Music has been at the heart of worship in the Judeo-Christian tradition from the earliest times. David, the second king of Israel, was a talented musician who composed many of the Psalms. The apostle Paul encouraged the Christian community of Colossae to “sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude” in their hearts. Plainchant facilitated the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, and every major Christian movement has been defined by the music that proclaims its message.
Indeed, music has resounded with the walls of this sacred space in Meadville since it was built nearly 150 years ago. The hymns, psalms, and anthems we sing each week are vital part of the church's worship, offered to the glory of God and for the nurture of God's people. If you have a musical talent to share, we would be delighted to hear from you!
Our mixed-voice choir explores repertoire ranging from Gregorian and Orthodox chant, to classical compositions, to arrangements of spirituals and early American sacred music. On Sunday mornings (September-May) the choir warms up at 9:30, sings at the 10:00 service, takes a short break, and rehearses again until noon. No musical training is necessary to join the choir, although the ability to sing on pitch is expected, as is a basic grasp of musical notation.
Believing in the importance of nurturing the art of choral singing, we annually offer a limited number of scholarships to Allegheny College students who sing with our choir. These singers provide a stable core to our choral sound, and help smooth out seasonal fluctuations in attendance.
Liberty Bells Established in 1975, this ensemble typically rings in church one Sunday each month. They have also performed in concerts and other community events, including Meadville’s much-loved ‘Trees of Christmas’ and the annual 'Spring Ring'. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays (September-May) from 5:30-6:15 PM. No prior handbell experience is required to join, but the ability to read music is necessary.
French Creek Brass Quintet (resuming 2022) The French Creek Brass Quintet, made up of professional brass players from across western Pennsylvania, has been our artists-in-residence for the past six years thanks to the generous support of Dr. Dennis and Marci Finton. This ensemble typically enriches our worship on several Sundays throughout the year, including Easter Sunday. We look forward to the quintet being with us again in 2022.
In January 1970, a disastrous fire damaged the sanctuary and destroyed the four-manual organ built in 1924 by the Tellers-Kent company of Erie. The church engaged the Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo to craft a new instrument of three manuals and 46 (now 47) ranks, inspired by German organs of the 18th century.
This organ was dedicated in November 1972, and since that time has received a new console and blower, but is otherwise largely unaltered. With over 2,500 pipes it is Meadville’s largest instrument, and is frequently used for concerts in addition to being at the heart of our weekly worship.
The stoplist can be found online here at the OHS database.
Please enjoy this short video introduction to our pipe organ!
Steinway #88462 was built in New York in 1897, acquired by First Presbyterian in 1969, and refurbished in 1999. In 2022 it was refurbished again by Amy Marshall of Wexford to ensure it will serve the congregation for decades to come. The rich tones of this historic instrument are an excellent match for the acoustic space it fills.
125-year-old ivory keys before and after restoration.
Handbells Our set of Schulmerich handbells has grown over the years, from two octaves in the 1960s to the five octaves we have today. They are complimented by a three-octave set of Malmark handchimes.