Since the very beginnings of our faith, music has been an integral part of the worship of God. And Central has long been known for its excellent music program. Drawing on the wealth of musical gifts present in our congregation, the goal of our music ministry is to enable everyone to join in the joyful song of God’s praise.
At Central, we love traditional hymns and anthems, but also work to incorporate a diversity of musical styles as well as songs from other cultures and traditions. We are excited to use the Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, a wonderful compilation which is helping us to expand our repertoire of congregational song.
PLEASE NOTE: A few of our activities are reopening now that the pandemic has eased. Please refer to our Concerns & Cares page for more information.
Our music program is led by gifted professional church musicians—Rich Dewein, director of music and Lois Harms, organist—who have both spent decades teaching music, directing choirs, accompanying ensembles, and leading God’s people in worship. They are joined by Sue Hudson, who directs our handbell choir on a volunteer basis.
All of our choirs offer the chance to make music together, while also building relationships and enjoying fellowship with each other.
Chancel Choir is the principal choir of the church and sings regularly on Sundays from early-September through May, as well as for special services, events and concerts. It is open to adults and high school age youth, regardless of musical ability. A wide variety of styles, ethnic origins and historical periods are represented in the choir’s extensive repertoire. Contact Music Director Rich Dewein at 515-279-3658 if interested in joining this choir.
Rehearsals: Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., Cownie Chapel and Sundays, 9:30 a.m., Sanctuary
Morgen Bells ring approximately once a month in worship as well as for seasonal services, concerts and community events. The choir, of approximately 12 members, rings four octaves of Whitechapel handbells and enjoys good fellowship and making music together! New ringers should contact Bell Choir Director Sue Hudson at 515-279-3658, for information about joining this choir.
Rehearsals: Thursdays, 8:45 a.m., Sanctuary
Children’s Chorus (grades K–7) meets during the school year and the choir sings monthly in worship and presents a large-scale musical at Christmas and again in the spring. Rehearsals: Wednesdays during the children and youth programs, September to May, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Central’s music program is greatly enriched by a magnificent 41-rank Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. Built in 1961, it is considered one of the finest instruments in Des Moines. The music from its 2,484 pipes combined into 32-stops, fills our sanctuary with a rich, heavenly sound that helps us to praise God in majesty.
Special concerts, recitals and musical performances are held throughout the year. Central has a long tradition of offering a Service of Lessons and Carols during Advent. Our children’s choir periodically performs a large-scale musical work incorporating drama into biblical storytelling. The acoustics of our sanctuary lends us to host many visiting choirs:
- Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble
- Des Moines Diversity Chorus
- Southwestern Community College Chamber Singers
- Central College’s A Cappella Choir