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Music Program

The purpose of the music program at First Church is to open hearts and minds to “that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, that moves us to a renewal of the spirit” (the U.U. Purposes and Principles). We intend the scope of the music in Sunday worship to be thoughtfully eclectic. The choirs are as likely to sing an African folksong as a Latin motet; one of our vocal soloists might open the service with a chant from the traditional Jewish liturgy, then later in the service sing an African-American spiritual; and anything from a Brazilian tango to a Bach fugue may sound forth from the Meeting House organ or piano. Our liturgical calendar encompasses the turning of the seasons as well as holy days of many traditions, and music helps develop and interpret these themes of worship, as well as the emotional subtext of each Sunday’s focus. We invite members and friends of First Church, as well as professionals from the music community, to use their talents continually to expand the scope and depth of our music-making.

Music Staff

Rev. Ian W. Riddell
 Minister of Music and Worship Arts Bio 

Lorelei Isidro
 South Bay Music Coordinator Bio

Lynn Mendoza-Khan
 Choir Director Bio

Justin Murphy-Mancini
 Organist and Pianist, and Acting Handbell Programs Director Bio

Andrea Newall
 JUUL Tones Ensemble Director Bio

Dan Ratelle
 Choir Director Bio

Recent Events

May 2014: Women’s Chorus participated in the UU Choral Festival, in Santa Monica.

May 2014: Festival Service of Music featured all of our Choirs (“Let the Music Ring”).

July 2014: First Church hosted this year’s UU Musicians Network Conference, attended by over 250 musicians and church leaders from all over the U.S. and Canada.

December 14, 2014: Annual Winter Service of Music, with Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs.”

March 21, 2015: The Women’s Choir will participate in “San Diego Sings!,” a choral extravaganza at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion as part of the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration.

June 7, 2015: Music Festival Sunday, when all of our ensembles will be featured in both Sunday Services.

Music Program Survey Results

Our congregation sees high-quality music as a central part of worship. In our Music Program Survey, people expressed a strong desire for a wide variety of musical styles and genres to be included in worship, including traditional, contemporary, world music and drumming. There was a strong sense that Sunday music should be inclusive—made by the congregation, for the congregation. Many people emphasized the importance of congregational singing as well as musical offerings made by our various choirs and by high-quality vocal and instrumental soloists.  Those responding from South Bay strongly favored the contemporary music played by the band. The survey is a basis for decision-making; it is a way to get a sense of what the congregation would like.  View the full Music Program Survey results.

Our Choirs and Ensembles

Join Us!

Our Music Program offers a number of ensembles in which participants can develop their skills, learn to work “in harmony” with others, and create a little more beauty in our Church and in our community. You can find something for just about every age and level. For more information about the Music Program, please contact Rev. Ian W. Riddell, Minister of Music and Worship Arts, at (619) 398-4436.