Praising God’s Glory in song
The music program at First Presbyterian Church has a long history of quality music ministry and engagement within the community of Saginaw. We have been blessed for many years with the finest of instruments and a congregation who continues to generously support and preserve them. More importantly, our church is blessed with numerous participants in our music program who willingly give of their talents each Sunday to form a rich and varied ministry.
Our mission is first to praise the glory of God through music with our congregation; second, to connect and engage musically with the community of Saginaw at large through our varied concert series and music ministries; and third, to be an inclusive program that unites musical talents of all ages and ability levels.
The Chancel Choir is open to singers from high school and up. We have a wide variety of ages and ability levels. No audition is required and you need not be a member of the church to participate. Our repertoire is varied with an emphasis on traditional and contemporary traditional sacred music. Rehearsals take place on Thursdays from 7 – 8:30 pm in the sanctuary, and on Sunday mornings from 9:45 – 10:15 am. Services are from 10:30 – 11:30 am. Choir members are expected to sing at least 1 – 2 services and rehearsals per month, though we hope to have you join us EVERY week! Please email Collin below for more info.
Guest Soloists & Instrumentalists
We often feature members of our congregation as guests soloists or instrumentalists during worship. If you sing or play an instrument, you would be most welcome to perform for our services. We have featured singers, violinists, cellists, folk groups, vocal ensembles, and more for various services throughout the year. The summer months are the easiest time to give of your talents since the chancel choir takes off from June through August. Please feel welcome to reach out at any time though and we will find a way to work you into a service. Email Collin below to inquire.
This year our youth program is trying something new and exciting. Our kids will present a 20 minute children’s program as part of our 5:30 pm Christmas Eve service. There is something for youth of all ages and ability levels to do, whether singing a solo, singing with the choir, having a major or minor speaking part, or just dressing up as a shepherd. We want all the kids to be comfortable and to have fun as they share in the telling of Jesus’ birth. Rehearsals are Sundays from 12 – 12:30 pm following the service, and run from September through December. Please email Collin below with any questions.
We are currently seeking musicians who are enthusiastic about playing bells. Our goal is to form a bell choir that would perform for special services throughout the year, such as Christmas, Easter, and summer services. While being completely fluent in reading music is not a requirement, it is certainly a big help for the group. If you or someone you know might be interested in giving bells a try, please email Collin below.
Concerts and Recordings
In addition to our services which are streamed live on YouTube each week, we also live stream our concert series. At least once a year, our chancel choir and other volunteer singers and instrumentalists present special performances for our concert series or other events. The video included here features our Chancel Choir performing at the 2019 Our Choirs Love Emmaus House concert.
Collin Whitfield, Director of Music Ministries
Collin Whitfield is blessed to serve as Director of Music Ministries for First Presbyterian Church, where he directs the Chancel Choir, accompanies the congregation on our beautiful Casavant organ, and leads the CFPS Concert Series. A highly versatile composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and vocalist, Collin is the recipient of numerous awards for his compositions, including the 2019 James Highsmith Award from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for his orchestral work, Eclipse. The piece will be premiered by the Berkeley Symphony side-by-side with SFCM students in January 2020. In 2018, his setting of Emily Dickinson’s Because I could not stop for Death for SATB accompanied chorus was selected as the winning piece for the annual ACDA Choral Composition Competition at Central Michigan University.
Collin holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with notable composers David Conte and Mason Bates. He was the recipient of the 2018 scholarship from the Tacoma AGO Chapter, by which he studied organ with Dr. Paul Tegels. Currently, he is pursuing the Master of Music degree in Organ Performance at Central Michigan University, where he studies with Dr. Steven Egler.
More information regarding his musical background and engagements can be found at his website, www.collinwhitfield.com. He and his wife Erin live in Midland and often collaborate on recitals together. They are grateful to live in the beautiful Mitten state, and to be a part of this wonderful church family.