Participation is central to the music program at First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette. Whether you sing from the pews every Sunday or participate in one of the many groups, music allows us to express our faith in a way that is deep and abiding.
Our mission is to inspire and enhance all worship services through the offering of excellent sacred music. Over 75 members of all ages are involved in our various music ensembles – from first graders to mature adults.
Please consider how you might be able to share in these rewarding groups as part of our church community. The personal satisfaction is very great, and the benefit to our congregation is inestimable. Peggy Massello, Director of Music and Worship, will be glad to answer questions about your involvement in any aspect of our music program.Chancel Choir
The Chancel Choir is a high school/adult ensemble that sings weekly at our 10:00 a.m. worship service and at special services throughout the liturgical year. Supporting hymn singing, responses and offering one or two anthems during worship is our main focus. Rehearsals are Wednesday nights from 7:30-9:00 p.m. in the Music Room on the lower level.
A variety of musical styles are represented in the repertoire of the Chancel Choir, from early music to gospel. We are fortunate to have 3 professional singers that enhance our experienced and inexperienced core of volunteers. If you are not able to commit for the entire season (September-May), we would be happy to welcome your participation as your schedule permits. Advent Lessons & Carols, Christmas Eve services, Holy Week (Easter) services and Choir Sunday offer special times and seasons that you can join for a short term. Past Choir Sundays have included works such as Requiem (John Rutter), Mass in G (Franz Schubert), Misa Criola (Ariel Ramirez), Gospel Mass (Robert Ray), Feel the Spirit (John Rutter), Requiem (Gabriel Faure), Te Deum Laudamus and Jubilate Deo (Henry Purcell), Godspell (Stephen Schwartz). Professional instrumentalists have accompanied these inspirational works as the Chancel Choir provides the solo and choral parts.
Singers & Ringers
All children and youth are invited to participate in this graded after-school music program of fun, food and fellowship! A link to our brochure and registration form can be found here. A quick look at the Thursday afternoon/evening schedule is below:
4th & 5th graders, 4:30-5:15 p.m. This group sings and is the entry level for bell ringing. Children learn basic music reading and handbell ringing skills. They offer their musical gifts from time to time in Family Worship Sundays (the last Sunday of the month, September-May) and at Advent Lessons & Carols.
1st-3rd graders, 5:15-6:00 p.m. Singing, moving, and playing games is the main focus of this energetic group. Good vocal technique is taught and emphasized as we learn faith-filled fun songs as well as traditional anthems to be offered in worship services, sometimes joining up with the Chancel Choir.
Church Family Dinner, 6:00-6:45 p.m. Adults and children alike are invited to join this casual time of food and fellowship, whether you are in Singers & Ringers, a parent or caregiver, or are attending a church meeting and need to grab dinner. Suggested donation is $6 per adult and $4 per child (10 and under). Please RSVP to Peggy Massello by end of day Wednesday (the day before) if possible.
6th-8th graders, 6:45-7:30 p.m. Youth in this group sing and ring more challenging music from a variety of styles: anthems based on the great hymns of the church to contemporary songs with infectious rhythms. There is always time for a game at the end of our rehearsal!
Chancel Bells is our high school/adult handbell choir that is flexible, fun and offers good fellowship. We rehearse for roughly 6 weeks per session, meeting once a week, Thursday nights, from 8:00-9:00 p.m., then play in worship. Our schedule for the program year is (approx.): Mid-October, Advent Lessons & Carols in early December, Christmas Eve, mid-February, mid-April and early June. Ring for one session, ring for all! We have 5 octaves of Schulmerich handbells and 3 octaves of Schulmerich MelodyChimes.
Guitars @ Gillson
From Mid-June to Labor Day week-end we have a casual 8:00 a.m. communion service at Gillson Park, looking out on beautiful Lake Michigan. Guitars provide our music and accompaniment for singing. If you play a little or a lot, consider joining this group for one Sunday or all. Rehearsals are mutually agreed upon by the members and are flexible.
Whether in a solo capacity or as part of a small ensemble, instrumentalists add variety and inspiration to our worship music. Those who are interested in participating from time to time are encouraged to contact Peggy Massello, Director of Music and Worship.