Music at First Unitarian


First Unitarian Church of Worcester 
enjoys a long tradition of fine choral and instrumental music since its beginnings with one of the first churches in our area in the 19th Century to install a mechanical action pipe organ and hire notable organists (who were also composers, directors, university professors, etc.). Choral music has always been a cornerstone of our worship services and support from our parishioners.

Music, because of its deeply spiritual power to inspire our emotions or illustrate a text, plays an integral role in engaging the mind and heart, deeply probing the concepts heard in the spoken word. Music is a universal language, and, with people around the world each week, we celebrate and express our faith through the singing of hymns, anthems, and solos, all accompanied by pipe organ, piano, harpsichord, and a variety of other fine instruments. We embrace a diversity of musical styles and cultures from Anglican Episcopal to Southern Gospel, from Kwanza and Channukah to Easter and Earth Day. Although our musical emphasis is typically western classical and spiritual/gospel, we enjoy exploring many other musical styles.

We continue our support of fine music for our services and concerts for the community both in our unusually broad spectrum of artistic performances of choral & instrumental music and support of music performance opportunites and training for young musicians.

Our choral music program combines the talents of volunteers from our congregation with a few professional vocalists so that we can have the critical mass to include larger and more difficult works in our repertoire. The challenging repertoire and opportunity to frequently perform with orchestra attracts both additional singers as well as music lovers in our congregation.

Our church music program is unique in the Worcester area because our Festival Choir:

  • performs three full anthems (for two Sundays each month) in addition to the Introit and Choral Benediction and other service music;
    for the other two Sundays, our Chamber Choir and soloists provide choral, vocal, and instrumental music that enriches the spiritual theme of the service.
  • performs several times per year with full or chamber orchestra
  • has access to some of the best vocal soloists in New England to sing with us and provide centerpiece solos
  • has the benefit of a rich array of fine instruments for both accompanying the choir and solo/concert performance:
    • 69-rank Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ (2004), maintained in perfect condition
    • two, matched Steinway Model B grand pianos (two-piano accpts possible)
    • four in-house pedal timpani, as well as an array of congas, bongos, and other percussion
    • 3-rank two-manual (transposing) harpsichord
    • jazz combo (piano, drums, sax, bass)
    • synthesizers to provide credible additional secondary accpts (harp, string bass, etc.) when needed.
  • is sometimes included in our Court Hill Music Festival concert series
  • is supported with funding from our music Encore Fund to which parishioners contribute to support our music program for scores, musicians, instruments, etc.