community concert series

In 2015, Hillsdale First United Methodist Church began a concert series as part of our Celebration of 150 Years of Ministry at our 45 North Manning Street location.

Our goal is to present programs of a distinctive sacred flavor and with high musical standards in order to offer the good news of Jesus Christ to our community through the gift of music.

All concerts are Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm and are free and open to the public. A reception will follow each program.

Hillsdale First United Methodist Community Concerts are sharing the gift of music in the name of Christ.

2019 Community Concerts

    February 24 at 4:00 pm- Nicholas Nestorak, tenor, with debbi wyse, piano

    On Sunday, February 24 at 4:00 pm, Hillsdale native Nicholas Nestorak, tenor, will offer a recital of sacred music at Hillsdale First United Methodist Church. Nick will be accompanied by well-known local pianist Debbi Wyse, Artist/Teacher of Piano and Assistant Choral Conductor at Hillsdale College. They will offer a varied program of sacred vocal music drawn from various periods of musical history as well as some arrangements of beloved sacred hymns. Ms. Wyse will also be playing several piano solos.

    Nick is an emerging tenor to watch on the national scene after several seasons of successful engagements in US regional opera companies. With his family based in Hillsdale, we are delighted to have him sing this program before he heads off for his spring season of engagements. 

    Admission is free. A reception will follow the program in the recently refurbished Fellowship Hall, now accessible to all by the new elevator.

    This concert is part of the 2019 Community Concert Series- sharing the gift of music in the name of Christ.

    Previous Community Concerts

    December 9, 2018 - by heaven's light

    This year's program featured the cantata "By Heaven's Light," written by lyricist Tom Long and composer Allen Pote, and celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ with choral music, scripture readings and brief reflections. Also included was the singing of familiar Christmas carols with the audience. Featured performers were the Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir accompanied by an instrumental ensemble, the Hillsdale First UMC Handbell Choir, all under the direction of John Ourensma, Director of Music.

    This program was part of the 2018 Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Community Concert Series- Sharing the gift of music in the name of Christ.

    sunday, March 4, 2018

    David Youngman, fingerstyle Guitarist

    David Youngman is a local professional fingerstyle guitarist and will be sharing music in a varied program of sacred and classical selections.

    Youngman has won several national and international awards for his guitar performances and compositions, including the 2015 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. Since winning the International competition, he has primarily focused on his own music. Youngman's music features techniques not seen many other places. He is most famous for his use of two hand tapping techniques, hand-drumming, and live looping. Combined, these unconventional techniques produce and incredibly full, live sound, often giving the illusion that an entire band is performing.

    Admission is free and the concert is open to the public. A reception will follow the concert in the Fellowship Hall.

    2017 concerts


    Hillsdale First UMC's Annual Christmas Concert, December 10


    The program celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ through choral music, selections for handbells, scripture readings, and brief reflections. This annual event included the spirited singing of familiar Christmas carols by choir and audience.

    Performing was the Hillsdale First UMC Chancel Choir, a Hillsdale College Chamber Orchestra, and the Hillsdale First UMC Handbell Choir, all under the direction of Music Director, John Ourensma.


    On Sunday, March 19, Hillsdale First UMC hosted a concert by the Alma Choir, under the direction of Dr. Will Nichols. The program by the choir from Alma College, Alma, Michigan, included sacred classics for unaccompanied choir, as well as some selections with piano accompaniment, and a closing set of rousing spirituals. The group's long-standing reputation for excellence, its many traditions and its ambitious performing, touring and recording schedule attract talented students for whom choral singing is an important part of their lives.

    Dr. Nichols has been directing the Alma College choral program since 1983 and is active as a professional singer and composer.

    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS SILENT FILM, accompanied by Dr. John Schwandt

    On Sunday, January 22, Hillsdale First United Methodist Church offered a screening of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 blockbuster silent movie depicting the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. The showing included live pipe organ accompaniment much like the film would have been originally presented in theatres of the day. Guest artist, John Schwandt, from the University of Oklahoma, and a master of this art form, returned to Hillsdale after his acclaimed performance presenting The King of Kings last year.

    Dr. Schwandt is a nationally acclaimed performer and is in demand as a clinician, recitalist, leader of hymn festivals, silent film accompanist and as an organ consultant. Dr. Schwandt has been a featured performer for the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) and the Organ Historical Society (OHS). He has been featured numerous times on American Public Media’s Pipedreams broadcasts. Equally at home on a classical or theatrical pipe organ, he is known for his musical versatility and ability to excite and engage audiences of every kind.

    2016 concerts

    What Sweeter Music, by Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Music Department

    Organ Recital by John Ourensma with Nicholas Nestorak, Tenor

    The Kalamazoo Ringers Handbell Choir

    The King of Kings, Silent Film Presentaiton accompanied by Organist John Schwandt

    2015 concerts

    Cameron Wilkens, Pianist


    Bradley Hunter Welch, Virtuoso Organist

    The Covenant Players, Drama Team

    John Ourensma, Pipe Organ Recital and Demonstration

    Sing We Now of Christmas by Hillsdale First UMC's music department

    Worship Services on Sundays at 9:30 am & 11:00 am

    We are growing in love of God and neighbor, making disciples of Jesus Christ, and serving others.