Resonance @ First Church

Join us for our summer "sing-ins", and stay tuned for our 2024–25 season!

Since 2014, we have brought world-class performances to the East Bay! From classical music to jazz and everything in between, savor our historic Sanctuary's inimitable acoustics.

We promise to bring our "characteristic vitality" to a series of exciting performances (Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle) as we celebrate a decade of memorable concerts!

If you've been joining us online and can't join us in person, fear not! We'll continue to post occasional content on the First Church Berkeley YouTube channel—don't forget to subscribe.

Please consider a donation to support great music beyond ticket sales. Your generosity will support the First Church Berkeley Music Fund!


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Summer "Sing-Ins" with Derek Tam!

July 13 & August 3 • 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Keep up your singing chops and explore a choral masterwork with one of our summer "sing-ins," hosted in the Sanctuary of First Church Berkeley UCC.

In these low-pressure reading sessions, conductor Derek Tam will guide you through a choral masterwork, supported by collaborative pianist Ty Ding. You’ll sing and learn about each work, as well as gather with fellow singers. Prepare as little or as much as you want!

On July 13, we’ll read through Gabriel Fauré’s peaceful Requiem.
On August 3, we'll read through Margaret Bonds' powerful Credo.

Each session will be $25, with printed scores provided.


2024–25 Concerts • STAY TUNED!

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Covid-19 Protocols

We are striving to consistently make informed decisions regarding COVID-19 and its impact on live performances

  • Masks are recommended, though not required. We encourage use of N95, KN95, or KF94 masks, worn appropriately.
  • Up-to-date vaccinations are recommended, though not required.
  • When you arrive, we encourage you to choose seats, if possible, with some distance between other groups of patrons—it is a large space!

Past 2023–24 Concerts


Elizabeth Forsyth & Friends

Thursday, April 11 • 7:30 pm

Enjoy an evening of amazing music on First Church’s 4,873-pipe organ—plus flute, piano, voice, and more!

First Church organist Elizabeth Forsyth invites you to celebrate her ten-year anniversary in a concert with friends, featuring composers famous and obscure with music ranging from grand and thrilling to lighthearted and joyous.

Featured guests include Angela Arnold (soprano), Liesl Botts (violin), Sarah Holzman (flute), Amar Khalsa (multi-instrumentalist), and Derek Tam (organ).


Nature Sounds

Saturday, February 10 • 7:30 pm

Do you know what sound a dodo makes?

No one alive knows, but this concert will attempt to answer this burning question and more! Contralto Sara Couden—praised in Opera News for her “unusually rich and resonant” voice—will bring a program both silly and sublime. From lamenting a pet canary to rhapsodizing about the wonders of the outdoors, Sara and pianist Derek Tam will showcase music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, Georg Philipp Telemann, Zachary Wadsworth, and others.


Les Rebelles Baroques

Saturday, October 7 • 7:30 pm

Join Grammy-nominated violinist Andrew McIntosh, Erik Andersen (viola da gamba), and Derek Tam (harpsichord) for "Les Rebelles Baroques," a program centered around the sensuous music of the high French Baroque. Savor the audacious compositions of Jean-Féry Rebel, whose music was beloved by royals and bourgeoisie alike. Also featured will be music by virtuoso gambist Marin Marais, as well as music by harpsichordist Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, who published her first collection of works under royal imprimatur at the tender age of 22.

More About Resonance

In 2014, First Church Berkeley, a premier venue for music performance in the East Bay, created its own exciting series of chamber and orchestral music concerts. Now in its tenth season, Resonance @ First Church has become a mainstay of the East Bay artistic calendar.

Music has always been an important part of the life of First Church. It touches the soul and gives sound and voice to ineffable mystery. We sing together and share our musical gifts. We also delight in the special talents of artists from within our community and beyond.

Derek Tam, First Church's Director of Music, curates this exciting series.


$30 general
$20 First Church members and students under 25 (with ID)

Our past seasons include:

2022–23 series: Women of Majesty • Bethany Hill | First Church Festival Chorus • Schubert and Pergolesi | Around the World in Eighty Minutes • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ | Belle Époque • Derek Tam, piano

2021–22 series: J.S. Bach: Gamba Sonatas • Erik Andersen and Derek Tam | Breanna Sinclairé (cancelled due to Covid-19) | First Church Festival Chorus • Schubert and Pergolesi (postponed) | Singing Hope (cancelled)

2020–21 online series: Darnell Ishmel & Andrew Jamieson | Thrive Choir | Music of Black Composers • Derek Tam, piano  | Toccatas and Tunes • Elizabeth Forsyth,organ | Mozart Requiem: Lecture and Sing-Along | Singing Hope: Praise Through a Pandemic

2020–21 summer in-person series: Bach and Friends • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ | Stormy Beethoven • Derek Tam, fortepiano | A Saint-Saëns Celebration • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ

2019–20: Blessing of the Animals | Beethoven at 250 | First Church Festival Chorus ·  Duruflé Requiem and Quatre Motets | Singing Hope! | Bach's Goldberg Variations (cancelled due to Covid-19)

2018–19: Costanoan Trio | Carnival of the Animals | Ars Minerva · Ifigenia in Aulide | First Church Festival Chorus · Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem & Serenade to Music | Derek Tam, fortepiano | Elizabeth Forsyth, organ

2017–18: Mozart for Friends | Jason Chu | Mya Byrne | First Church Festival Chorus · Brahms Requiem | Peter and the Wolf | Sylvestris Quartet | MUSA · The Birth of the String Symphony

2016–17: First Church Festival Chorus · Carmina Burana | Salisbury Cathedral Choir | Ja Ronn & FLOW

2015–16: MUSA · Brandenburg Concertos | Kyle Stegall, tenor | Andrew Jamieson & Trouble Ensemble | First Church Festival Chorus · Fauré Requiem

2014–15: Derek Tam, harpsichord | Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time | French Baroque | First Church Festival Chorus · Vivaldi Gloria


First Church is on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus, just west of Telegraph Avenue. It is a few blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART and is accessible by several bus lines. Some paid parking is available in the church parking lot. Directions to the church and public transportation information...