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, and instruments including piano, handbells, recorders, Orff percussion, and 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 play the recorder, young people playing instrumental solos in a worship service, or the family choir learning a song that they will sing in church later that morning. 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 the more recent application instructions and download.

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.

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.

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. Occasionally we gather for “Soup, Salad, and Sing,” an informal time of exploring the hymnals and singing both new and favorite hymns. 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