First Presbyterian Church Music Ministries

Music is a vibrant part of the life of the congregation at First Presbyterian Church. If God has gifted you in the area of music, we encourage you to use your musical gifts for God.
 

If you sing, please consider joining our Chancel Choir and/or contemporary Praise Team. The Chancel Choir leads the congregation in worship from September-June and also plays a key role in our Community Christmas Concert in December, our Christmas Eve Service, and our Easter Celebration Service. The Praise Team leads the congregation in worship from January-December.

If you are an instrumentalist, consider joining using your instruments during our celebration services at Christmas and Easter, as part of the Praise Team, or as a soloist during summer or other times of the year.
 
If you are a young person (starting in the 5th grade) to adult, consider joining one of our handbell choirs.
 
If you are interested in knowing about some of the key hymns and praise songs we sing regularly at First Presbyterian Church, check out our “FPC Canon.”
 

Chancel Choir

  • Chancel Choir meets for rehearsals on Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:30 pm from September through early June.

Praise Team

  • The contemporary Praise Team rehearses on Sunday mornings and at other times during the year.

Handbell Choirs

  • The Chapel Bell Ringers is a choir designed for grades 5 through 8. They rehearse Wednesday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Middleton Parlor (down the long hall on the left). This is a training group that rings three octaves of bells.
  • The Lindsey Bell Ringers (named after our pastor emeritus, Dr. Albert J. Lindsey), is composed of grades 9 and up. They rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Middleton Parlor. This group rings 5+ octaves of bells at an advanced level.

Questions?

  • To find out more info. on how to become involved, contact our Minister of Worship, Dr. Daniel Perrin.
 

Music News

Worship Assistant Job Description and Application Information

 
 
First Presbyterian Church is currently seeking a paid, part-time (8 hours a week) Worship Assistant to lead and mentor the contemporary worship team, starting sometime in the Fall of 2017. Members and non-members are welcome to apply.
 
To apply, please send a resume, a letter of interest, and 3 references to Dr. John West, Chair, Worship and Arts Committee, First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, jwest@fpctacoma.org.
 
Before applying, please be sure to read the job description below as well as our church’s essential tenets and core values at https://www.fpctacoma.org/our-beliefs/.
 

WORSHIP ASSISTANT POSITION DESCRIPTION

OVERVIEW

Under the direction of the Minister of Worship, the Worship Assistant will lead and mentor the contemporary worship team as well as assisting with other musical needs of the church.

ACCOUNTABILITY

This position reports to and is supervised by the Minister of Worship and the Worship & Arts Committee.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Planning and leading rehearsals of the contemporary worship team.
  • Leading songs in worship.
  • Assisting with other musical needs of the church.
  • Serving as a member of the church’s choir (desired).

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ability to lead rehearsals of the contemporary worship team.
  • Proficiency playing the piano and singing, with the capacity to play contemporary music with chord charts.
  • Ability to vocally lead worship.
  • Heart for worship ministry.
  • Good interpersonal and relationship skills (relationally “warm”) with people of all ages.
  • Enjoyment of team ministry.
  • Respect for and ability to work collaboratively in a music ministry that incorporates a variety of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary.
  • Full support and agreement with the doctrinal standards of First Presbyterian Church and its denomination (the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians). You can find these at https://www.fpctacoma.org/our-beliefs/.
  • Life and character consistent with Biblical standards upheld by First Presbyterian Church.
  • Strong knowledge of current styles and genres of contemporary Christian music.

WORK SCHEDULE

This is a part-time position (8-hours a week) that will require working on Sunday mornings during Worship, Wednesday evenings, and other specified times throughout the year.

RELATIONSHIPS

The position reports to the Minister of Worship and serves as a member of the Worship & Arts Committee. The Worship Assistant is expected to cultivate positive relations with members of the contemporary worship team, the choir, the Worship & Arts Committee, and others involved in music and worship in the church.

SALARY

This position pays an hourly rate based on education and experience.



Interview with Jesús Gomez, Composer of New Requiem Premiering in Tacoma on Good Friday, April 14

At 7:00 pm on Good Friday, April 14, Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church will host the world premiere of a new Requiem composed by Jesús Gomez. Gomez graduated from PLU in choral conducting and is now teaching choral music at Glacier View Jr. High as well as serving as a worship intern at First Presbyterian Church. His Requiem will be heard as part of a Good Friday communion service, and it will be performed by chancel choir, chancel singers, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ. Gomez recently described how he came to write his Requiem and what he hopes people will take away from it.
 

Q. What is a Requiem?

Gomez: The Requiem is one of the most significant texts in choral history. It is the mass for the dead, and has been set by composers from as far back as a thousand years ago, and by all the greatest composers since (choral composers who did not write for the Church is a fairly recent phenomenon— beginning roughly 150 years ago).
 

Q. What are the various parts of a Requiem?

Gomez: Musical settings of the Requiem Mass normally contain seven parts: Introit, Kyrie, Sequence, Offertory, Sanctus (and Benedictus), Agnus Dei, and Communion. Each of these serves a very specific purpose, and each is connected to the other within the context of the liturgy.
 

Q. What inspired you to write this particular Requiem?

Gomez: I first had the idea to write a Requiem in November of 2015, as I was at a national convention for the National Choral Conductor’s Organization. It was during that conference that word came streaming in that there had been a terror attack in Paris, and my friends and I looked on in horror as the casualty count continued to rise throughout the day. Experiencing true grief and devastation at world events for the first time in my adult life, I responded by setting a French text—Priez Pour Paix (pray for peace).
 
As the ensuing year unfolded—with terror attacks throughout the world (but very prominently in France, Istanbul, and very recently in the U.K.), school shootings on both college and K-12 campuses, and the rise in “us-against-them” rhetoric on a global scale—I became increasingly distressed. It seemed to me that our world was coming unglued, and that every day brought a new death to mourn or yet another injustice to be broken over. I found my prayers turning from whispered requests for violence to desperate cries for mercy—for a simple respite from the seemingly never-ending store of tragedy.
 
It was this time last year that I wrote the “Sanctus,” and over the course of the next six months, the rest of the Requiem came to me: sometimes bit-by-bit in a struggle for every note, and sometimes in almost overwhelming waves of inspiration.
 

Q. Can you walk us through what the various parts of the Requiem mean?

Gomez: For me, this Requiem tells the story of a Christian who struggles to reconcile the failings of the world he or she lives in—the death and destruction and hatred we seem to be so surrounded by—with the perfection of Christ.

The first half of the work is filled with angst, grief, and doubt. We begin in the Introit (“grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them”), which is a depiction of how often attempt to mask our grief by saying the right things and “putting on” a stoic face in public. It is appropriately solemn, a little haunting, and purposefully lacks drama. The Kyrie, however (“Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy”), is a cry for mercy: the constant dissonance and shape of the lines is meant to represent the rising and falling of uncontrollable sobbing.
 
Next follows the Sequence. In a typical Requiem mass, the Sequence is a fiery, dramatic work (the first two words, “dies irae,” mean “day of wrath”). It is a text about God’s wrath and judgement on the wicked, and the fearful trembling of all those who bear witness to it. I did not set this traditional Sequence for two reasons: first, my response to tragedy is grief, not anger. I do not easily identify with the fiery imagery of the text, so it would not have been an honest setting. More importantly, to tell the story I wanted to tell, I needed to make a switch in tone here. Therefore, I compiled three smaller texts—O Vos Omnes (“all you who pass along the way, see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow”), Ave Verum Corpus (a text about Jesus’ death on the cross), and Adoramus Te, Christe (“We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: for by thy holy cross thou hast redeemed the world”). O Vos Omnes is the final piece with “crying” imagery, while Ave Verum Corpus and Adoramus Te move the focus to the cross, and the wonderful tragedy that occurred upon it.
 
The Offertory pleads, “Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory, liberate the souls of all the departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit”—refocusing on the idea that it is Jesus who brings hope of eternal life in the presence of God. This is followed by the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”), where we rest in the holiness of God, and take refuge in His perfection, despite everything going on around us. Next, the Agnus Dei, is a hybrid of texts from both the regular Mass and the Requiem Mass to create a progression (“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world… have mercy on us; grant them rest; grant us peace”). This encapsulates the story of the Requiem—from crying for mercy, to mourning the dead, to finding peace.
 
Finally, Communio leads us directly into communion with a request for God to shine His eternal light on them. It concludes with the same words with which we began—“grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.” This time, it is in a major key, signaling the hope we cling to in Jesus, but ends with the carrillons ringing seven times on the fifth note of the scale, which represents the idea that while we have hope, the promise of peace is not yet fully realized—spurring us on to work fervently in expectation of that most elusive promise.
 

Q. What do you hope the Requiem will mean to others?

Gomez: I am praying that God will use it to bring a message of peace to those who enter feeling the weight of living in this imperfect world pressing in on them.



World Premiere of Good Friday Requiem on April 14

Join us for the premiere of a new Requiem by Jesús Gomez on Good Friday, April 14 at 7:00 pm in the historic cathedral-like Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church. The Requiem will be performed by chancel choir, chancel singers, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ as part of a Good Friday service featuring Holy Communion and a special message. This event is FREE and open to all.


Good Friday Prayer and Reflection in Historic Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church

Commemorate the last hours of Jesus on the Cross in the cathedral-like Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church on Good Friday from Noon-3:00 pm. In the midst of stained glass and candlelight, pause to pray, meditate, and reflect. Times of silence will alternate with readings and soft music, but most of the time will be spent in silence. Come for a few minutes or a couple of hours. This annual open house for prayer and reflection is a powerful time for renewal and self-analysis. Then come back later at 7:00 pm for our Good Friday communion service, which will feature the world premiere of a new Requiem written by Jesús Gomez.
 


Easter 2017 Events at First Presbyterian Church, Tacoma

You are invited to celebrate Easter 2017 at Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church at these FREE events.
 
Palm Sunday Worship Service, April 9 @ 10:30 am
Come for our traditional procession of the palms featuring the children of our church (bring your children so they can participate). Plus special music from our Chancel Choir, a message by Pastor Eric Jacobsen, and Holy Communion.
 
Good Friday Open House for Prayer, April 14, Noon-3:00 pm
Come for meditation and prayer in our cathedral-like sanctuary on Good Friday, April 14 from Noon-3:00 pm. Drop in for a few minutes or a few hours. This has been a powerful time for connecting with God one-on-one that draws people from throughout our neighborhood.
 
Good Friday Requiem and Communion Service, April 14, 7:00 pm
You  are invited to experience Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us in a new way at our Good Friday service at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary. In addition to participating in Holy Communion and hearing a meditation by Pastor Eric, we will be experiencing the world premiere of a Requiem composed by our own Jesús Gomez. The Requiem will be performed by the FPC Chancel Choir accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
 
Easter Sunday Brunch, April 16 @ 9:00 am
Join us Easter morning for a free hot Sunday brunch in Fellowship Hall starting at 9:00 am.
 
Easter Sunday Celebration Service, April 16 @ 10:30 am
On April 16, celebrate the Resurrection at FPC Tacoma’s festive Easter Sunday celebration featuring its Chancel Choir, praise team, Lindsey Bell Choir, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ. Plus, Pastor Eric will be preaching a special Easter message.


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service @ 7:00 pm

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Join us on Christmas Eve @ 7:00 pm in our cathedral-like sanctuary for an awe-inspiring Christmas Eve service featuring Chancel Choir, Chancel Singers, Lindsey Bell Choir, woodwind ensemble, soloists, and a pipe organ with more than 3,000 pipes. The service will include a special Christmas message from Dr. Eric Jacobsen, sharing from our children, carol singing, and hundreds of lighted candles. Come early to get a good seat!