The Chancel Choir is the main adult choir of First United Methodist Church, singing three Sundays a month for worship and at festival services and special occasions. Directed by Mark Kurtz and accompanied by Marie Meyers, the group does a wide variety of music, ranging from traditional art music (such as Bach, Mozart, etc.) to world music (such as South African freedom songs) to high-quality contemporary music (including styles such as jazz, gospel, etc.)
The choir has a special relationship with John Rutter; two of his choral compositions were written for the choir and premiered at First United Methodist Church, and another of his compositions (the "Gloria") was premiered by a former Director of the Chancel Choir, Mel Olson. Everything the group sings is carefully coordinated with the worship services, and music that affirms the vision focus statement of the church is particularly emphasized. Two or three times each year, the choir does an extended choral work with instrumentation; examples from the past few years include "Five Mystical Songs" by Ralph Vaughn Williams, "Christmas in the Southwest" by Conrad Susa, and John Rutter's "Magnificat."
The group is open to adults and high school students. No special training is necessary; singing on-pitch and the ability to blend with others are the only requirements. Rehearsals are Thursday evenings (from September through May) from 7:30 to 9:00 PM in Clark Rehearsal Hall. For more information contact Mark Kurtz, Director of Music Ministries, at 402-556-6262, ext. 1021, or email@example.com.
The Handbell Choir
The Handbell Choir is also directed by Mark Kurtz. It is open to adults and high school students and rings once a month for worship. No previous knowledge or training in handbell ringing is required (other than an ability to count!); new members are given training when they join the group. The bells consist of four octaves of Schulmeric Bells and two octaves of Choir Chimes. Rehearsals are Thursday evenings (from September through May) from 6:20-7:15 in Clark Rehearsal Hall. For more information contact Mark Kurtz, Director of Music Ministries, at 402-556-6262, ext. 1021, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hosanna and Youth Choirs
These choirs are evolving and rehearsals for Youth Choir vary depending upon availability of the choir members. Hosanna Choir rehearses from 9:35-9:55 a.m. in room 208. For a description of each choir and the age groups, contact Mark.Kurtz@fumcomaha.org.
We are very fortunate to have awesome musicians in the youth program. For more information, contact Becky.Jones@fumcomaha.org.
Mark Kurtz, Director of Music Ministries
An award-winning composer and organist, Mark Kurtz has been Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church since the year 2000. His education began at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he won a Chancellor's Award for Excellence and graduated as Outstanding Senior. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he was twice named an Angell Scholar and graduated with highest honors. Next, he studied at the University of Minnesota, where he branched out from his conservatory-style background and began to be involved in performance art, musical theater, and conducting.
His compositions have been performed across the United States, in Canada, and in Europe. He has received many commissions for new work, from groups such as the American Guild of Organists and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He regularly writes new pieces for the Chancel Choir and Handbell Choir of First United Methodist Church; two CD's of his compositions, performed by the church choirs and with guest soloists and instrumentalists, have been produced. From 2001-2010, Mark was the Music Director of the River City Mixed Chorus, Nebraska's only GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association) Chorus.