June at the weekly 9:30 am Sunday service. These youth gain confidence and poise, learn to read music, and have the opportunity to sing an extensive repertoire of sacred music, often in conjunction with the Senior Choir. In addition to weekly rehearsals, singers occasionally participate in other concerts.

Rehearsal: Friday afternoons, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm in the Choir Room.

Training Choir:

The Training Choir consists of boys and girls grades 2 through 4. No previous singing experience is necessary, and members who do not regularly attend our church are welcome. Throughout the year, the group is introduced to a variety of music styles and periods and will learn skills such as singing in parts.  The Training Choir is under the direction of Jennifer Shaw.

Rehearsal: Sunday mornings, 11:00-11:45 am in the Choir Room.

Occasional Choir:

As its name suggests, the Occasional Choir provides an opportunity for adults, youth and children, grades 1 and up, to come together and prepare one or two pieces of music without the commitment to a regular choir schedule. Singing dates are designated for two or three Sundays in the year, and those who are interested will gather after Sunday services a few weeks in advance to rehearse. No choral experience is required.

Handbell Choirs

The Handbell Choirs offer opportunities for musicians of all levels — beginners to experts — to make a “joyful noise” with either bells or chimes during the worship service. Beginning with the Chime Choir for children in Grades 1 through 5, and progressing to the Shrewsbury Ringers, our highest level handbell choir, members build on their musical experience and technique as they enjoy the camaraderie and friendship of a small ensemble. The handbell choirs perform at various times throughout the year during services, and may participate in other activities, such as occasional “Pops” concerts and community events. The five-octave set of Schulmerich handbells were a gift to the church from the late Mrs. Helen Stolnacke in memory of her husband Carl and their sons, Robert and Alan. If you are interested in ringing in one of these bell or chime choirs, please contact the church music director at [email protected]

Shrewsbury Ringers

The Shrewsbury Ringers is a 5-octave ensemble of experienced English handbell ringers in residence for more than 40 years at the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury. A major component of the church’s music ministry, this bell choir has developed a reputation as one of the leading bell groups in the region. They perform once or twice a month during the regular season and at holiday services, and perform at occasional events in the greater Worcester area.

Rehearsal: Wednesday evenings 6:30-7:30 pm

“In the Bleak Midwinter” by the Shrewsbury Ringers

Parish Pealers

The Parish Pealers is a second choir of experienced and intermediate level ringers, and was established in 2003. This choir has also performed at various events in the community.

Rehearsal: Wednesday evenings 7:30-8:30 pm

Chime Choir

Chime Choir (also sometimes called the “Chimers”) is a musical experience for children in grades 1 through 5.  Children learn basic techniques of rhythm and music reading. They play at several church services throughout the year. Chime Choir prepares these young musicians for future participation in the Handbell Choir. New members are welcome to join throughout the year. The Chime Choir is under the direction of Elaine Shaw.

Rehearsal: Friday afternoons 4:00-5:00 pm

Music Internship

We encourage the development of young musicians in our church and community. In a day and age when many churches suffer from dwindling numbers of adults with musical skills and experience, our church can make a difference! To that end, the Music Committee designates youth on a yearly basis for internships. Internships recognize musical excellence and foster youth leadership in the Music Ministry. Several interns have gone on to professional careers in music, and many continue to practice music in their lives well beyond their college days and into adulthood, often in church music. For more information, please contact the church music director at [email protected]

Church instrumental opportunities:

Members of the church and community who play an instrument are invited to play in services and other special events, either as a soloist or in ensembles with other players. Please contact the church music director at [email protected] if you’re interested in playing. The more we know about your musical talents and abilities the more opportunities we can plan to involve you in this way!

Our Instruments

The church is blessed with a collection of beautiful musical instruments. Here are some of our most important:

  • Casavant Frères, opus 2446, 1958, 3 manual, 27 ranks
  • J. W. Walker, 1996, 1 manual, 6 ranks
  • Steinway model “O” grand piano in excellent condition, as well as numerous other teaching and rehearsal pianos
  • Zuckermann harpsichord, one manual, 8’, 8’ & 4′
  • Schulmerich Handbells, 5 octaves
  • Malmark Handchimes, 1 set of 4 octaves, and a 2nd set of 3 octaves.

Coming Up:

Aug
14
Fri
2020
Chimers
Aug 14 @ 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Youth Singers
Aug 14 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Aug
16
Sun
2020
Training Choir
Aug 16 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Training Choir

The Training Choir consists of boys and girls grades 2 through 4. No previous singing experience is necessary, and members who do not regularly attend our church are welcome. Weekly Sunday rehearsals focus on vocal development, reinforcing choral habits, reading music, and enjoyment of the choral experience. Throughout the year, the group is introduced to a variety of music styles and periods and will learn skills such as singing in parts. These young choristers begin to understand their importance to our worship by leading hymns or anthems approximately twice per month during the Sunday service. An extra singing opportunity– such as participating in a show or larger choral work– is often part of each choir season. The Training Choir is under the direction of Jennifer Shaw.

Come to Rehearsal: Sunday mornings, 11:00-11:45 am in the Choir Room. No sign-up required, come as you are!

Aug
19
Wed
2020
Shrewsbury Ringers
Aug 19 @ 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm
Shrewsbury Ringers

The Shrewsbury Ringers is a 13-member ensemble of experienced English handbell ringers in residence for about 35 years at the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury. A major component of the church’s music ministry, this bell choir has developed a reputation as one of the leading bell groups in the region. They perform once or twice a month during the regular season and at holiday services, and perform at occasional events in Worcester County, including the Boar’s Head Festival performed by the Master Singers of Worcester and other events at Mechanics Hall.

Wednesday evenings 6:15-7:30 pm

Parish Pealers
Aug 19 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Parish Pealers

The Parish Pealers is a second choir of experienced and intermediate level ringers, and was established in 2003. This choir has also performed at various events in the community, including the handbell festival Christmas concert at First Baptist Church in Worcester.

Wednesday evenings 7:30-8:30 pm, Sanctuary