Music in a wide variety of styles and forms is an important part of our life together at First Parish, and our full and lively musical calendar reflects this commitment. Interim Director of Music Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell brings to his work both superb musicianship and a strong commitment to a musical life that is as deep and varied as our spiritual lives. Services are frequently enhanced by both our adult and children’s choirs and by guest and solo performances by artists both affiliated with the Parish and from the wider musical community. And on occasion we sponsor special concerts and events. Roderick is joined by Assistant Music Director for Youth and Intergenerational Programs Kate Campe. If you are interested in making music at First Parish, please contact Roderick or Kate. Their work is supervised by the First Parish Music Committee, chaired by Cynde Hartman.
The First Parish choir consists of approximately 20 voices, singing an average of three Sundays a month, and exploring a great array of repertoire, from Medieval to Gospel, the Sacred to the Poetically Secular. Choir rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings 7:30-9:00, beginning the first Thursday after Labor Day. Sunday morning warm-up rehearsals begin at 9:30 a.m. Rehearsals for youth and adults are often supplemented by practice CDs. This helps those who aren’t able to make all the rehearsals as well as those who feel they just need a little more time to learn things.Choir participation can be on a “per term” or “per event” basis, and with schedule flexibility. More information on such arrangements is available by talking to Roderick.
On occasion we put together an ad hoc "community choir" where everyone — young and old, seasoned performers and musical neophytes — is welcome. On these Sundays, we gather at 9:15 to learn accessible songs that we will then share with the congregation at that morning's service. Come, add your voice to the song!
The First Parish Children's Choir (ages 5-13) rehearses at 9:30 am before church and sings in family services approximately once a month. For further information, contact Kate Campe.
The First Parish Singers is a group of up to a dozen members and friends of the Parish, singing folk music, gospel, and the occasional pop or show tune, often accompanied by guitar, bass, mandolin, etc. Jim and Beth Sargent are the co-ordinators of the Singers. For more information or to participate wit the First Parish Singers, contact Beth Sargent,
The HomeGrown CoffeeHouse has been enhancing Needham’s music landscape since 1983, one of the longest-running and best-known church-based coffeehouses in all of New England. It brings to our building performances by some of the truly great singer-songwriters of our time, as well as other performances in folk and related music.
Please see the Concerts and Events page for any upcoming special musical events!
The Music Committee is responsible for hiring and supervising the Music Director and for ensuring that the music needs of the parish are adequately met. They meet whenever the demands of the music program require it. Planning the program is a joint effort of the Music Committee, the First Parish Singers and the Music Director in consultation with the Minister, the Worship Committee and others responsible for Sunday services. Aside from providing the usual music for the Sunday services and looking after the needs of the choir, two special music services are planned each year and guest instrumental soloists are invited to play as the budget permits.
For more information regarding the music program at First Parish contact the Parish Office (781-444-0823) or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
First Parish is fortunate to have a beautifully restored 1884 organ by Hook & Hastings, the premier organ builders at the time our Meetinghouse was moved to its present site in 1879. This two-manual, seven-rank instrument has been completely restored by Patrick J. Murphy Organs of Stowe, Pennsylvania. Funds for the instrument came from a bequest by the late Elizabeth Bradford Storer, a member of our Choir for over 60 years, and from matching gifts by members and friends. The organ was installed in August 2005.