Music is an integral part of worship at First Church! For many people, music quenches the longings of the soul and brings us into closer into communion with God.
Whether you are a singer in the shower or a virtuoso, there are multiple opportunities to deepen your skills and share your gifts with the First Church community!
We hope you will connect musically with us! Please contact Director of Music Derek Tam for more information.
Music in Worship
This is—and is not—your grandmother's church choir! Nourish your spirit in a supportive environment not only through choral classics, but also through dynamic works from contemporary composers.
Our choir is an all-volunteer choir, and the ability to read music is greatly recommended.
From September through May, the Sanctuary Choir sings in most Sunday worship services and rehearses 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays in the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary Choir is on summer break and will resume in fall 2023. Contact Director of Music Derek Tam for more information.
We will have drop-in sessions, starting 9 am Sunday morning, on June 25, July 16, and August 6.
Nourish your soul singing gospel standards, from spirituals to contemporary classics! We learn by listening as well as through sheet music—all singers welcome.
The Gospel Choir meets on a semi-regular basis and is a "drop-in" choir.
The Gospel Choir is on summer break and will resume in fall 2023. Contact Director of Music Derek Tam for more information.
Ring your soul’s bell playing with the Bell Choir, led by Jim Coates. No experience necessary, except for a willingness to learn! All ages are welcome.
From September through May, the Bell Choir rehearses on Tuesdays from 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Pillar Room. The Bell Choir shares music in worship about once every two to three months.
Contact bell choir leader Jim Coates for more information.
Explore the fun side of music-making with the all-ages Ukulele Ensemble—better known at First Church as Uke-Atastrophe—led by Kate Lucchese. No experience required, and loaner ukuleles are available.
The Ukulele Ensemble holds an offsite evening meeting on the second Wednesday of each month.
Songs of the Soul
Middle and high schoolers are invited to Songs of the Soul, led by Linda Crebbin-Coates.
From September through May, Songs of the Soul rehearses on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am in the East Bay School for Boys (Plymouth House), Room 4.
Songs of the Soul continues to meet (on Zoom) Sunday mornings.
Small Ensembles offer music frequently in worship. Vocalists, guitarists, drummers and instrumentalists of all stripes are welcome to share their music!
If you are interested in helping to lead congregational singing, please fill out this form.
Music in Our Community
The impact of First Church’s musical life extends far beyond worship services. Our Sanctuary serves as a major venue for lectures and classical music performances in the Bay Area, regularly hosting world-class performances from Cal Performances, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Chanticleer and the American Bach Soloists.
We live out our faithful commitment to remaking the world through various musical collaborations and projects.
We collaborate annually with our sister church City of Refuge UCC in January and February to celebrate the legacy of the black church and to raise funds for local and international ministries!
Our music program has also supported initiatives to combat homelessness, such as this performance of the Street Requiem, which raised over $14,000 for the Berkeley Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center.
In addition, First Church sponsors Resonance, our award-winning concert series!