First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church • 330 First Parish Rd, Scituate MA

Music at First Parish

Music is a Ministry

Beth in her many roles!

Our Musical Director/Organist

Elizabeth Dubuisson
2021 is Beth's 15th year with First Parish. Beth is beloved at FPUU - it may not be standard etiquette to applaud during a church service, but it spontaneously happens almost every service! At First Parish, she is an organist, a pianist, she plays her own harpsichord, she leads the choir and bell choir, she leads us a cappella to get even the shyest singers contributing. She collaborates with the minister on all choices of music, whether psalms, gospel, folk, world music, or children's rounds. She is a positive force, and brings us joy!
Beth studied at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University. Active in local, state and national music teachers' associations, she is a private music teacher, a national-level judge, and has been a music director at several churches.
Scituate Mariner Photo by Robin Chan

Choir

Special guests and everyday gifts

Music is an integral part of First Parish, during services and the rest of parish life. We have an active choir that lifts our spirits with song! The only requirement for joining choir is a love of singing, whether you read music or not. The same is true for our handbell choir. Our repertoire includes classical pieces, folk tunes, pop songs, and spirituals, as well as music from other cultures, occasionally in the native language. Please join us! There are no auditions, and singers in Grade 7 or older are welcome. Our K-6 children's choir performs periodically, under the direction of Mark Matthews.
During Covid, we are rehearsing and performing either outdoors or via Zoom.

We often host guest artists during services, as well as bring in musicians like Nick Page, Jim Scott, and Matt Meyer, who lead services with their unique blend of song and spiritual reflections. Evening and weekend concerts, student recitals, the Blue Boat Coffeehouse, and other events also bring music into our space.

Regular Sundays bring their own joy, raising our voices together (in tune or not!), soaking in the gorgeous harmonies of our choir members, being dazzled by Beth's performances, enjoying the talents of fellow members on cello, guitar or piano — and hearing kids, over the years, quickly gain greater skill at their instruments as they take part in the services.

Our Musical Instruments

  • Our historic 1906 pipe organ was a gift of Cornelia and George Allen, in memory of George's wife, Deborah. Built specifically for the First Parish sanctuary by the eminent Boston firm of Hook & Hastings, it is the company's Opus 2163. Originally pumped by hand bellows, it was electrified in 1928. The original mechanical keyboard action of this wonderful instrument is still intact, and it has six ranks of pipes distributed over two manuals and a pedal. It was carefully overhauled in 2016; its keys are smoother, its timbre more authentic. Many thanks to Andover Organ, who will continue their work on more minor issues as fundraising continues. To quote Gerald Peters, our late Music Director, "To hear this beautiful instrument in the room for which it was built is to fall in love with it!".
  • The bass viol, located in a case in the rear of the sanctuary, was the first instrument used in the church. It was made in 1823 by Asa and Shadrach Merritt, who lived in Scituate. A companion instrument was made for the Trinitarian Church, after it separated from First Parish in 1825. The latter is presently in the possession of the Scituate Historical Society.
  • Our grand piano, made by Massachusetts manufacturer Mason & Hamlin, was a gift from our former Music Director, Beth Hilliard.
  • Most recently our sanctuary has welcomed a French Double Harpsichord, manufactured by Eric Herz Harpsichords of Cambridge, Massachusetts. This lovely instrument is on loan to us from our current Music Director, Beth Dubuisson and her husband. Made with the finest woods and craftsmanship, it is beautiful to both eye and ear.

"Notable" Events...

Guest performers; seasonal concerts; holiday services open to all; youth recitals; and the Blue Boat Coffeehouse
There's always great music happening here, making the most of the sanctuary's excellent acoustics. We're proud to bring artists to the South Shore, and showcase our own local talent, so you can hear beautiful music close to home, at minimal cost.


Peter Krasinski, organist: 
Live silent-film accompaniment 
For Halloween, what better way to celebrate the spooky and the unexpected than this: Watching 1920s-era classic silent films with live improvisational organ, interpreted by the great Peter Krasinski, who has presented three outstanding programs here so far.
The Elizabeth Smith Memorial Fund Concert series
to fund the organ restoration

This program showcased a rich and varied group of talented performers that have graciously assisted our cause: Jazz pianist Eyran Katsenelenbogen; singer-songwriter Dawna Hammers; classical pianist Dr. Kenneth Wolf; featured works by Duxbury composer Larence Smith; violinist Donna Culley; soprano Carol Cybulska; cellist Caroline Hine; harpsichordist David Dubuisson, floutist Beverly Reilly. The final celebratory concert in November 2016 had organists Berni Nadeau, Mark Slawson, and our own Beth Dubuisson pulling out all the stops!