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 “Church 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.

Bell 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.
No prior music knowledge is needed to join a bell choir (it helps, of course). We will train you to read your notes. Our bell choirs use a double set of bells so each new member is partnered with an experienced ringer. Rehearsals are planned with fun in mind and our ringers enjoy the rehearsals and ministry to our church and outside groups.
For more information please contact the Bell Choir Director Daniel Heath at or Sonja West at

Chapel Bell Ringers 2018-2019 Schedule

  • The Chapel Bell Ringers (5th- 8th grade) meet from 7-8 pm on Wednesday nights in Middleton Parlor (Room 109 on the church map).
  • The first practice for the 2018-2019 school year is on September 19.

Lindsey Bell Ringers 2018-19 Schedule

  • The Lindsey Bell Ringers (9th grade and up) meet from 5:30-6:30 pm on Wednesday nights in Middleton Parlor (Room 109 on the church map).
  • The first practice for the 2018-2019 school year is on September 19.

News and Updates

Rehearsal Updates (dates not listed follow normal schedule above):

  • Wednesday, April 3: Lindsey Bell Choir Rehearsal from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. No Chapel Bell Choir Rehearsal.
  • Wednesday, April 24: No rehearsal for either bell choir.
  • Wednesday, May 15: 50th Anniversary Bell Choir Rehearsal with Lindsey Bell Choir. No Chapel Bell Choir Rehearsal.

Upcoming Bell Performances:

  • On Easter Sunday, April 21, the Lindsey Bell Choir will be performing in the Sunday morning service.
  • On Mother’s Day, May 12, the Chapel Bell Choir will be performing in the Sunday morning service.
  • On Sunday, May 19, the 50th Anniversary Bell Choir will be performing in the Sunday morning service. Anyone who has played in our bell choirs in the last 50 years is invited to join. Contact Bell Choir Director Daniel Heath at for more information.



  • To get more information on how to become involved, contact our Minister of Worship, Dr. Daniel Perrin.

Music News

So Wonderful!

Watch soloist Sheila Kelly and a group drawn from FPC’s Choir and praise team perform “So Wonderful” today in worship. This amazing piece was written by our own Minister of Worship, Dr. Daniel Perrin. Thanks to Chip Van Gilder for uploading the video! The other members performing the piece were Daniel and Melinda Perrin, Becky Hayden, Cristoph Hoashi-Erhardt, and Todd Pressley (on percussion).

Countdown: Just 10 Days Until Our Christmas Carol Concert!

Have you put our Christmas Carol Concert on your calendar yet? Don’t wait until it’s too late! You won’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity on Dec. 10 at 6:00 pm to sing carols accompanied by an orchestra, handbell choir, vocal choir, and pipe organ. Not convinced? Here’s a selection from last year’s concert to whet your appetite:
The concert will take place at Tacoma’s historic First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Division and Tacoma Ave. S.

Christmas Events 2017 at Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church

Join us as we celebrate the real meaning of Christmas at Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church this year. We have a series of wonderful events for the entire family. Whatever your background, and whatever is happening in your life right now, you are welcome here!
In addition to these events, be sure to stop by our Church Library in Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings before and after the service for a great selection of Christmas books and DVDs for kids and adults.

Sunday, December 3

Family U: “Creating Family Traditions” (9:15 am)

Advent Communion and Worship (10:30 am)

Mark the first Sunday of Advent with Holy Communion plus the FPC-premiere of an original choral work by our music director Dr. Daniel Perrin, “So Wonderful!” Daniel will also share the story that led him to write this amazing and joyous piece. During Communion, we be singing “Christmas Joy,” an Advent carol written by member Terry Estvold and led by Connie Connally on the guitar. You won’t want to miss this start to the Advent season! Pastor Eric will be preaching a special sermon series during Advent drawn from the book of Isaiah.

Sunday, December 10

FREE Christmas Play: “Improv in a Pear Tree” (9:00 am, Fellowship Hall)

Join us for a free performance of a Christmas play by Taproot Theatre Company during the Sunday School hour on Dec. 10, starting at 9:00 am. Going home for the holidays is a special sort of adventure full of road trips, family traditions and the crazy characters we call friends and family. This year, Taproot’s Improv Team is bringing you the story of a pair of newlyweds sharing their first Christmas. Using suggestions from the audience, the actors create the characters, traditions and circumstances to create a hilarious and unexpected holiday story you won’t forget. No two performances are the same! Improv in a Pear Tree is written by Emily Shuel and directed by Danny Walter.

Christmas Worship with Dickens Carolers (10:25 am)

Come to worship early and hear the Dickens Carolers present a selection of carols throughout our worship service, starting before the service at 10:25 am. The Dickens Carolers are a quartet dressed for the season in the garb of Victorian London.

A Celebration of Carols Concert (6:00 pm, Sanctuary)

Sing your favorite Christmas carols accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra, handbell choir, vocal choir, plus an organ with 3,000 pipes! Back by popular demand, this carol concert combines congregational singing with special music by soloists, our Chancel Choir, and our Lindsey Bell Choir. A Christmas reception with hot cider and hot chocolate follows in the Sanctuary.

Sunday, December 17

Children’s Christmas Pageant (10:30 am, Sanctuary)

Experience the Christmas season through the eyes of our children as they present their annual Christmas pageant through songs and readings in the midst of our Sunday worship service.

Monday, December 18

Christmas Friendship Luncheon (12:00 pm)

Join us for a delicious luncheon for those age 55+

Sunday, December 24

Advent Worship (10:30 am, Sanctuary)

Join us for worship on the final Sunday of Advent as we prepare our hearts for Christmas.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (7:00 pm, Sanctuary)

Don’t miss this Tacoma-area tradition featuring Chancel Choir, soloists, instrumentalists, pipe organ, and hundreds of candles in the cathedral-like sanctuary of First Presbyterian Tacoma. This is one of the highlights of the entire year!

Meet, Greet & Treat


Tuesday, October 31st 4:00pm-6:00pm Dickson (Inner) Courtyard

For all FPC and School families!

Costume parade starts at 4:30pm. Hot Dogs, Chili, Cider, Treat bags, Glow Sticks! So much fun and then you can join the Street of Treats in the Stadium District!
**We are also in need of some volunteers to help out. If you are interested, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Carol Heath at

TRICK OR TREAT #Fortacoma! 

We need volunteers to help us welcome the neighborhood into our sanctuary for Trick or Treat from 3:45pm – 6:00pm on Tuesday, October 31.  You can be indoors passing out candy to kids or outdoors greeting adults and handing out hot chocolate in the #Fortacoma booth .  Contact Carol Heath or just show up!


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,
Before applying, please be sure to read the job description below as well as our church’s essential tenets and core values at



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.


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


  • 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).


  • 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
  • Life and character consistent with Biblical standards upheld by First Presbyterian Church.
  • Strong knowledge of current styles and genres of contemporary Christian music.


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.


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.


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.