First United Methodist Church of Decatur supports a vibrant and active music program under the direction of Mary Beth Sederburg. Four groups provide music enhancement for Sunday morning worship:

  • Sanctuary Choir
  • First Brass
  • First A’Peals Handbell Choir
  • First Strings


Additional group members are always welcomed and appreciated. There are no auditions. Just show up for rehearsals and give us a try!

Sanctuary Choir

Sanctuary Choir participation is open to any singers who are high school and older. The choir sings most Sundays throughout the year leading worship with a variety of musical styles from contemporary to spirituals to classical. Music ranges from easy to advanced. The choir is also dedicated to leading worship via several smaller Worship Teams. 

Sanctuary Choir Rehearsals
Thursdays, 7:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Choir Room, Room 304, Sanctuary

First Brass

Open to any brass players, high school and older. The ensemble leads worship about once a month. In addition to hymns, the group plays standard brass quartet or quintet literature, ranging in difficulty from easier to intermediate.

First Brass Rehearsals
Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sanctuary–Choir Loft

First A'Peals Bells

Open to those who read music or have a desire to learn–high school age and up. This group leads worship about once, sometimes twice a month. We have five octaves of bells requiring up to 13 ringers, as well as two octaves of chimes, but we also play literature for any combination of octaves. Music ranges in difficulty from intermediate to advanced.

First A’Peals Bells Rehearsals
Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sanctuary – Second Floor

First Strings

First Strings is the newest ensemble at Decatur First United Methodist Church! Open to string players high school age and up, the group has offered music for several services this year and also played for our “Music and Meditation” series. First Strings plays trios and quartets in a variety of musical styles. 

First Strings Rehearsals
Rehearsals are held on an as needed basis

Additional Music Offerings

In addition to the groups listed, Mary Beth also encourages capable musicians to offer their talents in worship by scheduling various solos, duets, and small ensembles. First Musicians have recently taken place in a major recording project this past Christmas called “The Holiest of Nights”. The four links for viewing these musical offerings can be accessed below. 

There are additional opportunities for those who play electric bass, keyboard, guitar (acoustic or electric), drums, etc. to share their talents.

Coming soon:  Decatur First Chamber Orchestra!! Youth Bell Choir!!

Part 1 – The Holiest of Nights (2020)

Part 2 – The Holiest of Nights (2020)

Part 3 – The Holiest of Nights (2020)

Part 4 – The Holiest of Nights (2020)

Music at Decatur First: Offering our Musical Gifts

–Director’s notes from Mary Beth Sederburg

In approaching the discipline of music, most any musician, director, or educator when asked would agree that excellence is key, practice is essential, and performance is the product. In approaching music, not just for the sake of music but within the context of the church, my philosophy is that excellence is key, practice is essential, but praise is the product. To praise and glorify God to the best of one’s ability, no matter what level of musicianship one may possess, is the chief end of making music in the church. I therefore often delineate what may traditionally be referred to as a “performance” as an “offering”.

I strive to keep rehearsals focused on deliberately honing our craft while highlighting and taking note at all times of lyrics, dynamics, tempi, phrases, and harmony as they pertain to scripture and point to God’s majesty and holiness. Each rehearsal starts or ends with prayer and includes devotion or discussion of the Word. We warm up our bodies and instruments through singing or playing scales or simple chorales/pieces. We work for long periods without breaking to build concentration, building musical skills as we go. I emphasize the importance of listening to one another constantly. Finally, each passage is rehearsed multiple times in multiple ways so that all have an opportunity to learn and grow, and to prepare our very best for our offerings.

Please join us in praising God through music!!