Ministry of Music

"Sing to the Lord a new song, for the Lord has done marvelous things. . . . Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing. Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the voice of song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout with joy before the Sovereign, the Lord." Psalm 98:1, 4-6

Welcome David VanderMeer!

Welcome to First Pres’ new Minister of Music and Fine Arts, David VanderMeer! David started his time in July. He comes to us from Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, where he served for 18 years as the Minister of Music and Fine Arts. Prior to that, he held similar positions in Presbyterian Churches in Houston, Amarillo, and Port Arthur, Texas and Bernardsville, New Jersey. David is originally from Saginaw.

David is a life-long Presbyterian who has been described as one of the best church musicians in the Presbyterian Church, USA and a gifted choral director. He excels at developing a choir’s choral ability and is devoted to including children and youth in music. David has developed premier handbell choirs for both adults and youth, and recruited homeless men, women, and teenagers who lived near the church to join a handbell choir. At Central Presbyterian, he increased the number of participants in the various programs to include one-third of the congregation. David brings the added dimension of multi-sensory worship with an innovative and inclusive liturgical arts programming. The program he created at Central Presbyterian incorporates art in both worship and worship space in the form of paraments, banners, and other forms of artistic expression.

David has been recognized nationally for his work. He is the President of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and is active in other choir director and handbell musician organizations. In the next few weeks, come by and welcome David VanderMeer and his husband Brent Ivey to First Pres, Ann Arbor and even better, join one of our many music programs! Dave can be reached at 662-4466, ext 347 or dvandermeer@firstpresbyterian.org.

Choirs

Children's Choir (grades K-5)

Children learn to praise God as they develop their voices and musical skills through a variety of experiences. They generally sing for Sunday-morning worship several times each term. Children are invited to sing in the Children’s Choir.

Youth Choir (grades 6-12)

Youth continue to develop their singing voices and other musical skills as they prepare for musical leadership in worship. They generally sing about once per month at the 11:00 a.m. service. Additional opportunities for study and for worship leadership are also available by contacting Dave VanderMeer our Minister of Music and Fine Arts.

Chancel Choir (High School - Adult)

Chancel Choir is open to singers from high-school age through adult and invites new singers to join them!

Instrumental Ensembles

Sanctus Ringers Handbell Choir

Beginners are welcome to join our adult handbell choir, which provides worship leadership several times each term. Rehearsals: Mondays, 7:00 p.m., starting September.

Recorder Ensemble

This ensemble plays for various worship services several times each year. Please contact David VanderMeer for more information about rehearsal dates and times.

Orchestra (high school and adult)

The orchestra comprises strings, winds and percussion, and they play for morning worship several times during the academic year.

Opportunities for Support Our Music Ministries

Sacred Music Fund

Gifts to the Sacred Music Fund support our recruiting additional instrumentalists, scheduling guest conductors, and purchasing music for our choirs not covered by the general budget.

The Organs at First Presbyterian Church

Sanctuary Organ

First Pres Sanctuary OrganThe organ in our sanctuary, installed in 2001, was built by Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco. It consists of 2,474 pipes, placed in 42 ranks (33 voices). Schoenstein and Co. was established in 1877 and is now under the artistic direction of fourth- and fifth–generation organ builders. Its president and tonal director, Jack Bethards, designed the instrument specifically for First Presbyterian Church. In his 49 years of pipe organ work and research, Mr. Bethard's organ design and restoration consulting clients have included the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, to name a few.

This enchanted instrument is played from a movable console of three keyboards and a pedal board. The tonal resources of the instrument combine elements of the major schools of organ building throughout history. In this way the organ inspires an outstanding musical environment for worship as well as providing a superior means for the performance of the music of great composers. It is a highly versatile instrument with a great variety of tone and color and with a wide range of expressiveness necessary for accompaniment and solo work. It also has the power to accompany a full congregation.

Though not a huge instrument, Mr. Bethards has met his goal of "elegance achieved through economy of resources." The pipes are made of wood, tin, lead, and zinc. Woods used in construction of the organ include maple, oak, poplar, and mahagony. The console is made of oak and polished walnut and uses polisched ebony drawknobs on brass shanks. The keys are of bone and ebony. The Schoenstein Electric-Pneumatic System is used throughout. The Solid State Capture Combination Action includes 16 memories, 60 pistons, programmable piston range for each memory, 16 crescendo and full organ programs and 5 reversibles. It is the hope of the church that this instrument will serve not only the needs of our immediate congregation but also the musical needs of a wider musical community. The words of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are echoed again: "In my eyes and ears the organ will ever be the King of Instruments."

Monteith Hall Organ

A Moeller pipe organ, generously donated by Ronald Sutton, was installed in Monteith Hall at First Presbyterian in the fall of 2005. The organ has two manuals and three ranks of pipes. Together with the beautiful grand piano in that space, it provides us with great musical flexibility for weddings, funerals, and our more intimate 8:00 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Sunday services. The pipes are located in the back of the hall; the console is in the front, opposite the piano. The organ was used as a practice instrument by Ronald's wife, Ruth. She was the organist at Knox Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, and had played for us at First Pres on several occasions. Ron plays in our bell choir, sings in the Chancel Choir, and is a past director of the Church Orchestra. We are most grateful to the Sutton family for this wonderful gift, which adds great beauty to our worship and will always be used to the glory of God.