Music at First Parish of Watertown

Music at First Parish engages our community and adds a spark to every listener and participant!

As part of weekly church services, we share in singing hymns.

Services are enhanced by either piano or guest musicians who express a wide variety of styles that include Classical, folk, jazz, ethnic and world music, as well as popular music and music composed by contemporary artists.  Those artists are often part of our congregation or friends from the musical community in the Boston area.

First Parish has an adult choir that rehearses weekly and sings at a church service once per month.

We have a full rock and roll band that plays at some services, too!

There are times that our music director hosts a family choir event, usually on multi-generational services, in which people learn the music prior to the service and then share the songs at that service.  We have a wide variety of talent in our congregation and have had some wonderful youth and children singing at church services.

Charlyn Bethell, Music Director
Guy Urban, Pianist

Creating Virtual Music

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone, including the music program here at First Parish. Since March of 2020, First Parish has been web-streaming its services and programs and not meeting in person. This will continue through May 2021.

The members of the FPW Choir have stepped up to this challenge by creating virtual choir performances that are included in the services, both for hymns that the congregation can sing with at home, and in stand-alone anthems that employ video collages. Our instrumental musicians from the congregation have also accompanied some of the hymns, as well as created instrumental ensembles for musical meditations and interludes. Members of the FPW Band have also joined forces with the Choir, adding percussion and guitar to some of our performances.

Musically Speaking Blog

Updates and reflections from Charlyn Bethell, Music Director

Musically Speaking – January 2020

February 2nd is a day filled with history from the British Isles, as Candlemas, Imbolg, and/or Groundhog Day.  It is exactly half-way between Winter solstice and the Spring Equinox.  Its roots are from the pagan and Christian beliefs about the end of Christmastide and...

Muscially Speaking – December 2019

Music and Hope. Perhaps there is always hope when there is music. I don’t think that there HAS to be music for there to be hope. Music just might make it easier. This makes me think of what it is like singing in a hospice choir. (Jean Gauthier started the Wayfare...

Musically Speaking November 2019

Ah, for Musical Memories!  Take a moment and sing a song in your head.  It can be from a Broadway musical, a motown hit song, R & B, country, jazz, hip-hop, rock n roll, or from classical repertory.  It could be a song the choir sang last week or a hymn from a...

Musically Speaking – October 2019

“……….For me, it’s singing.  Because when I’m singing, I’m breathing.  When I’m terrified that the meeting is going to fall apart, when someone I trust and look up to is giving me feedback that’s hard to hear, or when I’m about to knock on someone’s door or engage in...

Musically Speaking – September 2019

Happy fall and welcome (back) to First Parish!  At this time in our church life, we are embracing some things very new with our interim minister and in the letting go of the way things used to be.  We are certainly fortunate to have Wendy Bell along this journey with...

From The Directors

Our good friend Chris Jolliffe was a guest musician here, singing three songs that he wrote.  A number of people expressed interest in Chris’ music, so below are a few samples of his songs, including “I Never Went Fishing With My Uncle Dave”, which he sang at the service.

Anyone who is interested in talking to Chris or finding out more about his songs can contact him at:

Here are some of his songs:

I Never Went Fishing With My Uncle Dave

Gonna Live on Perch

Sweet Sassy Shiela

Victoria Avenue

Finest Distillation of the Blues

Where’s the Mail Room