Artistic expression adds spiritual depth to our worship services, reinforces our multicultural aspirations, provides opportunities for building community, connects us to cultural changes in the larger community, challenges our assumptions, and gives voice to our shared Unitarian Universalist values. At First Unitarian Church, we are blessed with many different kinds of artistic expression—art, dance, music, and, most recently, spoken word. We hope you will find a way to become involved in one or another of the groups that contribute to the artistic life of First Unitarian Church.
The music program at First Unitarian Church serves our members through joyful celebrations both in our worship services and in the larger community. We nourish congregational music-making by offering a variety of ways for members to make both instrumental and choral music together. We also work with musicians from the larger community to present rich, meaningful, and diverse musical offerings in our worship celebrations.
Invitation from Director of Music, Emily Pinkerton
Many members of our congregation are fine amateur and professional musicians who love to share their musical talents during services. The invitation is always open to any and all of you - singers, instrumentalists, and ensembles - who wish to be part of our joyful and vibrant musical life. Join the UUMusicMakers e-mail list to hear about the latest solo and ensemble performance opportunities at First Unitarian, including our folk music jams and our Christmas and Easter choirs.
If you are an experienced singer, also consider assisting with hymn leading at weekly services! Contact Emily Pinkerton, and plan some beautiful congregational singing!
Our all-ages, all-abilities choir, Joyful Noise, is the heart of the music program, and embodies the inclusive spirit and mission of this congregation. Join us on Thursday evenings for dinner and rehearsal starting at 6pm.
A formal choir will sing for high holidays, special events (like the Cluster Assembly and Let Freedom Sing!), as well as periodic services. A special rehearsal time is available from 8:00 to 9:00 each week for self-organized, small group, and/or staff-led, choral rehearsals.
The Dance Choir is a creative performing group that seeks to enhance the worship experience through original performances pieces and through simple participatory movement experience done with the congregation. It is open to a range of age and skill levels and members can commit to a single project or be part of the ongoing core group of dancers. We especially encourage youth and men to give dance a try! We also encourage any "nonmovers" who may want to help with costumes, lights, or other tasks to join us in sharing the joy of dance. For more information ask a Dance Choir member, or contact Mary Pat Mengato.
The Recorder Group has performed about once a year, and in the lead up to a performance we meet regularly for practice. Contact Mary Denison or Stuart Hastings.
A celebration of folk, Americana, bluegrass, singer-songwriter, old-time, and world music, featuring local, regional and national artists. We are dedicated to establishing a welcoming and meaningful space both for making and listening to quality music. Learn more at http://www.uusongspace.com.
Tapestry Chamber Music has partnered this year with Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh to continue its mission of presenting high quality and diverse classical music programming: http://www.uutapestry.com.
This groups meets on the first Saturdays at 10:00am to quilt together. A times, quilts are designed and made for service donations, but may quilters work on their own projects as well. Basic sewing skills are helpful. Contact Shelly Ross or Annie Stunden.
The Writing Salon is a monthly meeting of writers who read their work out loud and share positive critiques. We believe that making friends is as important as writing. Contact Melody Platz.
The Music and the Arts Team
The Music and the Arts Team meets on the first Wednesday of each month and includes representatives from select music and art groups. Contact Brian Junker.
The Art Committee is responsible for exhibiting art installations in the Undercroft Gallery. This mission is to promote art shared by values consistent with our Unitarian covenant and also promotion of art of members and friends of the First Church as well as qualified artists from our urban community. Contact Ali Masalehdan.
Music Endowment Committee
The purpose of the committee is to review, and if necessary invite, proposals to spend funds from the Music Endowment. These are spent on one-time purchases and one-time music events (rather than ongoing maintenance expenses). By appointment only.
We are fortunate to have several wonderful musical instruments in our Sanctuary. The organ was built by Phillipp Wirsching and given to the church in 1904 by Andrew Carnegie. It was featured in an article in the January 2003 issue of The Tracker: The Journal of the Organ Historical Society. Our concert grand Steinway piano was purchased in 1981. The harpsichord was built in 1978 by James Herndon, the father of our Senior Minister, Rev. David Herndon. The Baldwin electronic organ belonged to the grandfather of Bill Larson. Four other pianos plus an electronic keyboard reside in various rooms around the church building.