Then let the pealing organ blow,
To the full voiced choir below,
In service high, and anthems clear
As may, with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
(John Milton II Penseroso, 11.161-6)
Music and the spoken word are the heart of worship at First Presbyterian Church. We have a 95 year tradition of great preaching, great music, and a congregation that joins in the singing of the great hymns in the reformed tradition. The choirs and occasional orchestras offer a repertoire of the finest sacred organ, choral, vocal and instrumental music from many periods and Christian traditions, including contemporary music from around the world.
Listen to Our Latest Anthems
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September 21, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Virginia Chorale, Music of the Chapel Royal
Anglophiles will delight in the Virginia Chorale’s “Music of the Chapel Royal,” a concert of Renaissance motets and madrigals written by composers of the Chapel Royal, including Byrd, Tallis and Purcell, Paired with works by composers associated with the British monarchy, including Elgar’s luminous Lux Aeterna and Harris’s beloved Faire is the Heaven. Complete program to be announced.
October 6, 2019, 11:00 a.m., World Communion Sunday at First Presbyterian Church
We will celebrate the day with Haydn’s Miossa Brevis in F with a small orchestra. The music will be interspersed throughout the Service of Holy Communion.
October 27, 2019, 4:00 p.m., David Goode, Organist
David Goode is organist at Eton College, home to an important collection of historic instruments and some of the United Kingdom’s most talented young organists; he combines this with a concert career that takes him around the world. In recent years he has also composed a number of choral and organ works.
Goode was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a music scholar at Eton College and then organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge 1991-94. While there, he studied the organ with David Sanger and Jacques van Oortmerssen. From 1996-2001, he was sub-organist at Christ Church, Oxford. He won major prizes at the 1997 St. Alban’s Interpretation Competition and at the 1998 Calgary Competition. From 2003 to 2005, he was the organist-in-residence at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, California. In 2005 he returned to Eton College. His concert is sponsored by the Tidewater Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
December 7, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Virginia Chorale, Sing We Nowell
Organist Kevin Kwan joins the Chorale for Benjamin Britten’s monumental cantata Rejoice in the Lamb, one of the 20th century’s most popular works for choir and organ. Favorite seasonal anthems and familiar carols round out this holiday program. Complete program to be announced.
December 15, 2019, 7:30 a.m., Chancel Choir, Song of Angels
The First Presbyterian Music Department presents its popular annual Christmas Concert at 7:30 p.m. Come to the Advent Dinner (reservations required email@example.com) and then join the choir in the Sanctuary for an entertaining concert of Advent and Christmas. The program will begin with Vivaldi’s short but beautiful “Magnificat” which will be followed with well-known Christmas music. The concert will be with orchestra.
February 15, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Virginia Chorale, Great American Songbook
By popular request, the Chorale and its soloists put their signature spin on favorite popular and jazz standards in the Great American Songbook, featuring songs by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and many others.
Our Chancel Choir is known for a long-standing tradition of fine choral music and is comprised of talented volunteers and professional musicians who sing a diverse repertoire of great choral works and anthems during the 11:00 a.m. Sunday worship. The 8:30 a.m. worship service in our Chapel includes soloists and occasional small groups. The choir sings every Sunday of the year as well as special services and concerts and an annual Hymn Festival in July. Rehearsals are Thursdays, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. in the choir room. New members are always welcome. An ability to match pitch is required and an ability to read music is helpful. Contact our Music Director, David Kunkel, for further information.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The children’s choirs primary goal is to learn to be worship participants. Therefore, in weekly worship services, our choirs take their turn presenting carefully selected and rehearsed anthems. They also present a Christmas musical and a program in the spring. Just as sports develop children in teamwork, the musical art form develops discipline, teaches responsibility, professionalism commitment and working together toward a common goal of enhancing the worship service while growing in their faith. What is taught?
Music reading, rhythm, ear training, vocal development, pitch, Christian faith through understanding of the text they are singing, hymn history, composers and parts of the worship service. All this is taught through fun techniques and games, making the process interesting, not dull. The choral and bell choirs enhance the private lessons some children are in. The choirs also offer the opportunity for children not in private lessons to learn music and participate in a musical group. All are welcome to find their place in the music program. Contact Belinda Valet, Director of Handbell & Children’s Choirs, for more information.