News and Announcements from the Music Ministry of First Parish Church

February 10, 2020 - Spring Concert: A Celebration of American Women Composers – March 1 @ 3:00 pm

On Sunday, March 1st at 3:00 p.m. in the First Parish sanctuary, the Adult Choir will present their spring concert: A Celebration of American Women Composers.  We will explore the solo and choral works of Amy Cheney Beach, the first American woman composer to be recognized and Florence B. Price, the first African American female composer to have her symphonic works performed. Beach’s musical language is deeply romantic with beautiful soaring melodies and rich, chromatic harmonies. Florence Price’s music, while deeply classical is a delight to the ear with influences from the jazz idiom.

The concert will feature Alice Parker’s Melodious Accord: A Concert of Praise.  In this cantata, based upon hymn tunes and texts from the shape note tradition, we hear formal, classic music in the opening chorus, “Zion,” the familiar “Come, Ye Disconsolate,” and the charming duet, “Spring”.  There are joyful rhythmic dances and folk tunes with soaring modal melodies as well as a cheerful gospel hymn, “The Parting Hymn,” which came from Wales.  The work also contains two magnificent congregational hymns, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”

Soloists will be Jennifer Bates and Jane Hagness, sopranos; Andrea Graichen, alto; Martin Lescault, tenor; and John David Adams, bass.  Instrumentalists are Ross Miller and Gerry Flanagan, trumpets; Sebastian Jerosch and Jared Morneau, trombones; Virginia Flanagan, harp; and Harold Stover, piano.

Tickets will be available in the church office beginning February 3rd and will be sold after worship in the vestry on February 9th, 16th, 23rd, and March 1st.  Ticket prices are $15.00 for advanced sales, $20.00 at the door, and students are free.  Anyone who wishes to attend the concert for whom the ticket price is a financial hardship should contact the church office for a ticket.

February 17, 2019 - Spirituals: Songs of the Soul Concert March 31 @ 3:00 pm

After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad.

After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad.

Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the Spring Concert, Spirituals: Songs of the Soul on Sunday, March 31st at 3:00 p.m.  The Adult Choir, Westminster Choir, Junior Choir, Cherub Choir, and World Percussion Ensemble will perform a spirituals concert with Metropolitan opera tenor, Michael Forest; acclaimed soprano, Angelique Clay-Everett; and internationally renowned opera singer, Michael Preacely.  The concert will feature such spirituals as Who Will Be A Witness, You Better Min’, Swing Down Chariot, Wade in the Water, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Steal Away, Deep River, and others.  Justin Pearson will give voice to the stories of the past with relevant quotations from those who were slaves.  American Baptist Minister, civil rights leader, and scholar, Benjamin Mays in 1933 said of spirituals, “They represent the soul-life of the people.  They embody the joy and sorrow, the hope and despair, the pathos and aspiration of the newly transplanted people; and through them the race was able to endure suffering and survive.  They are songs of the soil and of the soul.”  We will discover how these songs of the soil and of the soul still speak to us today.



Heralded for her “soaring lyric soprano voice,” Angelique Clay Everett has garnered performances in the United States, Europe, and South America. Operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, the title role of Susannah from Floyd’s American drama Susannah, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Lily and Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Her oratorio repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.  Dr. Clay Everett has recorded and toured as a soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble throughout the United States, Spain and Brazil.  She has performed with international as well as regional orchestras such as the Slovak State Philharmonic, in Kosice, Slovak Republic; Sinfonia Warsovia in Poland; Missouri Symphony Society; Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; Lexington Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra and Arcadiana Symphony Orchestra. She was a featured recitalist at the National Opera Association Legacy Awards Celebration in Washington D.C. in 1999, and a guest soloist on In Performance at the Governor’s Mansion, a Public Television performance sponsored by the Governor’s Office in Kentucky, highlighting artists of note from Kentucky. Dr. Clay Everett is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Kentucky.


Tenor, Michael Forest is an Associate Professor of Voice at Shenandoah Conservatory.  He is a frequent soloist at the Kennedy Center with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Washington Chorus.  Symphonic engagements include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, and L’Orchestre du Montreal.  Forest was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Development Program from 1989 to 1992 and an Apprentice Artist with both the Wolf Trap Opera Company and the Santa Fe Opera Company.  In twenty-three seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, he has sung over 280 performances of nineteen different roles.  Additionally, he performed with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Washington’s Concert Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Wexford Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera Festival.  Recording credits include Gershwin’s, Porgy and Bess (EMI); Mozart’s, Le Nozze di Figaro (Deutsche Gramophone); (BMG’s) Grammy Award winning recording of John Corigliano’s Rage and Remembrance; R. Nathaniel Dett’s, Chariot Jubilee (Vocalessence, Clarion Label); Sing Noel, Washington Chorus, (DVD); Rossini, Semiramide, Metropolitan Opera, (DVD); and Puccini, La Fanciulla del West, Metropolitan Opera.


American baritone, Michael Preacely is a rising star on the operatic stage and is also known for a versatile singing ability and style that allow him to cross between genres from classical repertoire to pop, contemporary, and Broadway. He has received critical acclaim for many of his performances, including Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Scarpia in Tosca, Ford in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, the High Priest in Samson and Delilah, and Porgy and Jake in Porgy and Bess. Mr. Preacely has performed with many major and regional opera houses and orchestras in the U

nited States and abroad. Recently, Mr. Preacely completed a European tour of Porgy and Bess where he received great reviews for his performance of both Porgy and Jake. He also toured Russia in a concert series with New York based Opera Noire, debuted with Opera Memphis in the role of Marullo with a Rigoletto Cover, and Opéra de Montréal in the role of Jake. Michael has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Opera Company Philadelphia, Opera Memphis, Kentucky Opera, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Bohème Opera of New Jersey.  Mr. Preacely’s success on the concert stage has blossomed with some of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Greater Trenton Choral Society, and the American Spiritual Ensemble.  Currently, Mr. Preacely is working on the release of his first album, Spirituals and Hymns, followed by a series of concerts and recitals in various venues across the United States.



Tickets for this concert are $15.00 advance purchase and $20.00 at the door. Student tickets are free.


If you would like to be an individual or corporate sponsor for this event, please designate in your memo line “Spring Concert Sponsorship”.  Please send an email to Jane Hagness at, indicating how you would like your name to appear in the program.

A free-will offering will be available at the end of the concert to support Preble Street’s anti-human-trafficking services.



Artwork above: After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom:  Journey along the Underground Railroad.


November 19, 2018 - Christmas Cantata: Bach’s Wachet Auf

Join us on Sunday, December 9th in worship at 10:00 am, for the Adult Choir presentation with orchestra of the Bach cantata, Wachet auf (Sleepers Awake!).  Soloists for this work are Randall Anderson, bass; Dr. Jane Hagness, soprano; Rick Horton, tenor, Jean Shaw, soprano.  Instrumentalists are Harold Stover, continuo organ; Mark Paxson and Trevor Peterson, violin; Julia Eiten, viola; Benjamin Noyes, cello; Margaret Ann Metcalf, string bass; Billie Jo Brito and Hugh Maynard, oboes; and Kookie McNerney, English horn.

June 4, 2018 - Strawberry Festival: June 26!

Don’t miss this year’s FPC Music Strawberry Festival!

During the Farmers’ Market on June 26th, members of the FPC Choirs will be selling strawberry shortcakes, sundaes, pies, and jams- all made with sweet, juicy, freshly-picked Maine berries. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the gazebo.

Come, enjoy, and support our wonderful music program!


May 20, 2018 - Children’s Musical: The Story of Jonah and the Great Fish

On Sunday, May 20, the Junior Choir presented The Story of Jonah and the Great Fish. Thank you to everyone who helped make our Children’s Musical a spirited time for all!


May 11, 2018 - Children’s Musical: Jonah and the Great Fish

Come sit right down and hear a whale of a tale from a Bible page!

Experience the underwater adventures of Jonah and the redemption of the people of Nineveh as the Junior Choir presents THE STORY OF JONAH AND THE GREAT FISH on Sunday, May 20th during worship at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary.

Witness God’s mercy and forgiveness as the people of Nineveh shift from being bad to the bone to blessing the Lord, and Jonah learns the lesson of obedience to God’s call.  You will be part of the story telling process, so come, and support our young people as they present this spring musical!

April 26, 2018 - FPC Choir to Present Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri Patientis Sanctissima


The First Parish Church Adult Choir will present Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri Patientis Sanctissima in the First Parish sanctuary on Sunday, May 6th at 3:00 pm.

Each movement of this seven-movement work is a deeply personal, reverent meditation on the members of Jesus’ body on the cross: his feet, his knees, his hands, his side, his breast, his heart, and his face. It features alternations between soloists who express devotional reflections and the whole chorus, who present settings of selected Biblical texts, predominantly from the Old Testament. The work will be accompanied by five-part strings and continuo.


Featuring soloists Nacole Palmer, Christine Letcher, Andrea Graichen, Martin Lescault, and John Adams.

Chamber orchestra: Mark Paxson & Trevor Peterson, violins; Julia Eiten, viola; Ben Noyes, cello; George Calvert, bass; Dr. Robert Greenlee, continuo organ.

Adult tickets: $10; Students: Free.

For tickets or more information, call (207) 729-7331.

August 2, 2017 - One Light, Many Candles: An Evening of Multifaith Word and Song

On Saturday, September 23rd at 7pm, The Rev. Betty Stookey and Noel Paul Stookey come to First Parish Church of Brunswick to share, One Light, Many Candles: a program of readings and music that reflect the diversity and integrity of individual faith while seeking a global spiritual community. Their performance comes as a part of First Parish Church’s 300 Years on The Way celebration of the church’s 300th anniversary. Admission is free for all ages. 

Elizabeth and Noel Paul Stookey have been working together for over 50 years, as husband and wife, as parents, as business partners and activists, and as two people constantly questioning how the spiritual informs the day-to-day realities of life-in both a small personal way and a larger global way.

Noel is a singer-songwriter and the “Paul” of Peter, Paul,
and Mary. He has been writing songs that reflect on the political, cultural, sociopolitical and spiritual dynamics of all of our collected stories for decades. Betty is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who has ministered and counseled many, including, as chaplain of a school, over a thousand students of many faiths ranging from Buddhist and Christian, to Muslim and Jewish.

Recognizing Love as the common calling to many different faiths, Betty and Noel’s presentation continues to evolve by referencing expressions of the Divine from a myriad of spiritual leaders and literature of many cultures. The program shifts dynamically from the spoken word to the sung word and back again, with Betty reading and Noel singing.

June 19, 2017 - Ray Cornils Retiring – Celebrations and Blessings

On Sunday, June 18 we held a service of worship to celebrate Ray Cornils’s 30-year ministry with us as Minister of Music, and to release him from that ministry into his retirement with our thanks and love. (You can listen to Mary’s sermon from that service, “Garments of Grace.”) Following the service there was a reception for Ray at Moulton Union on the Bowdoin College campus. In the months to come, Ray will offer resources and support to our new minister of music, Jane Hagness, completing his work in the congregation on August 27th at our 300th anniversary worship.

As Minister of Music at First Parish Church for over 30 years, Ray built an extensive multi-generational music ministry of five vocal choirs and two handbell choirs, with members from ages 4 through adults. In addition to leading the music for the church’s worship services, each year the Adult Choir presented a major choral work with full orchestra and professional soloists, including Brahms Requiem, Dvorak Stabat Mater, Mendelssohn Elijah and St. Paul, Ann Wilson’s Song of Hope, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Stephen Paulus The Shoemaker¸ Bach’s Mass in b minor and St. Matthew Passion (performed on Good Friday to a standing room only congregation). He lead the church’s choir on regular concert tours including England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Ecuador and the Canadian Maritimes. For the past 24 years, he has directed the Annual Ecumenical Festival of Lessons and Carols held at St. John’s Church in Brunswick. The handbell choir performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and was a featured ensemble in the AGO Region I convention in 2001 and the AGEHR Handbell Festival in 2001.

As Portland’s 10th Municipal Organist Ray oversaw with the assistance of the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, the recovering health of the 1912 Austin Organ which culminated in a total renovation of America’s oldest municipal organ on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. In addition to extensive concertizing on this instrument, he also developed an extensive educational program which includes curricula that promotes the organ in in-classroom programs exploring in an inter-disciplinary fashion the life and works of J S Bach, the life of and works of Olivier Messiaen or Sound Wave Energy and the pipe organ. For the past 13 years he has partnered with many school districts in southern Maine and New Hampshire in these classroom presentations.

He performed extensively with the Portland Symphony Orchestra as both harpsichordist and organist, including Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva, all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, Poulenc’s Concerto Champetre, Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, String and Tympani, Saint Saens’ Organ Symphony, Joseph Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante and Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.

Known for his teaching skills with all age groups, he taught high school students through the Young Organist Collaborative, and is a member of the music faculties of Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine and the Portland Conservatory of Music. Among his students have been first place winners of the AGO National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance and the American Theatre Organ Society National Young Artist Competition.

As an active member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), he has served as Dean and Sub-dean of several chapters, was a member of the National Committee for Professional Concerns and the Committee for Conventions. He has served on three steering committees for regional and national conventions and was the Convention Coordinator of the 2014 AGO National Convention in Boston.

We wish Ray and David all the best in their retirement, and treasure the gifts that they have shared in our community.

March 12, 2017 - Jane Hagness Welcomed as New Minister of Music

Jane Hagness - New Minister of Music

Jane Hagness – New Minister of Music

On Sunday, March 12, The Minister of Music Search Committee announced that Dr. Jane Hagness will be the new Minister of Music for First Parish Church. She was the unanimous selection of the committee and will join the staff on July 1, 2017. Jane is a conductor, organist and lyric soprano. She has earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Kentucky in 1997, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in 2007 and a second Master of Church Music/Organ degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2016.

Jane presently serves as Director of Music at St. John’s (Hain’s) UCC in Wernersville, PA., where she serves as organist, conducts five ensembles including adult and children’s choirs, bell choir and an intergenerational World Percussion Ensemble of folks ages 6 to 62 years of age. She has taught voice at West Chester University, Lehigh University, DeSales University and Shenandoah Conservatory. Additionally, she has taught private studio lessons in voice, piano and organ.

An active recitalist in both voice and organ, Jane was a presenter at the National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008, and at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Paris, France, in 2009. She has composed several vocal pieces with varying instrumental accompaniment and especially enjoys hymn writing.

Jane is married to Quentin Englehart, who worked as a Firefighter/EMT for over twenty years. He is interested in history, especially as it relates to WWII in which his father was awarded a Purple Heart. He is also interested in aviation in general and most specifically, vintage aircraft. He is excited about spending his retirement exploring the Brunswick area.

In her spare time, Jane enjoys agility training with her American Hairless Terrier, “Moose,” the sparkle of her eye. She also enjoys painting and walking in nature. Quentin and Jane both have an interest in the National Parks and have experienced the majesty of several of them in their years together. They look forward to exploring the beauty of Maine, meeting the congregation, and becoming a part of the spiritual life of First Parish Church.

    © First Parish Church | 9 Cleaveland Street, Brunswick, Maine 04011 | 207.729.7331

    Web Hosting Provided by Maine Hosting Solutions