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Music Ministry

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”  – Psalm 150:6

Our Music Program

At First United Methodist Church, we take these words from Psalm 150 very much to heart. Our music program strives to include people of all ages and levels of experience and to provide them opportunities and the means to praise God through music. Our many choir and instrumental ensembles lead the congregation in Worship and present special programs at various times during the year. For many, participation in such a group is also an important source of Christian fellowship. Being involved in the music program is an “all-in-one” way to fulfill your promise to support the church in prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness.Our musical ensembles are always delighted to welcome new members!

Music for Children & Youth

These ensembles for young people in grades K-7 meet weekly by the school semester as part of the “Wonderful Wednesdays” evening of programming. Music rehearsals and learning times are scheduled such that they complement Christian Formation classes and other Youth and MidYouth activities. Children’s music groups participate in church services approximately once every three or four weeks

K-1 Choir (Kindergarten through 1st Grade)
Wednesdays, 6:00-6:30 p.m., Room 218.

Joyful Sound Choir (Grades 2-4)
Wednesdays, 4:30-5:10 p.m., Room 218

MidYouth Choir (Grades 5-7)
Wednesdays, 5:10-5:40 p.m., Room 218.

Joyful Ringers Chime Choir (Grades 2-4)
Wednesdays, 5:10-5:40 p.m., Room 213.

MidYouth Bell Choir (Grades 5-7)
Wednesday, 4:30-5:10 p.m., Choir Room.

Music for Young Adults & Adults

The following music ensembles are open to persons Grade 8 to adult.

The Chancel Choir
Rehearses Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Choir Room
11a.m. Service, 10:30 a.m. Call

The First Service Singers
Rehearses Sundays, 8:00-8:25 a.m.
Choir Room
8:30 a.m. Service

The Chancel Ringers
Rehearse Mondays, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Choir Room

The Bells of Grace
Rehearse Mondays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Choir Room

Good News Celebration Praise Band
Rehearse Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Great Hall
9:05 Service, Great Hall


Instrumentalists of all ages and levels of experience are invited to share their talents in Worship as
soloists or as part of ensembles. Services for special holidays and festivals of the Liturgical Year
often include ensembles of brass, woodwinds, and stringed instruments. Come join us offering your musical gifts as we worship the Lord. 

Music Internships & Scholarships for Students

The Music Department of First United Methodist Church, Conway offers unique learning and study opportunities in Sacred Music and Contemporary Music to college and university students. As the supply of functioning choirs and trained organists and choral directors in the United States seems yearly to decrease due to the lack of properly trained leadership and other social and cultural forces, First United Methodist Church, Conway, stands firm not only as a welcoming church home and source of faith-formation to many, it also strives to serve as a place of study and learning to foster the skills needed to preserve, maintain, and perpetuate the rich musical heritage of Christian, and in particular, of United Methodist, Worship — Christian worship, rooted firmly in over 2000 years of theologically and musically sound liturgical practice, composition, singing, and instrumental music-making.

The Taylor Choral Conducting Intern
The Taylor Organ Scholar
The FUMC Choral Scholars
The Contemporary Worship Intern
The Taylor Worship Scholars

The 1962, III/33 Otto Hofmann/Nichols & Simpson Pipe Organ

The 1962, III/33 Otto Hofmann/Nichols & Simpson Pipe Organ is situated in the west gallery of the Sanctuary above the choir loft. Its striking gold-tone pipe façade, containing the 8’ and 4’ pedal Principals, is surrounded by minimal wooden casework. Its contour compliments perfectly the sweeping archway into the organ chamber. The original builder, Otto Hofmann, with his Austin- based workshop, was the son of German immigrants having settled in Kyle, Texas. He is known for designing and building fine instruments throughout the United States, but in particular along the Gulf Coast. Hofmann was an advocate of the building ethic proposed by organist and social philosopher Albert Schweitzer and sought to bring Organ Reform to the United States, having studied the building and design of exemplary organs in Germany. His design is hallmarked by clarity of tone and stop lists specially suited to congregational singing. Hofmann’s organ dispositions reveal his genius in creating instruments well capable of playing any repertoire convincingly from all historical periods. The instrument was re-voiced in the late 1980’s and fully restored and expanded by two ranks in 2010 by Nichols & Simpson Organ Builders of Little Rock. Thanks to a generous bequest by the estate of a life-long congregant, the original organ console was replaced in March, 2016 by Nichols & Simpson, whose consoles are universally admired for their ergonomic design and aesthetic excellence, using fine woods and inlay work. The console was dedicated autumn, 2016 at a concert played by organist Tom Trenney of First Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln, Nebraska. The Hofmann/Nichols & Simpson is used at all Sanctuary Services to accompany the choir and to support congregational singing. It is the only such pipe instrument in the Conway area, and stands as a witness to the Church’s desire to preserve and maintain the rich musical heritage of United Methodism passed from generation to generation.

Get Connected Through Music

If you would like to become part of any (or all) of these music ensembles for adults, or if you have children and/or youth to participate in musical formation programs, please contact the following music staff for more information. We are here to serve you in music as together we serve our Lord, the Liturgy, and the People of God. All we do, we do to God’s greater glory.

Jason A. Saugey

Director of Music and Worship Ministries

Linda Ball

Associate Director of Music, Children’s Music

Stuart Holt

Associate Director of Music, Praise Band

Common FAQ's

Sanctuary Music
No. By participating in any choral or instrumental group at FUMC, you will acquire the knowledge you will need as you participate. For those entirely new to handbell- ringing, one-on-one or small-group initial training in basic techniques is available.
Yes, and shame on whoever who told you that. As long as you are able to match a pitch, you can sing in a choir. If you’re unsure, set up a time to come in for a one-on- one voice lesson. Don’t let an untoward comment hamper your love for singing!
Yes. Childcare is available for younger children on Wednesday evenings, and there is room near our rehearsal space where older children may study or read during choir rehearsal if they would not like to participate themselves in choir.

Anyone 7th grade and older may join the Chancel Choir. Singers whose voices are still in the changing process are encouraged to join or remain in MidYouth choir where special coaching and instruction is offered for changing voices. It is hoped that singers who have completed their time in MidYouth Choir will automatically join the Chancel Choir.

Certainly, you should! Bullying must never be a tolerated behavior. If you are being bullied or being made fun of because of your participation in music or because of anything else, report the bullying to your parents, youth directors, and/or clergy immediately.
Praise Band
The band, for all intents and purposes, is a Contemporary Christian cover band. Those interested should be proficient on their instruments, and be able to learn new music from chord charts and/or recordings. Band members are expected to arrive for practice sessions on time and prepared. Experience with Contemporary Christian music is not required
Age doesn’t always equate to ability, so there is no minimum (or maximum) age requirement as long as all other requirements are met. That said, being able to drive oneself to rehearsal and to services is a big plus.
The band rehearses from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays in The Great Hall, and again at 8 a.m. Sunday before playing at the 9:05 service.
There is no auditioning. Everyone is welcome.
No. You can participate as much or as little as you like. We have a scheduling system where you can block out any dates you are unavailable.
Children's Choirs
School music classes are wonderful for children, and hats off to the music teachers who teach them. But a church music program is able to take learning a step farther. Church children’s choirs are typically smaller in number, so children can get more attention and more direct music skills instruction. Most childrens’ church choirs typically sing in a service once a month, so children get more practice with poise and community involvement. Children meet other children from all over the community, which is a new friend group for them. Church choirs not only teach music skills but also learn songs that teach Christian values, Bible verses, and the songs of our Christian heritage. Additionally, singing in church services teaches the importance of Acts of Service in worship.
Because they each teach different, but very important, music skills. Singing is music from your own voice, and you learn how to use your voice effectively and efficiently. Good choir programs also teach how to read music from a music staff with pitch, counting, and phrasing. Ringing hand bells or chimes teaches reading notes on the music staff, as well as counting, rhythms, and playing in a group. Both skills are important to be a complete musician.

Service Times

8:30 a.m. | In-person worship
Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary
9:05 a.m. | In-person worship
Good News Celebration Worship in the Great Hall
11:00 a.m. | In-person worship
Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary
9:05 & 11 a.m. | Online worship