Importance of Music and Arts
Here at the First United Methodist Church of Westfield, we highly value music and the arts as an integral part of worship. Under the leadership of the Director of Music, the congregation, choirs of children and adults, and instrumentalists gather together as a community to worship. The great music of the Christian Church inspires and uplifts worshippers weekly. From the music of Bach to Bernstein, from Routely to Rutter, from Hopson and Robert Ray to the music of Duke Ellington, from world music, Taizé and spirituals, to music written yesterday, music of all kinds is a part of our experience. Dramas, especially those written for children also play an important role in the life of our church.
We are fortunate to have wonderful pipe organs to lead our worship services. These instruments have led us in song, worship and in concert. The chancel instrument is a 54 rank organ installed by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts in 1959. The specifications of this organ were prepared by Joseph Whiteford and John Tyrell in consultation with Wilma Jensen. Tonal finishing was under the direction of Arthur Birchall. The antiphonal organ in the balcony has 12 ranks and was installed by the Müller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland in 1975. The chancel organ has three keyboards and pedal and can control both the chancel and antiphonal organs. The antiphonal organ has two keyboards and pedal and controls only the antiphonal organ. Preludes and postludes played on our pipe organs or by guest artists also enrich the worship experience.
SANCTUARY CHOIR The Sanctuary Choir is made up of adults and young adults. The group rehearses weekly on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 p. m. and sings weekly at the traditional worship service. Typically, this choir sings with organ accompaniment or a cappella. For special occasions including All Saints Sunday and Easter, a variety of guest instrumentalists add the sounds of flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and timpani to the celebration.
OCCASIONAL CHOIR This choir is comprised of individuals from 8 to 88 who are interested in occasionally singing in a choir, but do not have the time or interest to commit to the regular sanctuary choir. We meet the Sunday before we sing from 11a to 12p and again the Sunday we sing from 9a to 9:45a. If you would like to join us or need more information please contact Tristan Jones at email@example.com.
HANDBELL CHOIR The Bell Choir meets Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30p. This group is open to high school students and adults. If you are interested in joining or have further questions please contact Tristan Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRASS ENSEMBLE The brass ensemble plays for special occasions throughout the year. We are especially looking for trumpet players, although we invite all brass to volunteer. Contact Tristan Jones at email@example.com for more information.
RECORDER ENSEMBLE Our music library contains music for recorder ensembles. We have a couple of congregants who can play, but we still need a couple more. If you are interested in filling one of those slots contact Tristan Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For those who enjoy the challenge of large musical projects, there is the Oratorio Singers, a large community wide chorus that performs the great masterworks with professional soloists and orchestra. Since 1979 the Oratorio Singers have presented to sold -out audiences works such as: Bach's Mass in B Minor, Magnificat, and St. John and St. Matthew Passions, the Requiems of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, and Dvorak, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, Haydn's Creation, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Dello Joio's To St. Cecelia, the premiere of Trent Johnson's cantata The Paschal Lamb, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Lobgesang, Elgar's The Music Makers and Handel's Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus, among many other works. Conducted by Trent Johnson, the Oratorio Singers rehearse from January until March on Monday evenings from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. The concert takes place in March during the Lenten season. Additional Oratorio Singer information is available on the group's homepage: www.westfieldnj.com/oratorio.
COFFEE WITH CONSCIENCE The Coffee with Conscience Concert Series, presented by Ahrre's Coffee Roastery in Westfield, features top singer/songwriters from around the country in a coffee house setting. Only high-caliber artists who are professional singer/songwriters touring and promoting their recorded music are invited to perform. Some of the talent featured to date includes: GrooveLily, Tom Prasada-Rao, David Roth, Danzig and Wooley, Chris and Meredith Thompson, and Dan Crisci among many others. The Concert Series is in its twelfth season, and while featuring top talent, also supports local charities. The proceeds from each concert are donated to a designated charity selected from the following list: CONTACT We Care, INC., Habitat for Humanity (Greater Plainfield Area), The Community Foodbank of NJ, Keith Knost Special Needs Trust, and HomeFirst. The Coffee with Conscience Concert Series is a ten show series taking place at the First United Methodist Church on the third Saturday evening of each month, at 8 p.m. from September through June. For more information visit www.CoffeeWithConscience.org or contact Ahrre Maros at 908-412-9105 or email@example.com