Sacred Music At First Christian
The high quality of the music offered in worship at First Christian Church is matched by the wide variety of musical styles that are covered. This is a vibrant and vital ministry! Already in the 2010 – 2011 season, the church has experienced a Bluegrass Sunday featuring the Sanctuary Choir accompanied by members of the Boxcar Bandits performing great songs from the Appalachian / Bluegrass tradition; a New Orleans Jazz and Gospel service featuring guest soloist Ashleigh Smith, the Sanctuary Choir, and outstanding jazz musicians from the area including John Murphy (head of Jazz Studies at UNT) and Steve Howard (Dukes of Dixieland, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle); a Mozart Sunday featuring soloist Alissa Taylor and our resident string quintet led by Stephanie Raby; a Classical Christmas Cantata which included movements from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, and the complete Christmas portion of Mendelssohn’s Christus. Coming up this June there will be another jazz Sunday (June 12, 2011) with the Sanctuary Choir, guest soloist Ashleigh Smith, and a four piece jazz band featuring the music of Kim Burrell. On Sunday June 19, 2011 the Sanctuary Choir will offer two movements from Brahms’ German Requiem.
In addition to the above, the Sanctuary Choir has offered praise and worship Sundays, classical Sundays, gospel Sundays, a Celtic Sunday with Irish band, and more. Twice in the past four years the congregation has been treated to the glory of Handel’s Messiahperformed with full orchestra.
The choir and soloists at FCC are aided by the wonderful instruments available. There are three pianos in the sanctuary, including a 5.5 foot Kawai grand. There is also a wonderful harpsichord which was lovingly donated to the church by Oran and Charlotte Nabors. In the choir loft, the church’s pride and joy is the Reuter Pipe Organ. This is a truly magnificent instrument. Indeed, at the time of installation representatives of the Reuter Company proclaimed that it was as fine a match between acoustic space and pipe organ as one could imagine. The unique architecture of the sanctuary creates near perfect acoustics, allowing the pipe organ to shine. In fact, all music shines in this wonderful acoustic space!
The Sanctuary Choir is the outstanding centerpiece to this wonderfully diverse and powerful music ministry. It is a talented group that varies in number from 12 to 20 singers. The members are passionate about singing, and the fellowship on offer is a major draw for many of them. Rehearsals are intense but fun. Choir Director Mark Graham is motivated by the desire to take groups of singers and musicians further than they personally thought they could go, and making the process a joyful one. The Sanctuary Choir at First Christian Church is an ideal group for Mark to work with, because of the dedication and passion of the members. Some are professional, some are amateur. Some have extensive musical training, others have none. But all are united by a desire for a good musical challenge and more importantly a desire to inspire and move the congregation with profound spiritual music that is offered at a high level of excellence.
The Sanctuary Choir’s Section Leader Program has greatly expanded the potential of this already excellent choir. Students from the College of Music at the University of North Texas are selected to serve as section leaders, and frequently offer solos as well. In addition to the section leaders, there are a number of outstanding singers in the choir who enjoy the opportunity to sing solos in worship. Small groups are also featured. For those who enjoy singing solos, or in small groups (duets, trios, etc.), opportunities abound at First Christian Church.
We are always looking for new members! If you enjoy singing, like learning about a variety of musical styles, and enjoy the fellowship of other dedicated singers and musicians, please join us on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM in the Choir Room! We’d love to have you.