All posts in “Worship”

O Holy Night

Laura Nothnagel, Evonne Johnson and Nathan Fry perform O Holy Night in the sanctuary of First Free Rockford.

Song written by Adolphe Adam and Placide Cappeau (public domain).

His Name Shall Be

First Free Rockford’s chorale and orchestra virtually perform His Name Shall Be.

Song written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman (ThankYou Music).

Your 2020 Christmas music sampler

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

We asked First Free’s three musical worship leaders — Renee Cooper, Nathan Fry and Nathan McDonald — for Christmas music recommendations. They came back with quite a variety. Read More

Community-Choir-Festival-2020

Community Choir Festival 2020

Sing like never before!

Be a part of Rockford’s largest community choir and experience the joy and energy of community worship through a two-day choral workshop and concert directed by Dr. Gary Bonner.

Workshop: 7–9:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday
Free Public Concert: 6 p.m. Saturday

Who should attend the workshop:

Singers of all levels and musical backgrounds. Improve sight-reading and overall musical confidence. Learn voice techniques to sing more powerfully with less effort.

Directors. Refresh and inspire the singers you lead. Learn new conducting techniques and ways to choose music. Network with other directors.

Pastors. Better understand the role of choral music in worship and in the life of your congregation.

Cost:
$30/individual (includes Saturday lunch)
Discounts for groups of 10 or more. Contact Renee below.

 

REGISTER NOW

 

More info:
Renee Cooper, 815-877-7046, reneec@firstfreerockford.org

Dr. Gary Bonner (bonnermusic.net) teaches choral workshops nationwide. He was the founding dean of the School of Music at California Baptist University, directing the University Choir and Orchestra. Prior to that, at Azusa Pacific University, he was dean of the School of Music and director of the University Choir and Orchestra. Under his direction, the APU Choir performed at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Disney Symphonic Spectacular. Dr. Bonner was the first American to conduct at the International Church Music Festival in Oberammergau, Germany, and he also has conducted the 2,000 voices and orchestra of the Disneyland Candlelight Procession.

DOWNLOAD CONCERT FLYER

 

‘His mercy is more’

On Sunday, the congregations at all three of our main campus venues sang the modern hymn His Mercy is More. The refrain goes:

Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, the hymn draws from a 1767 letter and sermon by John Newton. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?
But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?
Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power.

True to his letter, Newton’s sins were many. Read More

Church music for a new century

By Jim Killam | Illustration by Nathan McDonald

This summer’s “1 Hit Wonders” sermon series got me thinking about the term’s origin. It refers to any singer or band that produced a single popular song, then was forgotten. Think: The Macarena. Think: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Over the next day and a half while you’re trying to get those songs out of your head (sorry), think about Christian worship music, why we sing the songs we do in church and how many of those songs will be remembered years from now. Differences of opinion about church music might seem like a purely modern discussion. Hardly. 

 

Pastor Luke Teaching about Church Music in the One Hit Wonders Series

Pastor Luke teaching in the “1 Hit Wonders” series

Rediscovering a timeless perspective

Recently, I happened upon a box of old books. One red-covered volume particularly caught my eye: How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival, edited by R.A. Torrey and published in 1901. Torrey was a ministry partner of Dwight L. Moody and a key figure in the early days of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute.

Thumbing through this brittle, old book, I stopped on the chapter called Music in a Revival, by Daniel B. Towner. Towner wrote Trust and Obey and dozens of other hymns. He was music director for several churches and finally at Moody from 1893 to 1919.

Here’s what Towner recommended as the 20th century dawned.  It’s a 381-word paragraph, which would have gotten me kicked out of journalism school. But stick with it. Let his thoughts simmer. I’ve bolded a couple of key sentences.

Read More

Christmas Eve Services

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve Services at First Free Rockford

Join us for one of our 3 identical Christmas Eve services at First Free Rockford as we celebrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Service Times:

  • Sunday December 23rd 8:30am
  • Sunday December 23rd 10:30am (Kids programming available)
  • Monday December 24th 6:00pm (Childcare up to age 5 available)
Christmas Eve Services

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve Services at First Free Rockford

Join us for one of our 3 identical Christmas Eve services at First Free Rockford as we celebrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Service Times:

  • Sunday December 23rd 8:30am
  • Sunday December 23rd 10:30am (Kids programming available)
  • Monday December 24th 6:00pm (Childcare up to age 5 available)
Christmas Eve Services

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve Services at First Free Rockford

Join us for one of our 3 identical Christmas Eve services at First Free Rockford as we celebrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Service Times:

  • Sunday December 23rd 8:30am
  • Sunday December 23rd 10:30am (Kids programming available)
  • Monday December 24th 6:00pm (Childcare up to age 5 available)
Christmas Eve Services

Christmas Services

One Service Christmas Eve Morning

Christmas is coming!  And, on Christmas Eve – Sunday, December 24th – we are so excited that we get to worship together as a Church Family!  Please join us at 8:30 a.m. as we all worship together and are led by a combined Contemporary and Classic Worship Team.  We will be celebrating the 4th Sunday of Advent and lighting the Angels’ Candle as we continue in our series “Do Not Be Afraid.”

Last Year’s Christmas Service

Candles and Carols Christmas Eve

Then, we will gather again at 4:00 p.m. for our “Candles and Carols Service” as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!  We will light the Christ Candle and sing some of our favorite Christmas Carols. 

Bring your family and worship with us on Christmas Eve!

Learn more about our Main Campus Services