First Church Congregational of Methuen, Massachusetts, United Church of Christ seeks an Organist and Choir Director to join us in offering God our highest praise, all in Christ’s name. Aspiring to musical excellence is at the heart of our church’s life and ministry.
Presently, worship is held virtually on Facebook Live and YouTube due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We anticipate resuming in-person worship after a significant portion of the population has been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. Our choir will resume rehearsing and singing at that time. We are hopeful that this will be no later than August 2021 but cannot know for certain at this time.
Our church houses the Searles Pipe Organ, a James E. Treat Opus 1, built in 1886. Originally built for Edward Searles’ Great Barrington home, it was moved later moved to his home in Methuen. It was given to First Church upon his death. The instrument was installed at First Church in 1924 at which time it was converted to an electro-pneumatic pull-down action on the original slider chests. It is comprised of 44 ranks, all but two of which are original, the Mixture V and Clarion 4’ ranks having been added in 1930.
Our choir averages 10 singers weekly, with as many as 18 total members, with varying musical abilities but a common love of making music and shared enthusiasm for the church, its life and ministry.
For the present, duties include playing the organ and piano for Sunday worship services, as well as one service, each, on Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday; selecting preludes, postludes, offertories and hymns; and working collaboratively with the pastor and bell choir director in planning for regular and special worship services, as well as long-ranging planning for the music program. When we resume in-person worship, the Organist and Choir Director will accompany and direct the choir (piano or organ), selecting anthems, choral call to worship and choral benediction, solos, ensembles, etc.
When the Chancel Choir resumes rehearsal, it is anticipated they will return to their schedule of Sunday morning rehearsals at 8:30 a.m. for one hour. In the past, a 30-60-minute rehearsal followed worship as well, though that practice was discontinued in 2019. Post worship rehearsals may be reinstated in consultation with the new Organist and Choir Director. The season for the choir generally begins on the Sunday following Labor Day and concludes in early June. Soloists, duets and other ensembles provide music for summer worship services, coordinated by the Organist and Choir Director.
In July, First Church worships on Wednesday nights, taking Sunday mornings off.
The First Church Bells are directed by a volunteer conductor and generally number 10-12 ringers. The bells provide prelude, anthem and offertory on the third Sunday of the month, September through May. The bells are not rehearsing or performing at this time due to the pandemic.
First Church Congregational uses The New Century Hymnal for congregational singing, and appreciates a range of musical styles, from classical to contemporary.
Funds are available for instrumentalists on special occasions.
The Organist and Choir Director is responsible to schedule substitute organists for off Sundays.
$250 weekly through the pandemic, and when the choir is on break.
$400 weekly when choir rehearsal and performances resume.
Choir included, we anticipate the job to entail approximately 10-12 hours weekly.
Up to 48 weeks annually.
Location: First Church Congregational of Methuen, Massachusetts UCC
Contact: Rev. Bill Ingraham
Address: 26 Pleasant Street Methuen MA 01844
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