Photo by Tim Regan
Article by Nicholas Schmelter

Friday noontime recitals continue at First Congregational Church in downtown Saginaw, Michigan, during the season of Lent. The first of six programs takes place on Friday, February 23, 2012, and continues until Friday, March 30, 2012. All recitals begin at 12:15 p.m.

Several musicians from the region will perform recitals in the church’s sanctuary and chapel during the months of February and March: Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, will perform on February 23; Patricia Bowen, Principal Organist at Trinity Lutheran Church, Midland, will perform on March 2; Dr. Christopher Urbiel, Minister of Music at Saint Sebastian Catholic Church, Dearborn Heights, and the Choral Director at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, will perform on March 9; Jantz Black, Organist at First United Methodist Church, Midland, will perform on March 16; Dr. Steven Egler, Professor of Organ at Central Michigan University and Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church, Saginaw, will perform with assisting musicians, James Hargett and Beverly Westervelt, on March 23; and Nicholas Schmelter will perform, once again on March 30.

From the compositions of Brahms to a survey of the sacred music of Richard Proulx, the noonday programs will include a diversity of repertoire. Music will be performed on any number of instruments: voice, clarinet, oboe, piano, and organ. First Congregational Church’s chapel pipe organ, Op. 1327, built by the firm Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston, will be featured in several of the recitals.

Each performance is sponsored by the Friends of Music, who support the musical happenings of First Congregational Church. Admission to the noonday recitals is open to the public and free, but donations are welcomed to support the needed maintenance of the congregation’s historic sanctuary organ by Ernest M. Skinner and to promote the ongoing outreach of the Friends of Music Series.

The congregation is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence in musical outreach and community service since the 1800’s. The Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley, PhD, is the congregation’s Senior Minister. If you would like more information, please contact Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.

© Nicholas Schmelter, 2012