Music Programs


Music Survey - September 2015

Music Survey FINAL 2015 Sheet1.pdf


Programs 2014-15

The Choir of First Church

First Church’s choir sings anthems, psalm-chants, new works, and choruses from the sacred music canon. Beginning each year on Recovenanting Sunday in September and continuing until Celebration Sunday in early June, the choir sings two sacred anthems and supports hymn-singing for each worship service, excepting the final Sunday of each month. On last Sundays, soloists sing and the handbell choirs ring to support worship. The choir is accompanied weekly by the Gress-Miles pipe organ; handbells and instrumental ensembles lend support as well throughout the year. Special music services include Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday, Christmas Eve, and Blue Christmas. The Choir also sings during concerts throughout the year and is available for hire. The choir draws from twenty adult volunteers, four choral scholars and the sixteen children (ages 6-13) of our Pilgrim Choir. All are invited and encouraged to join this group; auditions are not required. Instead, attendance is required at one rehearsal per week as well as the Sunday morning rehearsal at 9 am, directly before service. Rehearsal times are below.


        The Handbell Choirs of First Church

The Sonotori Ringers are one of the flagship ensembles of First Church; indeed, this group is known throughout New England as one of the finest of its kind. Under the direction of Janet Banks, the Sonotori Ringers play handbell music during worship services once or more times monthly, multiple selections on Festival days, and for biannual concerts and other special events. This elite group plays the most challenging repertoire from the most talented arrangers from the past half-century. Newcomers are always welcome to attend rehearsals to observe and give the bells a ring on Monday evenings at 7 pm, in the Janet McKee Banks Handbell Loft, just off the upstairs choral room (and overlooking the sanctuary).

The Campanelli Ringers are a group of ten young musicians ages 12-18. Active for over thirty years as a place for teenagers to learn the craft of handbell ringing, the Campanelli ensemble has enjoyed the talents of over 95 participants. Now under the direction of Minister of Music Brian Parks, the ensemble continues to thrive, presenting arrangements of sacred music in service monthly and giving extended presentations on Festival days. The group also participates in concerts and is excited to accompany The Choir of First Church during anthems this program year.

The Whipper-Clappers are comprised of ringers ages 6-11 who learn the art of handbells through composition creation, hymn-tunes, technical instruction, instrument care, and ultimately, the value of collaboration in musical formation. Like their mature counterparts, this group rings in service throughout the year, very often accompanying hymn-singing (while singing themselves).


        Music on High

This community ministry provides the Greater Suffield community opportunities to hear world-renown artists perform concerts of the highest caliber in the marvelous acoustic of First Church’s sanctuary. In the past two years alone, our concerts have spanned nine centuries of music and featured artists hailing from the American South and South Asia as well as the finest choruses and ensembles of New England.  Please see our website or pick up a brochure at church to see this year’s offerings. They include The Whiffenpoofs of Yale, Affinity Brass Quintet, and the Choir of St. Paul’s Church (Fairfield CT), as well as our own handbell ensembles in concert. Music on High is self-supported, relying entirely on donations rather than the church's budgetary aegis.



The Mission of Music

Through these many pursuits, we maintain continuity by striving to realize and honor the glory of God in our music. As our ensembles sonify the sacred breath of the Spirit, we mean to instill in worshippers that same notion of the immanence of God. It is our hope that they too, caught up in the embodied joy of music-making, sing to their fullest.