Worship Music

For Christians, music is a fundamental part of praising God.

The Covid pandemic has temporarily stopped First Church music groups from meeting in person.  We do offer some virtual choir experiences, and if you would like to be a part of those, please contact the music director at kalamazoofumc@umc-kzo.org. Once it is safe to gather for rehearsals, Music Director Jacqueline Stilger will notify participants so that we might make music together once more! 

Music is a vital component to our worship life at First Church.  Through music, we strive to joyfully grow in discipleship, express our faith, experience the meaningful traditions of the church, and to give glory and honor to God.

Chancel Choir

Director of Music Jacqueline Stilger leads this SATB vocal ensemble which sings in worship each Sunday, September through May. Working together for both musical and spiritual connection, the group seek to share God’s love through music. They rehearse on Thursday evenings from 7:15 to 9:00 during the regular program year.

First Beats Children’s Ensemble

This ensemble is open to children from 3rd grade through 8th grade.  It is a non-auditioned group and music reading ability is not required.  First Beats offers a wide variety of musical experiences, enhancing spiritual lives through the arts.  The children regularly sing, play handbells, drums, and Orff instruments in worship as an expression of prayer and praise.  They annually present a Christmas pageant and a Spring Musical.

First Bells

Our youngest musicians participate in this ensemble and joyfully ring colored bells under the leadership of Carol Grant.  It is open to children ages 2 through second grade and they offer their gifts once a month at the 11:00 service.

First Singers

Richard Peavler leads the First Singers choir, an SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) ensemble who enjoying singing from a variety of styles and genres.  This ensemble rehearses on Sunday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. and sings twice a month in Sunday worship, September through May.

First Strings

Our string orchestra ensemble, led by Anne Sherfield of the Battle Creek Symphony, plays for worship four or five times a year.  It is open to all teens and adults with orchestral experience.  New string players are always welcome.

Handbell Choir

Our 5-octave handbell choir is open to adults and teens who are able to read music.  The ensemble rehearses on Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., September through May and proclaims the joy and artistry of handbell ringing in worship each month at the 8:30 and 11:00 services.  Positions become available periodically and the ensemble is often looking for qualified substitutes.

Ukulele Krush

Ukulele Krush was established in 2018 under the leadership of Music Director Jackie Stilger.  We learn basic chords, strumming patterns and picking styles and grow in our knowledge of the instrument.  We sing and play at retirement communities and in worship with the goal of bringing the love of God and the joy of music to others through this fabulous little instrument.  Rehearsals are normally every third Sunday of the month at 3:00 p.m.

Jackie Stilger and Bernie Foulk are so much more than just the people in charge of the church’s music program.  They are also ministers.  We are encouraged to share our thoughts and concerns.  That means a lot to me.


I would like to thank Jackie Stilger for all her efforts to help me challenge myself to sing. I’ve grown a great deal participating in the choir.


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