A spiritual community for all: advancing justice and embracing diversity with love and acceptance

Music Program

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston: Copperfield Campus, is seeking a pianist to provide music on Sundays. Duties include playing hymns and collaborating with a small band for special music. Band rehearsal is at 9am. Services are at 10am. The pay is $100/week. Contact Mark Vogel for more information: mark@firstuu.org, or http://www.fuunco.org/home.

The Music Program at First Church has a long tradition of enhancing worship and inspiring our congregation. We offer opportunities for musicians of all ages and abilities to participate in a diverse range of ensembles. Our program fosters a rich sense of community, as together, we explore music that stirs the soul and enlivens our spirits.
-Mark Vogel, Music Director

Our Ensembles

The Sanctuary Choir
Adult ensemble singing a wide variety of choral anthems in all styles, including classical, world music, jazz, folk and more.
Meets August-May, Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 pm in the Music Room. Sings three-four Sundays per month.
Contact: Mark Vogel at mark@firstuu.org
First UU String Band
A volunteer band of many different stringed instruments, but primarily ukuleles. Music includes folk, hymns, pop and standards, which are sung as well as played. Beginners are welcome and there are ukuleles available to lend.
Meets Sundays, August-May, 10:45-11:15 am in the Music Room. Occasionally performs in worship services and special occasions throughout the year.
Contact: Carol Burrus at carol@firstuu.org
First Church Chamber Ensemble
Guild of church members and friends who prepare and perform instrumental chamber music in worship services.
Contact: James McGehee at jfmcgehee@yahoo.com or Mark Vogel at mark@firstuu.org
Guest Musicians and Soloists
Dynamic performers regularly appear before our congregation during services to bring special music throughout the year.
Closing Circle
A time and place for group singing, just for fun, that happens when children finish their classes and parents meet us after each service.
Meets Sundays, 10:35-10:45 am & 12:35-12:45 pm in the Fireside Room.
Contact: Carol Burrus at carol@firstuu.org
Garden Singers
Multi-generational choir, singing occasionally for services and special events.
Meets some Sundays during Closing Circle in the Fireside Room, 10:35-10:45 am & 12:35-12:45 pm a few weeks prior to a performance. Contact: Carol Burrus at carol@firstuu.org
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For more information about joining any of our ensembles, contact our Music Director, Mark Vogel at mark@firstuu.org.

Special Music Services and Choir Concerts

The First Church choirs regularly present major works of choral literature. In recent years these performances have included masterworks of Schubert, Palestrina, Ola Gjeilo, and many others. In 2015, the Music Program commissioned “Kindling,” a new work by Elizabeth Alexander based on the six sources of Unitarian Universalism.

Our Facility

First Church enjoys a longstanding reputation as a center of fine music making. Located in the center of the Museum District, its sanctuary is sought after by Houston's premier musicians as a venue to present recitals and chamber music because of the superior acoustics.

The Sanctuary is graced with two fine keyboard instruments. The German Baroque specified organ, in its current configuration, has 38 ranks with great, swell, and pedal divisions. The present instrument was originally constructed by John Fort (Dallas) in the early 1960s and was dedicated by Robert Jones, Professor of Organ at UH for many years. It was built as a two-manual instrument and originally had no pedal. In the mid-1970s the pedal was added by Visser Rowland. In the early 1990s, when our present Channing Hall and the upper two stories were added to the building, an unfinished roof and a huge storm conspired to flood the organ. Visser Rowland was consulted and concluded that the instrument was a total loss. But a second consultation was sought from Roy Redman of the Redman Organ Company who, counter to the conventional wisdom, saved the organ. The last major renovation work done was by Roy in 2003.

The 7 foot 6 inch Yamaha grand piano was purchased in 1990 with money secured through a considerable fundraising effort organized for that purpose. It replaced a Kawai grand that had served the congregation well but was not adequate to meet the needs of the vital music-loving congregation which desired an instrument suitable to satisfy the finest pianists and collaborative musicians. With the purchase of the new piano, came the founding of The Channing Concerts, a series with the mission to bring the best in chamber music to Houston audiences free of charge.

Resident Groups

  • The Channing Concerts has the mission of bringing the best in chamber music to Houston audiences free of charge. The series was named in honor of William Ellery Channing. Dean Dalton, Paul Cooper (Rice University Professor and Composer-in-Residence), James Mathis (concert pianist, friend and colleague of Van Cliburn), and Bob Fazakerly organized the effort and located and purchased the piano with the funds that had been raised. The Channing Concerts first season was launched in 1991.
  • The Greenbriar Consortium a group of Houston Symphony musicians and friends who bring a wide variety of music to our sanctuary each and every year.
  • The Greenbriar Consortium a group of Houston Symphony musicians and friends who bring a wide variety of music to our sanctuary each and every year.

Other Notable Activities

First Church emphasizes a connection with the Ima Hogg Young Artists' Competition, and has provided a solo recital venue for many of the prize winners throughout the years. It has provided a valuable concert venue to many of our best local musicians, and has also brought in artists from distant locations.

Copyright © 2009 - 2019 First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston
Updated: August 22, 2017