2018 Margaret Hsiao Scholarship Recipient: Jonathan Yap

The Worship and Music Committee is pleased to announce that Jonathan Yap, a senior at Rutherford High School, received the Margaret Hsiao Scholarship this year at the recent Rutherford High School Awards breakfast. Jon is an accomplished pianist and student, ranking in the top 5% of his class. He will be attending NYU Steinhardt and studying with Eteri Andjaparidze in the fall. We wish him much success in his future endeavors.

You can listen to his recordings at the following sites:




On another note, we would like to thank the Choir members who so faithfully provided music that enhanced our worship service this year. Ellen Smith and Linda Lanz, Co-Chairs.




Welcome! Organist Susan LaFever

We welcome Susan LaFever who will be sharing her gifts as our Interim

Organist/Choir Director. Susan lives in West New York and has served as Organist

and Music Director in churches in Ridgewood, Eastchester, Armonk, and

Weehawken. Growing up in the Midwest, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in

Music from Union College and Master’s Degree in Music from the University of Nebraska.

She continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music and Rutgers. Along with

playing for our Sunday services, Susan will also provide leadership and direction for our

Choir. We anticipate Susan providing musical leadership until we complete our search

process for our next Organist/Director of Music.

Position: Organist/Director of Music

The Organist/Director of Music must have the musical ability, creativity and training required for the position. The individual must have an understanding of and agreement with the theology and polity of the Christian faith. The individual will display sensitivity and concern for individuals and the church, and possess the necessary leadership skills to develop the music program in concert with the Pastor and the Worship & Music committee.

Music Ministry

The Organist/Director of Music, in consultation with the Pastor, has primary responsibility for the music ministry of the Church, helping the Congregation worship and grow spiritually through the gift of music. The Congregation enjoys an eclectic blend of traditional and contemporary music. The music ministry also includes outreach to the wider community through special music events that provide inspiration, enjoyment and fellowship.


The Organist/Director of Music is accountable to the Pastor as head of staff and Session through the Worship & Music committee.


Church Services

  1. The Organist/Director of Music will work with the Pastor and the Worship & Music committee to develop and design the music programs to be used for various worship experiences, including the recruitment and development of the choir and other musicians as needed. Responsibilities will also include:

    • playing the organ or piano during weekly Church Services at 8 am and 10 am
    • providing music and any other musicians where appropriate  
    • providing appropriate choral music during services of worship
    • preparing, rehearsing and directing the Chancel Choir, by holding weekly rehearsals (except during the summer) and providing leadership to the choir in choral technique
    • securing appropriate substitute musical leadership replacements during     approved time off.
  2. Other responsibilities related to Church Services, include:

    1. Congregational Singing: leading the congregation in singing during worship services and developing ways to increase the congregation’s participation in the music ministry of the church by:

      • recruiting people to sing in the choir and otherwise offer their musical talents
      • increasing the congregation’s understanding and enjoyment of congregational singing
    2. Instrumental Music: Exploring the use of various options, such as recorders, hand bells, Orff instruments, etc.

    3. Children’s Music: Provide oversight for a music program for children and youth as requested by the Christian Education committee through the Worship & Music committee.

    4. Temporary Paid Musicians:  Audition and hire temporary singers and instrumental musicians as needed, within budget guidelines, making recommendations under the direction of the Session through the Worship & Music committee.

    5. Instrument, Music & Choir Robe Maintenance: Provide for the routine care, regular tuning and maintenance of the organs and pianos.  Maintain inventory of all music instruments of the church, the music library and choir robes, making recommendations for appropriate action to the Session through the Worship and Music committee.

    6. Music Library: Keep abreast of new sacred choral and church music.

    7. Budget Responsibility: Request new music purchases for the music library and for special events through the Worship & Music committee and provide assistance in the preparation of the annual music ministry budget.

Special Services and Events established by Session.

  1. Prepare and play music appropriate for the Church’s special services on Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.  

  2. Prepare and play music appropriate for weddings and funerals, on a fee basis, as approved by Session. The Organist/Director of Music is responsible for securing an appropriate substitute if unable to play at a wedding or funeral.  

  3. Coordinate with relevant committees to plan and supervise special music events i.e. the annual Christmas Concert, Labor Day Street Fair, Karen Kaiser Concert Series, and Bach Birthday Lunch Program.  

  4. Collaborate with the Worship & Music committee to recommend new events.

Administrative Duties

  1. Submit weekly music selection and information for Sunday bulletins and bulletins for all special services.  
  2. Provide articles and information for Tidings/The Church website/Social Media/Annual Report.
  3. Insure that the use of sheet music complies with copyright laws.
  4. Attend weekly staff meeting with the Pastor and participate in monthly Worship & Music committee meetings.


  • The 350-seat sanctuary has a restored 71 stop, 3 manual Moeller pipe organ (enhanced with 9 Walker        digitals), along with an upright piano.
  • The 120-seat chapel has a 50 stop Walker digital organ, along with a grand piano.
  • Two octaves of handbells, timpani, several Orff instruments, and small percussion.

Specifications of the two organs can be viewed on the church’s web site – www.fpcrutherford.org


Performance reviews will be conducted annually, no later than November, according to the Personnel Policy.


Part-time position (30 hours), subject to the terms in the “Employment Contract” and the Church Policies and Procedures.

Interested in applying for this position? 

Please email the following information to: fpcormdsc@gmail.com

Candidate Requirements

1. Resume & cover letter

2. Candidate repertoire

3. Video link of candidate performing the Bach Fugue (“St. Anne”) BWV 552

4. Video link of candidate performing a piece of his or her own choice.

5. References

Summer Music Series

Our air-conditioned chapel space is an invitation to enjoy informal concerts during the summer. During 2015 we heard “Sounds of the 60’s” with local guitar and vocal talent; marimba artist Clara Warnaar; and “An Evening with Clem Moorman”– piano and vocals. The music was wonderful, the time with friends enjoyable, and the food, of course.

The Margaret Hsiao Scholarship 2017

As a tribute to the dedication of our former Director of Music and the many hours of service she has given to the music program at First Presbyterian Church of Rutherford, we are pleased to be offering a $1,000 scholarship to a high school senior who plans on majoring in music.

The Margaret Hsiao Scholarship will be awarded to a deserving high school senior who is graduating in June 2017. This senior should fall into one of the following categories: 1) Be a resident of Rutherford; 2) Be a member of the congregation of First Presbyterian Church; or 3) Be associated with the Northern New Jersey American Guild of Organists.

Anyone interested in applying for this scholarship should contact the church office at 201-438- 3569 for a copy of the application. Completed applications must be returned to the church no later than Friday, June 9th. All applications will be reviewed and interviews will be conducted the week of June 19th. The recipient of the Margaret Hsiao Scholarship will be notified during the week of July 5th and will be recognized during a church service this summer.

Margaret Hsiao Scholarship - 2016

The Margaret Hsiao Scholarship Committee has chosen Larissa Nam as the 2016 award recipient.


Larissa is a senior at Rutherford High School and will be graduating in June. Currently her GPA is 4.363 and she will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in September with a major in Music.


Larissa exemplifies the spirit of this scholarship. She has studied music since the 3rd grade. She plays numerous musical instruments including clarinet, tenor saxophone, cello and bassoon. She also plays piano and has a wonderful singing voice.


She was accepted into the New York Classical Voice Intensive Training, Rowan University Choral Camp, Bergen County Chorus (4 years) Region I Chorus (3 years) and New Jersey All-State Chorus (3 years). She attended and participated in the NJMEA Opera Festival.


These musical accomplishments do not include the fact that she is a member of numerous clubs at Rutherford High School, including Interact Club, French Club, Amnesty, FCCLA, and Harvesters. This last club discuss various Bible passages and the various interpretations group members have of them as well as promote universal love and acceptance of others.


Larissa’s ultimate goal is to be able to share her love of music through teaching. She will receive her scholarship at the Rutherford High School Achievement Breakfast in June, but has also been asked to attend one of our services to be recognized by our congregation.


This committee is very proud to have selected Larissa Nam as our 2016 Scholarship winner.

Family Choir

Family Choir is a brand new program at First Pres. Beginning in October, 2015, parents, children, grandparents (or anyone really who would like to sing) is invited approximately once a month at 9:30am to meet in the chapel. A simple song is taught, practiced, and then sung at the 10am service. Stay tuned for our next upcoming date of Family Choir.

Upcoming Events

We are pleased to offer the following musical events.

  • “Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His Gracious Presence” J.S. Bach

    J. S. Bach Mini-Festival

    to Benefit Rutherford Food Pantry

    Saturday, May 6, 2017

    12:00 noon to 2:00 pM

    • What: Free family-friendly concert featuring outstanding musicians from the region who will perform works by J.S. Bach to benefit the Rutherford Food Pantry
    • When: 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM on Saturday, May 6th (The program will be presented in several brief sessions with breaks in between)
    • Where: First Presbyterian Church, on the triangle at Ridge Road and Park Avenue in Rutherford

    100% of freewill donations of nonperishable, unexpired food items or monetary donations go to the Rutherford food pantry.

    Here’s the approximate schedule:

    12 noon – 12:40 PM (Sanctuary)

    Organ works, vocal solos, choral piece,

    Flute and Organ

    Intermission and distribution of Bach’s (box) lunches

    12:45 – 1:15 PM (Chapel)

    Works for solo instruments and voice

    1:20 – 2:00 PM (Sanctuary)

    Solo handbell artist

    Organ works

    Light refreshments in the Chapel

    A free, simple box lunch ("Bach's lunch") will be offered on a first come, first served basis during intermission. Coffee, tea and cookies will be served at the conclusion of the program in the chapel.

    Audience members are asked to bring non-perishable (unexpired) food items or monetary donations for the Rutherford Food Pantry. 

    The inspiration for this event came from "If Music Be the Food..." -- a benefit concert series created by Carol Rodland in Rochester, NY. All music performances, refreshments, and support are being donated, in accordance with the mission of the concert series, so that 100% of donations will go to the Food Pantry.

    The Church is located on the triangle in downtown Rutherford, at Park Avenue and Ridge Road. On-street parking is metered in the business district near the church and in the Kip Parking Garage. Unmetered on-street parking can be found south and east of the church. For more information contact the church office via email or phone 201-438-3569. To keep informed of the Church’s upcoming recitals and music programs text FPCORMUSIC to 24587. Check us out on Facebook, too.


    About the Rutherford Food Pantry.... 

    The Rutherford Community Pantry is a non-profit organization that meets emergency and ongoing needs for food and personal hygiene items for people in Rutherford and members of Rutherford Institutions who are referred by an approved agency. Visit them on Facebook for information on their specific needs. 

    Join us to support the Food Pantry....listen, lunch and learn


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