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 – November 2021

“Holding History” is the theme of our Worship this month, and it makes me think of how music takes us back to when we first experienced it.  Music can suspend us in time; when we think of hit songs that we loved, we go back to being that age again.  Think of the feel...

Musically Speaking – October 8th, 2021

Those of us who are fans of the PBS Newshour might have seen a musician featured that made an immediate connection with me.  Her name is Arooj Aftab, and she is Pakistani.  She is a singer, a composer, and a producer, and her inspirations are neo-Sufi idioms; many of...

Musically Speaking – September 10th, 2021

Our worship theme for September is Possibility and may be the perfect focus as we embark upon hybrid worship.  Why “the loud and the soft”, you ask?  It is a metaphor describing our services.  Musically speaking, dynamics are making music loud, soft, getting louder, or getting softer.

Musically Speaking – May 2021

“Story” is our theme for May.  Music Sunday is this coming Sunday, May 16th.  We can have music tell a story, we could tell our story ABOUT music, we could tell about our lives WITH music, and we could let music BE our story.  Our Music Sunday service is titled  “Our...

Musically Speaking – April 9, 2021

Happy Spring, everyone!  I am thinking about entertainers who sing to us.  They could be live or virtual.  They are energetic, they move their hands and their legs, they dance, they smile, and they look right at us.  Their enthusiasm is infectious.  You can tell that...