Music at First Church
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles has enjoyed a long history of musical excellence. The Great Organs of First Church, with over 18,000 speaking pipes, is one of the largest pipe organs in the world, brought to life each Sunday by Dr. Christoph Bull. While our worship services are steeped in rich church traditions, as our congregation becomes increasingly diverse, so does our music program -- spanning European sacred canon, jazz, Americana and gospel, world music, and even influential secular artists whose message aligns with First Church’s focus on love as a core to spirituality.
Dr. Christoph Bull
Chrsitoph has performed around the world, including the U.S., Europe, Asia and Central America, and recorded for numerous albums, TV shows and movies. Equally versed in classical and popular styles, he especially likes to play organ music, rock music and rocking organ music.
Dr. David Harris
Director of Music
David (drdavidharrismusic.org) specializes in new music, American music, and the intricacies of communication in choral singing and conducting. He is also the co-director of VoiceScienceWorks (voicescienceworks.org), a composer, a frequent performer around LA, and a regular contributor to voice and choral publications.
For over a century, the First Church Cathedral Choir has led the congregation in regular Sunday worship and special events. Today’s Cathedral Choir includes professional artists from LA’s robust vocal, theater, and film worlds in addition to avocational singers whose professionalism and insight from their unique careers helps to create the essential core of the Cathedral Choir community. Singers looking to hone and share their developed talents sing alongside those who are newly exploring the vocal arts. Each voice shares in the leadership of the ensemble, coalescing their perspective and life wisdom into a cohesive whole. The Cathedral Choir is a welcoming group, and celebrates the diversity of race, creed, and identity that make up the ever-growing ensemble. Dr. Harris, Music Director, also the co-founder of VoiceScienceWorks (voicescienceworks.org), guides members through explorations of their voices and the music using contemporary research that helps all singers excel individually and as a part of the whole. There are few experiences as uplifting as singing with The Great Organs, and collaborating vocally with Dr. Bull, whose creativity and sensitivity feed the choir every week.
On any given Sunday, music from the classical choral canon of Bach, Pergolesi, Beach, Brahms, Bernstein, Dawson, and others can be heard intermingled with music from around the world, popular music, and contemporary compositions. The Cathedral Choir, home to several composers, premieres dozens of new works each year. The group actively seeks to promote less-represented demographics whose spiritual message adds richness to the diverseness of worshippers at First Church.
Participating in the musical leadership at First Church brings joy, passion, fulfillment, excitement, community, skill development, and fun to each member’s life. For more info about becoming a part of the First Church Cathedral Choir, email Dr. David Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The members of Laude represent some of the brightest vocal and choral stars in Los Angeles. Ensemble and business leaders, composers, soloists, film and stage actors, and instrumentalists make up this robust chamber group, lending it noted flexibility and strength. Laude members sing with the Cathedral Choir as section leaders in addition to meeting on their own to present more intimate musical experiences. Each member also frequently presents solo features from the breadth of their professional acumen.
Commonwealth Community Chorus
The children of the Commonwealth Community Choir sing in a First Church service a few times annually. A truly community-focused choir, the CCChorus includes singers from First Church, from Pilgrim School, and from the wider LA community. Their stated goal of “building a shared future through song” guides their diverse repertoire and performance opportunities. While building community and developing musical skill, they bring attention to issues of equity and justice whose inclusion in the broader life conversation of their generation helps guide their tomorrow in new, positive ways for all.
How to join a First Church ensemble
The Cathedral Choir meets on Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 in the choir room and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 for the 11:00 service. Membership is open to all who are interested. There is no formal audition, and potential new members are encouraged to sing in a rehearsal to see if the ensemble is the right fit for you. Past musical experience is a plus and fits in well with the professional-level of the group, but is not necessary. Those curious to begin exploring their voices can feel free to visit with Dr. Harris in order to get a better scope of the process. For questions, please email Dr. Harris.
Laude is an auditioned, professional ensemble filled by the discretion of the music director. Those wishing to know more about the opportunity to join Laude can email Dr. Harris at email@example.com.
The Commonwealth Community Chorus meets on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:30. Those interested in joining who are grades 4-12 should have their parent contact Dr. Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a voice interview.
The Great Organs of First Church
The Great Organs of First Church is an instrument appreciated by organ aficionados around the world for its complexity, grandeur, and remarkable sound. Comprised of several organs joined together, it is among the largest church pipe organs in the world, with 18,094 speaking pipes, 328 ranks, 15 divisions, and a total of 278 speaking stops. For more detailed info about the Great Organs, click HERE.
Our Music Partners
First Church is also proud to be home-base for nationally recognized choruses; Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, Vox Femina of Los Angeles, Southeast Symphony and Top Shelf, and LA Choral Lab. These organizations utilize our space for rehearsals, and perform at least one concert per year in our venue. Members of these groups also participate in our Sunday morning worship from time to time.