"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!"

Psalm 150:6

First United Methodist Church of Peoria invites you to come to Music at First.  This music series is funded by the Foundation of First United Methodist Church which provides the Peoria community the opportunity to come to these concerts free of charge. Music at First includes a variety of opportunities to have your soul nurtured through the musical and performing arts.  Come to the heart of the city and experience the great music at First.  

Past concerts have included our annual Lessons & Carols with choir and orchestra, Diane Bish, Angela Brown, Chanticleer, Fernando Ortega, Dr. John Orfe, Mariachi Monumental de Chicago, AGAPE Ringers, and a variety of collegiate ensembles.  The choir has also presented major choral works including:  The Gift of Life (Rutter), Jubilate Deo (Forrest), Sunrise Mass (Gjeilo), The Peacemakers (Jenkins), and Requiem (Rutter).

Stories From Lessons & Carols

Music That Matters

Johnathan Wells
(Sanctuary Choir, second year singing in the FUMC Choir)
I enjoy Lessons and Carols because not only do I get to sing with a more mature group than I traditionally do, but I also get to be exposed to music that I rarely have the opportunity to sing. Singing in Lessons and Carols has introduced me to a variety of songs that all point to the real meaning of Christmas. Each piece that we sing opens my eyes to a new and different perspective of the holiday season.  I want others to see how much the message of Christmas, conveyed through Lessons and Carols, means to me. My hope is that people will notice how extremely passionate the FUMC choir is and that each musician is sharing something they truly love in the only way many of us knows how. Through the music performed, I hope listeners will come to know the story of Christmas better, and eagerly want to be a part of that story with us as we sing. 

A Ringing Endorsement

Heather Hill
(Handbell Ensemble, six years ringing in the Bells of Praise)
I began playing in the handbell choir at First United Methodist Church over five years ago. This year, I will be ringing in my sixth Lesson and Carols and I enjoy it more and more every year. Being a member of the bell ensemble is a lot of fun, and I always look forward to the beginning of the season in August. I'm not the type of person that easily makes friends or gets to know people; however, when I started playing in the bell ensemble, I found a small group that welcomed me and loved me. I've made great friends while we work hard towards the same musical goals. Even though preparing for Lessons and Carols is a lot of work for everyone involved, it always becomes worth it when we hear the first note that is played. Lessons and Carols is a highlight of the bell choir’s year, as well as a staple in the Christmas season for me.

A Legacy of Joy

Gordon Mauer 
(Sanctuary Choir, 34 Years in the FUMC Choir)
The Christmas season will soon be upon us. I love to worship God through music, and the opportunity of singing in our choir’s presentation of Lessons and Carols. The words of the carols that we sing, mean so much to me spiritually. Each word brings great joy, love, and fulfillment.  I have sung in our church choir for 34 years, and have enjoyed being in the midst of wonderful people who love God. From the time that I was a child, music has been such an important part of my life. My mother was a church organist and piano teacher for many years, and she instilled in me the importance of music and worshiping through song. Music has a special way of bringing so much joy and contentment to one who loves the Lord. “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.” - Psalms 150:6

The Sound of Healing

Leslie Koons
(Violinist, multiple years playing for FUMC Peoria events)
I was asked to write about my thoughts on playing for the Lessons and Carols Christmas program every year and I immediately remembered a special time three years ago. Early in December, I received a phone call asking me to head to Wisconsin because my mother had fallen and was declining rapidly. I called Douglas Grogan to explain that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to play for the Christmas program.  Of course, he was sympathetic and understanding about my need to back out. As it turned out, things went rather quickly and I was able to come home after making all the arrangements for a later funeral. I called Doug and explained that I was back after all, and asked him if I could still play.  He said that he had hired another player, but I should come and play. Playing my violin, for music about the miracle of Christmas, with many of my musician friends was so comforting and restored my spirit. I enjoy playing every year, but I will always be very grateful to Douglas Grogan for that special chance to play the year my mother died..

Scenes from Lessons & Carols 2019

Excellence In Community Events

Check back often for details on our next community music events

In March of 2019 we were blessed to welcome Dove Award winning artist, musician, and composer, Fernando Ortega.  The evening included his classic, "Give Me Jesus," group sing-alongs, and a duet with our own Melinda Huisenga (pictured, to the right).

Get Involved with Music at First

If you have a question, suggestion, or would like to get involved, let us know.
Anything sent on this form goes directly to Douglas Grogan, Director of Traditional Music.