First Presbyterian Church choir, bell choirs readying for anniversary concert

Written by Theresa Rose on October 26, 2015

In honor of the First Presbyterian Church’s 175th anniversary of its founding, the Westminster Choir, Sound Appeal and Soul Notes handbell choirs will present a concert on All Saints Day, Sunday, November 1. The concert will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary following a hymn sing at 1:00 p.m. Both are open to the public and are free of charge.

The choirs will perform separately and will also collaborate on a piece. Dr. Jason Edwards, member of Iowa Wesleyan University’s music faculty, will join the program as a guest artist accompanying the Westminster Choir on oboe. The Westminister Choir is under the direction of Marlene DePriest, Mt. Pleasant Community Middle School vocal music director. Sound Appeal and Soul Notes English handbell choirs are directed by Marj Thimmesch, who is the church’s organist.

First Presbyterian Church has enjoyed a long-standing appreciation of high quality music, in the traditional sacred music genre as well as contemporary arrangements and a variety of styles. The vocal and English handbell choirs occasionally perform together on pieces, and the use of brass musicians from the congregation is frequently incorporated during special services. Through the years First Presbyterian’s music program has been fortunate to be able to retain as directors music educators from the public school district and Iowa Wesleyan University. “This professional level of leadership has benefitted the church’s music program and has nurtured everyday music enthusiasts to participate in sharing their love of music for the church and community,” said Ellsworth, 175th anniversary committee chair and Westminster Choir member.

“The activity of sharing music as part of the congregation’s worship service and faith journey has grown and evolved throughout the church’s history,” Ellsworth continued. “We have learned that in our church’s earliest years of formation, the addition of musical instruments was quite controversial. So we’ve come a long way and we are pleased to be able to share this special concert with the public as part of our mission of sharing God’s glory.”

The day will open with a special anniversary worship service at 9:45 a.m., lead by the Rev. Trey Hegar, church pastor.

First Presbyterian Church is located at 902 S. Walnut St. in Mt. Pleasant. The website is