Second Church is blessed to have many gifted artists in our midst. Our visual artists work in a variety of media, including oils, watercolor, and fabrics and their work is displayed from time to time at our church. You can taste the many masterpieces of our culinary artists at events such as the May Day Breakfast, the Church Fair, and at church social group meetings.
We are blessed to have many gifted musicians in our midst, as well. Since the early 1800′s, music has played an important part in the history of Second Church. At first, the music was purely vocal, with no instrumentation. An attempt to introduce instrumental music to the church in the mid-19th century led to the resignation of one of its clergy! No music, and that was that! (Fortunately, not for long)
Today, the music program at Second Church is outstanding, thanks in no small part to the direction and behind-the-scenes efforts of Bill MacPherson, Mark Anderson, Scott McSween, and J. Kimball Darling.
The Second Church music program includes a brand new Hand bell Choir program, intergenerational Sacred Dance ensembles, an annual Christmas concert, and many memorable Christmas and Easter pageants. Additionally, from time to time we have outside musicians who perform at the church.
In 1850, Second Church purchased its first organ. The current organ in the sanctuary is an outstanding instrument, and was supplied by the Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo, New York. It consists of 2,322 pipes set into four poplar wind chests, located behind an acoustically transparent screen. On December 8, 1968, the organ was dedicated to the memory of Rev. Dr. Russell B. Richardson.
In addition to organ music, we have also been graced by the long-term presence of an outstanding choir group, as well as instruments and players of pianos, flutes, trumpets, bassoons, violins, cellos, kettledrums, Orff instruments, and many others.
Bells have long been associated with Christian worship. Since earliest times, bells in church towers have rung to call parishioners to worship and to celebrate or announce services and special events such as weddings and funerals. As churches built towers with multiple bells, bell ringers began to form choirs who rang increasingly difficult patterns. Handbells were originally developed to allow the ringers to practice the patterns that had to be memorized. Over the years handbell ringing has developed into an art form of its own. In October of 2003, a 4-octave Malmark handbell set was purchased and the addition of the bells to our music program promises to expand the number and ages of active musicians for years to come.
Dance offers an enormous range of forms and expressions in worship. Many forms of dance can be used to glorify God. To worship God in dance is biblical. Scripture gives many references to the use of dance as a form of joyous celebration and of reverent worship. Sacred Dance at Second Church started in 1970. Our first presentation was an interpretation of the “Lord’s Prayer” and has been a mainstay of our collections of pieces. We try to use pieces appropriate to the season and/or the message of the sermon. The group dances in our services about five times a year, depending on the group. Our favorite is “The Hanging of the Greens” on Advent Sunday. This requires at least twenty members – those carrying the greens and the candles for the advent wreath. Our group is made up primarily of children from grades 5 through 8, but many of the church’s high school and college students participate in the ‘Hanging of the Greens” and even younger members have been known to join in the celebration.