Music and the Arts

First United Methodist Church is a place for the arts.

Nurturing beauty and sharing it with others is a means of strengthening community and is a grateful response for the creative gifts we receive from the Divine Artist. The soaring architecture of First UMC’s landmark 1924 church building is a grand setting for art of every kind – musical performance, theater productions, displays of visual art and more. There is a place for you – as a participant or observer:


First UMC offers a singing opportunity for all – from pre-kindergarten on up! Everyone with a tuneful voice is encouraged to join their talents with others and experience community and the joy of serving in worship. The choirs are active from September through June. Contact individual directors to learn more, or contact Gregory Norton (

Gregory Norton, director (
Rehearsals: Thursdays 7:30-9:30 p.m.

As First UMC’s principal choir, The Chancel Choir is heard in worship most Sundays and also presents concerts at the church. The choir’s repertoire includes traditional choral music from the past five centuries, music of our time and a variety of music from other cultures. All adults (age 18 and older) are welcome.

Gregory Norton, director (
Rehearsals: Sundays 5:30-6:45 p.m.

First UMC’s youth choir is an active component of the congregation’s worship life and ministry with youth. They are frequently heard in worship, as an independent choir and in combination with the Chancel Choir. The choir also undertakes an annual tour each June. Other annual activities include the winter Cabaret, a fundraiser for the choir’s activities.

CANTATE CHOIR (grades 3-6)
Chrissa Hayes, director
Rehearsals: 11 a.m. to noon on Sundays

This choir offers young singers the opportunity to develop musical skills while learning through service and worship participation. In addition to regularly singing in Sunday worship, the choir also offers an annual Christmas Pageant and a Mother’s Day musical each year.

CHERUB CHOIR (pre-K-second grade)
Alan Wellman, director
Rehearsals: 11 a.m. to noon on Sundays

First UMC’s youngest singers present age-appropriate songs in worship and often combine with the Cantate Choir in annual pageants and concerts. The emphasis is placed on a positive first experience in ensemble singing while building confidence, creativity and curiosity.

Handbell Choirs

Anyone who has a willingness to learn and a spirit of participation is invited to join a handbell choir! Ensembles for all age groups rehearse weekly and regularly contribute to services and concerts at the church, often in combination with singing choirs. The handbell choirs are also are a means of musical outreach and regularly perform in the wider community and at handbell festivals.  To learn more, contact Megan Goldstein, Handbell Choir Director (


This is a special program within the Cantate and Cherub choirs intended to increase musical skills through the use of tone chimes, handbells, and Orff instruments.

Rehearsals: Sundays 12:00 to 12:45 p.m.

ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR (age 18 and above)
Rehearsals: Sundays 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.


Summer Musical Program

The Summer Youth Musical program has been a First UMC tradition every July since 1970. It is a unique opportunity for all area youth as it offers them an introduction to musical theater in a ‘do unto others’ environment. From time to time, the summer musical program is an intergenerational theater opportunity involving ages 12 to 75 supporting each other in learning dance steps, singing songs and rehearsing lines. Summer musicals build teamwork, self-confidence, and self-discipline at absolutely no financial cost to the participants.

Other Theater Opportunities

A wide variety of theatrical events are offered throughout the year. These productions are intergenerational and call upon the many talents of church members and friends in the community. Among the program’s goals is to provide spoken word opportunities for families that encourage reading and literacy as well as presenting thought-provoking plays that challenge us to think about the world around us in new ways.

Arts Committee

Bringing art to the congregation, the Arts Committee oversees many activities throughout the year. These include the Advent holiday workshop, Gingerbread House Making, Thanksgiving and Mothers Day Floral workshops, Harvest Festival, and several art shows and classes offered at various times.  The committee also organizes the many Art Shows held before and after worship in Fellowship Hall and participates in community art events such as Art Night Pasadena and Make Music Pasadena.