Worship Arts

Our vocal and instrumental ensembles honor the full history of Christian worship expression.

Under the leadership of our Worship Arts Team;

 Director, Michael Palmer;

Organist/Accompanist, Kory Heitzig and

Children’s Arts Teacher/Director, Kimberly Licavoli,

we celebrate the entire catalog of our worship heritage!

 

he Worship Arts Ministry is one of the core ministries of First Congregational Church. With the core values of linking sense to emotion and  intellect to heart, the Purpose of this ministry is to help create life affirming, spiritually uplifting worship and fellowship through rich artistic expressions on our congregation and the greater community. The Charter of the Worship Arts Ministry Team encompasses oversight and administration of the ministry while serving as partners with the Church’s 0ther core ministry teams in carrying out the mission of the Church.

If you would like more information about this wonderfully dynamic and engaging ministry please contact Michael Palmer, Ministry Director for Worship Arts.

Our Ensembles

CHANCEL CHOIR – The Chancel Choir is our flagship music ensemble leading worship each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Under the direction of Michael Palmer, the 50-voice ensemble is open to ALL. The only requirements for membership are enthusiasm, energy and effort…No audition required. Singing an extremely diverse repertoire, the Chancel Choir works together to develop a sense of community – musically and spiritually – enabling the ensemble to share the love of God through music. 

In addition to our regular Sunday services, the Chancel Choir helps lead special worship service through the liturgical season including: World Communion Sunday, All Saints, Advent Moravian Love Feast, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Easter and Pentecost. The Chancel Choir often collaborates with other community arts organizations in presenting concerts throughout the year. 

The Chancel Choir rehearses Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m. in the Choir Rehearsal room on the lower level of the church. Childcare is available. The season begins with rehearsal on the Thursday prior to Labor Day and continues through Pentecost.

Director: Michael Palmer
Organist/Accompanist: Kory Heitzig

Interested in Joining A Worship Ministry?

Choral Section Leaders are an integral part of the Chancel Choir and its ministry. Dating back to the early 1960’s First Congregational church has employed Section Leaders to help bolster each section of the choir as well as offering solo and small ensemble repertoire each Sunday in worship. Initially students from Western Michigan University were employed in these positions. However, it became clear the needs of the ministry were out-pacing the abilities of the students especially when it came to the Liturgical Calendar and Church Schedule. During the early 1990’s the church turned to employing professional singers from the greater Kalamazoo arts community. Since that time our Section Leaders have offered leadership in a myriad of ways, helping every member of the Chancel Choir offer the best of themselves as they serve the church. 

Our staff of Section Leaders include: 

  • Soprano, Corlyn Longer-Schreck 
  • Mezzo, Tami Snyder-Knutson  
  • Tenor, Howard Tejchma  
  • Baritone,  Jordan Thomas  
Section Leader Bios and Pictures

Handbells are an integral part of the First Congregational Worship Arts Ministry. The handbell choirs proudly ring a five-octave set of Malmark Handbells and a five octave set of Malmark Choirchimes. During the ministry’s infancy the first set of handbells were purchased in the early 1970’s in memory of George Bradley, whose family greatly supports the FCC Handbell Ministry. The 4th & 5th octave extensions were purchased about a decade later.  

Included in the inventory of handbell instruments are a five octave set of  Choirchimes purchased in the 1990’s. Inspired by the design of the common tuning- fork, Choirchimes are cast in aluminum providing a sound that is distinctively deep, rich and soothing. Choirchimes are light weight making them perfect for helping young and older ringers learn the art of handbell ringing without significant fatigue. 

Academy Handbell Ensemble – The Academy Handbell Ensemble is the premier handbell ensemble here at First Congregational. The ensemble rings regularly in worship and is challenged to make music at the highest levels. Experience in ringing and music reading, although not required, are very helpful. 

The Academy Handbell Ensemble rehearses Wednesday evenings, 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Handbell Rehearsal room on the lower level of the church. Childcare is available. The season begins with rehearsal on the Wednesday following Labor Day and continues through Pentecost.

Director: Michael Palmer

Interested in this Ministry?

Children’s Arts Ministry,  W. o. W. (Worship our Way) – The purpose of our arts ministry for children is to teach those in First through Eighth Grade how to worship God as participants and leaders by involving them in Sunday Worship experiences using the Performing (instrumental, vocal, speech/drama, movement) and Visual Arts. Built on the teaching philosophies of Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman the Children’s Arts Ministry combines Music (instrumental and vocal), Movement, Speech/Drama and Visual Art into a whole arts approach to building skills for the worship of God and worship leadership. Under the leadership of Kimberly Licavoli, the children come together each week working to develop a sense of community – musically and spiritually – enabling the ensemble to share the love of God through the arts.

Open to children grades 1 – 5, the Children’s Arts Ministry meets each Sunday morning from 9:00-9:45 a.m. Parents are strongly encouraged to be involved in the week-to-week activities so as to help make this a truly inter-generational ministry. 

Teacher/Director: Kimberly Licavoli

Interested in this Ministry?

Learn About our Instruments

 Gilmore Festival time in 2016, Michael Palmer approached the supplier of pianos 
to The Gilmore about a grand piano for his church.
We chose one from the Artist Pool, an incredible STEINWAY B manufactured in 2010.

Learn more about the pipe organs we have at First Congregational.

Our Wicks Opus 6419 Sanctuary Organ
Our Austin Opus 2354 Chapel Organ