community concert series

Hillsdale First United Methodist Community Concerts: Sharing the Gift of Music in the Name of Christ.

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 musical programs to the community in order to offer the good news of Jesus Christ through the gift of music.

All concerts are free and open to the public. 

2023 Concerts

COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS CONCERT 2023 - Saturday, December 9 AT 3:00 PM

Let the Whole World Sing!

On Saturday, December 9 at 3:00 pm, we presented our 2023 Christmas program featuring the Hillsdale First UMC's Chancel Choir along with local guest vocal and instrumental musicians. 

Three musical selections from Joel Raney’s Christmas musical “Let the Whole World Sing” were performed along with a variety of other music of the season accompanied by scripture and narratives. 

Our concerts are free and open to all and offered as part of our Community Concert Series: Sharing the Gift of Music in the Name of Christ.  


On Sunday, March 26 at 4:00 pm, Hillsdale First United Methodist Church held

a screening of The KING OF KINGS, Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 blockbuster silent movie depicting the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The screening will include live pipe organ accompaniment much like how the film would have been originally presented in the theatres of the day. Guest artist, John Schwandt, from the American Organ Academy, Hartville, Ohio, is a master of this art form and travels all over the country accompanying silent films.

This unique event may be appreciated on several levels – the deep spiritual tone of the subject matter so appropriate to the season of Lent; the fascinating art of black and white silent movies (though the groundbreaking resurrection scene in the movie is filmed in color); and the amazing skill required for an organist to play live, improvised accompaniment to the movie on the pipe organ. Come and experience it for all these reasons!


The people of Hillsdale First United Methodist Church hosted a concert by local guitarist David Youngman on Sunday, January 29 at 4:00 pm. 

The concert featured unique arrangements of well-known hymns and sacred songs, original music composed by Youngman as well as some "on the spot" improvisation. The great variety of his music and virtuoso playing is sure to appeal to listeners of many diverse musical tastes. The artist is very creative in his use of the guitar and is an expert in the fingerstyle technique; instead of just strumming or even playing one string at a time with a pick, Youngman uses all five fingers of his right hand to pluck the strings. The result is a very rich and complex sound with many different parts accompanying the melody.

This event was the first of the 2023 Hillsdale United Methodist Church Community Concert Series: Sharing the Gift of Music in the Name of Christ

Previous Community Concerts


On Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 4:00 pm Hillsdale First UMC presented an encore performance of the cantata Were You There on That Christmas Night? 

The choir and musicians included members of the Hillsdale First UMC choir, as well as a number of friends from the community. Additional music at the concert included singing of familiar Christmas carols, interspersed with Scripture readings and brief reflections. 

gary & martha matthews - Sunday, march 1, 2020

On Sunday, March 1, Hillsdale First United Methodist presented Gary and Martha Matthews in a concert of sacred music. The multi-talented Matthews duo performed unique arrangements of well-known hymns and songs in diverse musical styles including classical, jazz, gospel and contemporary on a variety of instruments. Gary played the piano, organ, trumpet, and sings, while Martha played a variety of flutes, penny whistles and handbells.

This was the first concert in the 2020 Hillsdale First UMC Community Concert Series- sharing the gift of music in the name of Christ.

sunday, December 8, 2019 - night of the father's love


Hillsdale First UMC's annual Christmas program celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ through choral music, carols, scripture readings and brief reflections. Featured performers were the Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir and guest singers from churches around the community, accompanied by an instrumental ensemble, all under the direction of John Ourensma, Director of Music.

The kalamazoo Ringers handbell choir

Sunday, April 14, 2019

On Sunday, April 14, The Kalamazoo Ringers handbell choir returned in the second concert of the Hillsdale First UMC 2019 Community Concert Series - sharing the gift of music in the name of Christ.

Now under their newly appointed director, Martha Matthews, they offered an exciting and diverse program of music for handbells. This outstanding group plays a set of bells that cover six octaves as well as a seven-octave set of hand chimes.

February 24, 2019 - Nicholas Nestorak, tenor, 

with debbi wyse, piano

On Sunday, February 24 at 4:00 pm, Hillsdale native Nicholas Nestorak, tenor, offered a recital of sacred music. Nick was accompanied by well-known local pianist Debbi Wyse, Artist/Teacher of Piano and Assistant Choral Conductor at Hillsdale College. They will offered 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. 


Sunday, December 19, 2018 - By Heaven's Light Christmas Program

Sunday, March 4, 2018  - David Youngman - Fingerstyle Guitarist

2017 concerts

Were You There on that Christmas Night? - Hillsdale First UMC's Annual Christmas Concert

Alma College Choir Concert

The Ten Commandments Silent Film Presentation, accompanied live by Organist Dr. John Schwandt

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 Presentation, accompanied live by Organist Dr. 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