MusicMusic at First Church
The music program welcomes adults and children of all ages and skill levels who wish to participate in a meaningful ministry to our congregation. We have opportunities to sing, as well as play instruments, including handbells, drums and more!
Our program is ably directed by Edward E. Clark, Minister of Music, with the assistance of many capable volunteers. You are welcome to contact Mr. Clark for further information at 860-677-2601 ext. 16 or by clicking here.
The core of our music program are the volunteer choirs. They practice and perform primarily classical or traditional music, much of which is newly composed in recent years, and also gospel, Taizé, spirituals and music of many countries. From time to time, larger works are performed with instrumentalists.
First Church Instruments
In addition to the organ in the Meethinghouse, a Kawai grand piano is located in the front of the Meetinghouse for accompanying choirs and for occasional solo piano music. The bell choir enjoys playing a 4 1/2 octave set of Malmark handbells and a 2 octave set of Suzuki hand chimes. Located in the Porter Memorial is a 7' grand piano, one of the very few built by Camilleri, and this is considered to be a very fine instrument of high caliber. The Music Room in Amistad Hall also has a 7'4" grand piano built by Kawai; this serves as the choir rehearsal instrument, as well as a concert instrument for small recitals.
In honor of significant milestones, new compositions have been commissioned from composers for debut performances in the Meetinghouse.
Praise God in the Dance for organ solo by Robert Jones for the organ dedication concert in 1969.Thanksgiving Psalm by George Lynn for SATB choir, brass and organ. Performed in 1976 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America.Soli Deo Gloria by Thomas Schmutzler for SATB choir and organ. Performed in 1985 in honor of Edward Clark's 20th year at First Church.Hallelujah and The Harvest Dawn is Near by Stephen Gryc for the Town of Farmington's 350th Anniversary Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service in 1997.Mantra for organ solo by Thomas Schmutzler written for the Organ Celebration Concert on November 7, 1999. The concert honored the 30th year of the Holtkamp organ and showed off the new digital additions. The piece was based upon the name "Ed Clark".We Praise the Lord of All Creation, an SATB anthem arrangement by Thomas Schmutzler based on the hymn and hymn tune written by Harland Lewis and Edward Clark. It was also performed for the Organ Celebration Concert.Fanfare for organ solo by Peter Niedmann, written for the Organ Celebration Concert.Psalm 103, an anthem for SATB and organ by Timothy Reno to honor the 350th anniversary of the church; first performed October 4-5, 2003.O Come, Let Us Sing unto the Lord, an SATB anthem by Peter Niedmann written for the celebration of Edward Clark's 40 years at First Church and first performed on September 25, 2005. A Sample of Special Musical Productions
The following performances all took place during worship services in recent years, most of them on Sunday mornings. The music is always designed to fit the context of the worship theme. La Misa Popular Salvadoreña (Popular Mass of El Salvador), a folk mass performed by our Youth Ensemble and Senior Choir and accompanied by guitars, accordian, electric piano and percussion. This was presented on our El Salvador Sunday, celebrating our ongoing sister parish relationship with El Redentor Church in Cabanitas, El Salvador. Schubert's Mass in G with orchestra and the combined choirs of First Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Hartford.The Shepherd's Play, a short, recently composed sung dramatic piece (opera?) by Richard Shephard for four male soloists, off stage chorus of angels, flute and string ensemble. Performers, all church members, included four tenors from the Senior and Youth Choirs (two father/son duos) and string players of middle school and high school age. Olivet to Calvary, a Cantata for Lent by the Victorian composer Maunder performed by the Senior and Youth Choirs, tenor, baritone and soprano soloists with organ accompaniment. Benjamin Britten's church opera Noye's Fludde (Noah's Flood) with soloists from our Youth Choir, a large chorus of animals drawn from our younger choirs, the church school and the congregation at large, professional soloists for Mr. and Mrs. Noah, a large orchestra including string players from grade school age to adults, a dozen recorder players, four-hand piano, trumpets, percussionists, organ and handbells. Bach's Cantata No. 106 performed by the Senior Choir and soloists accompanied by an ensemble of baroque music specialists performing on viola da gambas and recorders. A highlight each year is the traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols with special music by all the choirs and a variety of instrumentalists. Easter services feature special music by all the choirs with the added sounds of the Candlewood Brass Quintet.
Please visit the other Music pages to find out more about specific opportunities to participate!