How Can I Keep From Singing?
Spring Choir Concert
Sunday April 30 - 4:00pm in Worship Hall
You are cordially invited to FirstU's spring concert!
All three FirstU choirs - Chalice, Fusion and Three Rivers - will join together to present an exciting program of joyful and uplifting music followed by a reception where you can chat with the singers over light refreshments and meet our Interim Music Director, Kirk!
The more, the merrier, so please invite your friends!
Admission by donation.
We look forward to seeing you!
Join a FirstU Choir - Come Sing With Us!
Our choirs are always looking for new voices and there is a place for everyone to sing at FirstU!
choirs at firstu
Chalice Choir meets Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30 and is our largest group. Our repertoire covers it all, from pop arrangements to hymns; folk tunes to choral standards. We value community building, dedication to musical development, laughter and learning. We sing in services approximately twice a month. This is a non-auditioned choir and everyone is welcome. Previous musical experience is helpful but not necessary.
Chalice Choir is actively searching for more members - this is a great place to start if you are new to choir singing or new to FirstU.
Three Rivers Singers meet on Wednesdays from 1:00-2:30pm. We are a small women’s ensemble that sings in a variety of styles, aiming to highlight female composers and themes of welcome, community and empowerment. Three Rivers sings in services on a monthly basis. This is an auditioned choir; ability to sight-read and/or learn music quickly is an asset.
Fusion rehearses on Monday afternoons from 1:00-2:30pm. We like to sing music that has lush harmonies and funky rhythms and we work on blend and ensemble development. Fusion sings in services on a monthly basis and is designed for experienced singers. This is an auditioned choir. Ability to sight-read and/or learn music quickly is an asset.
music is meaningful
We asked "What makes singing at First Unitarian meaningful to you?" Here are just some of the answers:
our interim music director
He has held numerous organist/choirmaster church positions in Canada and the United States. He was privileged as well to have been founding director of an after-school program called Reaching Out Through Music which continues to offer free or subsidized music lessons to immigrant children in the St. Jamestown project in Toronto.
Liturgical improvisation at the organ, choral conducting and composition are among Kirk’s main musical interests. To this end, he has studied improvisation in France with Dr. Naji Hakim, Jean-Pierre Leguay, and Marie-Louise Langlais and in Germany with Otto Maria Krämer. Teachers in choral conducting have included Dr. Sun Min Lee, Ralph Allwood and Timothy Brown.
Kirk’s hobbies and joys include reading, travelling, socializing with family and friends and walking his blue standard poodle Max.
Listen to Kirk's choral composition, A New Commandment, HERE.
our music director
Jennifer ("Jenn") Berntson became FirsTU's Music Director on August 16, 2021, after a competitive search with talented applicants, input from our Music Search Team , Choir members, Revs. Pat and Eric.
Jenn recently went on parental leave and will return in Fall 2023.
Jenn is the Ottawa Children Choir's Chamber (for 11-15 year olds) conductor for the 2021-2022 season. She has also been the conductor for OCC's Prima choir (for 6-7 year olds) for the last four seasons. In addition, Jenn is the founding artistic director of Aella, an advanced treble ensemble based in Ottawa, known for its innovative and engaging programs and sings with the Capital Chamber Choir. Here is an example of Jenn's work (do note the full length is 16 minutes)
Jenn holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice from Mount Allison University and a Master of Arts in Music and Culture from Carleton University, where her research focused on collective music-making as a form of protest. We are excited for Jenn to bring her experience, talent, creativity, and passion for choral music to FirstU.