Music & Song at First Presbyterian

Music is a powerful way of expressing our faith. Hymns, responses, choral and organ music connect us with centuries of faith tradition and carry us through our joys and sorrows, as individuals and as a community. Music from many sources, both sacred and secular, lifts hearts, touches souls, connects people to one another and provides solace in personal meditation.


Our music draws on the resources of congregation, choirs, organs, pianos and various other instruments. Guest musicians frequently join us for special times such as All Saints Day, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. We invite all ages, and of all abilities, to participate in our music-making, to share talents and the joy of music. As the number of young people in our church is increasing, so are the opportunities for them to share their music.

We encourage musical development at any stage of life. This could include older adults learning to sing in choir, young people learning hymns in Sunday school, or families singing together through various events such as Christmas Caroling. The church makes available a scholarship of $1000 for an outstanding high school student who has been accepted to study music in college. See below for more details and application instructions.

Through our music, we invite people to be engaged as a community tuning in with the Divine. We also offer concerts and informal times throughout the year for music to speak in many different ways. Please join us in our musical journeys.

Congregational Singing

Congregational Singing is at the heart of our worship times. Supported by choir and organ, voices are joined in highest praise and deepest prayer. We sing the earliest hymns of the Christian Church, Gregorian melodies, hymns from Renaissance, Baroque, Classical periods, English and American hymns, praise hymns, global and folk hymns.  

In our two worship spaces, we use two different hymnbooks – The Presbyterian Hymnal: Hymns, Songs, and Spiritual Songs (1990) and Glory to God (2013). We often include hymns and songs from other sources too. With mind, body, and spirit, voices are raised – unison or harmony, high or low, strong or weak – and woven together in a tapestry of sound.  

    …be filled with the spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:18-20  

Children's Music

Children are an integral part of worship at First Presbyterian, and are encouraged to take part in all musical aspects of the service. In addition, there is music during Sunday School where the children learn timeless hymns of the church, and they occasionally sing these songs during the children's time in service. They are also welcomed and encouraged to take part in the Christmas services and/or performing in the annual choral Christmas concert. Christmas Caroling and Hymnsings throughout the year also provide families an opportunity to join their hearts and voices in song, and sharing the love of music with community. 

The Margaret Hsiao Scholarship

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 and 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 by June 1st. All applications will be reviewed and interviews will be conducted mid-June. The recipient of the Margaret Hsiao Scholarship will be notified during the first week of July and will be recognized during a church service during the summer.

2019 Margaret Hsiao Scholarship Recipient: Matteo Paoli

The Worship and Music Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Margaret “Peggy” Hsiao Scholarship is Matteo Paoli, a Senior at Rutherford High School. He will be attending Mannes School of Music at the New Schools College of Performing Arts in Manhattan. Congratulations to Matteo!



Past Margaret Hsiao Scholarship recipients to recognize:

2018 - Jonathan Yap  •  2016 - Larissa Nam