First Church Amherst

Notes from the Minister of Music

Happy Advent!  As crazy and busy as this time of year can be, it is one of my favorite months, musically speaking.  The variety of styles of music available is wonderful: from traditional Advent and Christmas carols to contemporary pieces.  As in most churches, we have many opportunities to enjoy music of this season.

Sunday, December 2 –  Stephanie Flinker and Jenn Sullivan-Brunault, altos in the choir, will sing a duet version of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst.

Sunday, December 9 – the choir will sing “Will We Know Him?” by Don Besig.  This anthem asks us to wonder if we are prepared to welcome the Christ and if we’ll recognize him when he arrives.  Pat Vittum will accompany on flute.

Sunday, December 9 at 6 pmMusic on Main and Valley Festival Brass present the 29th Annual Holiday Brass Concert and Carol Sing with brass, percussion and organ.  Proceeds from the concert will benefit Not Bread Alone.

Sunday, December 16 – the choir will sing “What Can I Give to the Holy Child?” by Robert Lau.

Sunday, December 16 following Coffee Hour – Organ student Obed Amissah will present a 30-minute informal “Mini-Recital.”  Obed, from Nigeria, is a student at Amherst College who has been practicing the organ at First Church since he arrived in the Fall of 2017.  He would like to offer this short recital as a thank you to First Church for allowing him to practice here.

Sunday, December 23 – the choir will offer the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols as part of worship.  Five anthems in a variety of musical styles will be interspersed with scripture readings, and the service will end with the choir sending us out with a gospel piece by Mary McDonald which incorporates the spirituals “Amen!” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

Monday, December 24 – At the 5:00 pm service, members of the choir will gather around the piano to share the Austrian carol “Still, Still, Still.”  If there are others who would like to sing this piece with us, please let me know.  At the 10:00 pm service, Gail Weirick will offer piano accompaniment to the carols and share seasonal piano pieces.

Amid the busyness of the season, all our services and concerts offer a time to sit, meditate, sing, pray and enjoy the beauty of the Advent season.  I hope to see you in the pews!

If you would like more information about First Church’s music ministry, contact Dick via email [] or phone [(413)315-3440].