First Church has a wide and varied music program that serves the entire congregation as well as the community at large. The program is led by Ian Garvie, supported by additional staff members, many volunteers, and a very active Music Committee.

The focus of the music program is threefold: to enhance the worship service through hymns and musical offerings, to build community and spirituality by inviting open participation in the program, and to attract and retain church members and friends. We accomplish this through a variety of programs and concerts for children, youth, adults, and the community at large, all of which reflect the mission of the Music Committee and the Music Program.

Each Sunday the beautiful 1930 Casavant Pipe Organ sounds forth with hymns, preludes, and postludes played by our organist Simon Andrews. But music for worship is not limited to the sounds of the organ. A varied program of traditional and contemporary music supports the spiritual foundation of each worship service. You will often hear piano solos performed on our fine Steinway piano, vocal performances, as well as occasional guest musicians on instruments as varied as hand drums, marimba, harp, or recorder, or even a gospel band. In addition to regular Sunday services, music is an essential part of memorial services, ordinations, or other special worship services.

Learn about the First Church’s musical instruments…


There are three choirs for children and youth, two adult choirs, and at Christmas an alumni choir of former youth choristers. These choirs provide music for our two Sunday morning services as well as for special services throughout the year. Twice annually, at Christmas and Easter times, the Senior Choir presents a major choral work complete with a professional orchestra. And each November, the children and youth stage a Broadway-style musical production complete with costumes, lights, and sound.

Learn more about Youth & Children’s Music Programs…

Learn more about Adult Music Programs…


Each section of the Senior Choir is anchored by a professional soloist / section leader. These oustanding singers  perform as soloists, or in vocal ensembles during regular weekly services, major music services, and other concerts throughout the year. Our current section leaders are:

Concerts & Events

In addition to Sunday services, the music program presents a number of concerts and special events throughout the year. The Piano Celebration in midwinter and the Chamber Music Concert in the spring are two long-standing traditions. See our Concert & Events page for the most up-to-date information on these and other musical events.

Ian Garvie is assisted by Organist and Assistant Music Director Simon Andrews, Children’s Musical Production Assistant Sandy Nayak, a very active Music Committee of parishioners and community members, and many talented and enthusiastic volunteers who make this varied and vibrant music program a reality.

See a list of upcoming musical events

Melodies Steal Into My Heart – CD

The Choirs and Vocal Ensembles of The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist directed by Alfa Radford, Minister of Music Emerita, produced a beautiful CD that showcases their varied repertoire. Copies of this CD are available for $15.00 by contacting the Church by phone (617-484-1054).