Music is Commanded in ScriptureThe innumerable times we are commanded to "sing to the Lord" or "come into his presence with singing" make it apparent that God must enjoy music. PErforming Arts Series
Music Directors of FPC
The Music Ministry of First Presbyterian is under the direction of Matthew Bishop, Director of Music
Matthew Bishop, Director of Music
Alex Gilson, Principal Organist Assistant Music Director
Linda Bengfort, Assistant Choral Director
Kathy Middleton, Assistant Choral Director for Young Children
Music for Adults
The church’s flagship ensemble, the FPC Sanctuary Choir is one of the premiere adult church choirs in the Midwest. With a membership of 85 volunteer singers, the Sanctuary Choir offers a variety of great choral music at two worship services on Sunday mornings from September through May, and select Sundays during the summer including the church’s annual Jazz Liturgy during the Bix Jazz Festival. The choir has a rich history of providing great music in the Quad Cities, having been featured for over two decades as part of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concerts and twice on national PBS-TV. The Sanctuary Choir has commissioned and premiered a number of choral works and arrangements, including anthems by such renowned composers as William Mathias, Howard Helvey, John Gere, Gary Fry, Stephen Mager, Jay Flood, and Mack Wilberg; building on the choir’s commitment to creating new music, the 2020-2021 season features a new commission by renowned British composer Jonathan Dove. The choir has also worked with such distinguished composers and conductors as Jester Hairston, Andrew Carter, and Dale Warland. In the summer of 2018, the choir made its first international tour with a music outreach trip to Germany, and plans to return to Europe in 2021 with a tour of Ireland.
The FPC Chamber Chorale is an auditioned choral ensemble that presents special services and concerts of music intended for smaller vocal ensembles. With a repertoire spanning nine centuries, the Chamber Chorale specializes in early music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classic eras, as well as new music by living composers. In 2017 the Chamber Chorale presented a joint concert with the Metropolitan Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Chicago featuring J.S. Bach’s Reformation Cantatas as part of the QCSO’s Signature Series. The ensemble presents Evensong services and an annual Advent Lessons and Carols Service.
The adult handbell choir of the church, the Vesper Bells is an auditioned ensemble of thirteen players who ring two five-octave sets of Schulmerich handbells, a five-octave set of Whitechapel handbells and a three-octave set of Suzuki Choir chimes. They ring regularly for worship, and are featured annually at the church’s Christmas Concerts and Good Friday Tenebrae service.
The newly-formed Kildalton Quartet, named for the church’s beloved wooden replica of the cross at FPC’s sister church on the Scottish isle of Islay, is an advanced handbell chamber ensemble. Each of the four players utilize a special technique whereby they ring double the typical amount of bells.
Music for Children
The Celebration Singers is a mixed choir for youth in sixth through twelfth grades. Their outstanding musical achievements have been recognized with appearances on the church’s televised Christmas Concerts, and with an invitation to be the back-up choir for Barry Manilow at the iWireless Center.
Formed during the 1999-2000 season, the Cecelian Carolers is a select group of girls, drawn through auditions from girls in grades six through twelve already actively involved in the music ministry of the church. The Cecelian Carolers (named for the patron saint of music) was created at the request of the girls as the female counterpart of the Cathedral Choir.
The newly-formed Matin Bells is a beginning handbell ensemble for youth in sixth through twelfth grades. Students learn the basics of handbell ringing technique and ensemble playing, and provide music periodically during the program year.
All first through fifth graders are invited to sing with the Kirkwood Choir, which provides music for worship monthly throughout the program year. Christian education, score reading, part singing, and vocal production are emphasized in this choir. The Kirkwood Choir is under the direction of Linda Bengfort.
The Sunday School membership of four-year-olds and Kindergartners sing in the Cherub Choir, which provides music periodically during worship. It is never too early to learn to sing God’s praises at First Pres! The Cherub Choir is under the direction of Kathy Middleton.
Musikgarten is a licensed music ministry curriculum for infants, babies, and toddlers with their parents. It uses sacred music to involve the whole child — the child’s desire for language, the body’s urge to move, the brain’s attention to patterns, the ear’s lead in initiating communication, and voice’s response to sounds. This group meets on Sunday mornings.
Creating a Solid Musical and Spiritual Foundation for FPC
The sacred-based, highly-acclaimed curriculum, “God, My Family, and Me!” is the basis for this exciting new ministry. First Presbyterian Church, Davenport continues to be a leader in music ministry by being one of the first churches in the nation to add this outstanding sacred curriculum offering for its youngest children of God.
Philosophy of Movement and Music
Musikgarten’s philosophy is steeped in this understanding: movement and music activities are perfect for child development; music immerses the child in language; evokes movement; stimulates the brain; and fosters physical coordination — all in a group setting that builds a God-centered, musical community — a truly holistic experience.
Best 30 Minutes of the Week
What Parents say about Muskigarten
“It’s made my kids excited about God/church and brought us regularly to church.”
“Musikgarten was great. We look forward to Sundays.”
“He is so much more engaged in music, dancing and instruments!”
“She loves the music. You’ll turn it on and all of a sudden her face changes. She gets excited, she dances around.”
“You get so caught up in parenting her sometimes…you forget to do things with them. To have games to take home to do with them, that’s really helpful.”
“It is easy, for someone who’s never been here before, to walk into that circle and sit down with their little one and feel a part of it right away.”