A half-time (approx., 20 hours per week) Organist/Accompanist is being sought to lead the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church, Lake Forest, Illinois, in service music. In addition to playing for services and choral rehearsals, the Organist will oversee the maintenance of the church’s organs and pianos.


Presently, there are two Sunday morning worship services: a 9:00 casual service led by a worship team and a 10:30 traditional service led by choir and organ. In addition, we have a Wednesday evening (7:00) Taizé chapel service, which is eliminated in favor of a 7:00 a.m. breakfast service during Lent.


Instruments include:
  • Casavant Frères Opus 3160, 1973, overhauled in winter, 2015

  • Schlicker Chapel organ

  • Sanctuary piano: Steinway Model B, 1882, restored in 2017

  • Parlor piano: Steinway Model B (c. 1930), action rebuilt in 2014

  • Rehearsal room piano: Bösendorfer Model 170, 2001

  • Chapel piano: Kemble 48” upright, 1995

  • Children’s Choir room piano: Yamaha Clavinova CVP-805, 2021

First Presbyterian Church is a Christian community, and the Organist is therefore expected to have a strong personal Christian faith and a desire to grow in his or her own faith. An ability to work lovingly with musicians of all levels and backgrounds is essential.

About the Position

The Organist provides organ and piano music for the worship and ministry programs of the First Presbyterian Church.  This position provides congregational music leadership for weekly Sunday worship and rehearsal support for the church’s vocal ensembles. This is a half-time position, anticipating an average commitment of approximately 20 hours per week.

Primary Responsibilities
Sanctuary and Chapel Organist
  • Work as a part of the Worship Planning Team (pastors and program staff) to plan music for worship services, Easter and Christmas liturgical seasons, and other church events.

  • Provide musical accompaniment for traditional worship services, accompanying the Sanctuary Choir, soloists, ensembles, and congregational hymns, as well as playing preludes, offertories, and postludes.

  • Organist could also be called upon for periodic subbing with the Sunday 9:00 a.m. Worship Team.

  • Provide musical accompaniment for memorial services and weddings, assisting families and pastors in their musical selections and engaging soloists and instrumentalists as requested. (Extra compensation is provided per the church wedding and funeral policies.)

  • Arrange for substitute organists when necessary.

Accompanist for all choral ensembles
  • Provide organ/piano accompaniment for the Sanctuary Choir at regular weekly rehearsals and services. Rehearsals are presently scheduled on Thursday evenings.

  • Provide piano accompaniment for all children’s choir rehearsals, presently scheduled on Wednesday afternoons.

  • Arrange for individual rehearsals/coachings with soloists as necessary.

Actively participate in the overall Music and Arts Ministry of the church.
  • Develop and maintain a library of organ and instrumental music for use in services.

  • Work with the Director of Music and Arts to ensure that all expenses are within the approved budget.

  • Provide spiritual leadership and pastoral care to the members of the music ministry.  Inform Director of Music and Arts and pastoral staff of care needs.

  • Work with the Director of Music in weekly worship planning and evaluation.

  • Provide content and related information pertaining to worship music in an accurate and timely fashion for the bulletin and other vehicles of church communication.

  • Ensure that instrumental music integrates with the total music program and larger ministry of the church.

Relationships and Accountability

The Organist reports to the Director of Music and Arts and will work as a member of the overall staff team toward the effective and faithful ministry of the church.

Personal Qualifications/Characteristics
  • Required training and experience includes:

    • A Master of Music degree, with concentration in organ performance, church music, or a similar course of study.

    • Demonstrated proficiency as a collaborative pianist.

    • A minimum of four years experience leading church music.

  • Desired training and experience includes:

    • A terminal degree in music and evidence of continuing study.

    • National/international reputation as an organ recitalist.

  • Personal characteristics include:

    • Creative and open attitude toward a broad range of experiences within music, worship, and the arts.

    • Team player, able to implement the concept of team ministry, working in a supportive, vital, and collegial manner with all staff members

    • Strong Christ-centered personal spirituality and a desire to grow in ministry and musical skills.

    • Ease, caring, and interest in personal relationships.

    • Leadership style that is proactive, accessible, able to deal openly with others.

About the Church

Founded in 1859, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest is one of the longest standing congregations in the Chicago metropolitan area. Today, church membership numbers around 1200, with approximately 300 worshipers each week.  Since its founding, the mission of the church has been to proclaim Christ’s message, provide a community of spiritual nurture, and to promote God’s vision of justice. Through the ancient Christian practices – worship, learn, connect, serve, and invite – we seek to equip people with resilient faith.

First Presbyterian Church is a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church(USA).   Our constitution opens with these words:

“The good news of the Gospel is that the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – creates, redeems, sustains, rules, and transforms all things and all people. This one living God, the Scriptures say, liberated the people of Israel from oppression and covenanted to be their God. By the power of the Spirit, this one living God is incarnate in Jesus Christ, who came to live in the world, die for the world, and be raised again to new life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces the nearness of God’s kingdom, bringing good news to all who are impoverished, sight to all who are blind, freedom to all who are oppressed, and proclaiming the Lord’s favor upon all creation.

“The mission of God in Christ gives shape and substance to the life and work of the Church. In Christ, the Church participates in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity by proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s love, offering to all people the grace of God at font and table, and calling all people to discipleship in Christ. Human beings have no higher goal in life than to glorify and enjoy God now and forever, living in covenant fellowship with God and participating in God’s mission.”

About the Music and Arts Ministry

Music has been vital to the worship life of the First Presbyterian Church from the beginning. Anchored by the 1973 Casavant Frères Opus 3160 organ and the 40-voice Sanctuary Choir, the excellence of our music program has been a major factor in drawing many of our members to this church for over 160 years.

In addition to leading Sunday worship and supporting Sunday School music, the music ministry has a long tradition of commissioning, concertizing, and touring. First Presbyterian commissions have included works by such composers as Clarence Dickinson, James Gillette, Robert Wetzler, and more recently Cathy Moklebust, Stephen Paulus, and William Schnell. Recent concerts have included the Requiems of Duruflé, Fauré, and Rutter, the Mendelssohn St. Paul, and the modern premiere performances of four works by Francesco Durante. The Sanctuary Choir and Lakeminster Ringers have completed over ten European tours, most recently to the Netherlands in the summer of 2019.



I am strongly persuaded that after theology, there is no art that can be placed on a level with music, for besides theology,
music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy to the heart.                  MARTIN LUTHER


Music carries many sacred functions: Drawing us into a deeper relationship with the Lord, and drawing us into deeper relationship with one another and the world. Giving our faith voice in this moment in our vernacular, and connecting us across time and space to other believers.

We believe that the music we play and sing, as an expression of our faith, is both a gift from God and an offering to God. The music ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest seeks to uplift the congregation in worship and in life through a diverse selection of music that speaks to the minds and hearts of all generations. We celebrate and value both the old and the new.

First Presbyterian Church relies upon a team of dedicated musicians to identify and teach scripturally-based music in all genres, in order to lead and inspire worship.

While we strive to maintain the highest standards in our music, we dedicate ourselves first to glorifying God, second to equipping our congregation to sing their faith, and only then to performance excellence.



The music ministry of the First Presbyterian Church will:

  • Dedicate the gift of song to the glory of God, focusing on participatory worship as its primary purpose.

  • Enrich the congregation in a way that the written or spoken word cannot.

  • Teach a core of music that equips the congregation, including its children, with a resilient faith at all stages of life’s journey.

  • Present diverse opportunities for all members of the congregation and community to connect through music ministry.

  • Make the church an inviting and safe place for all people to experience God’s grace through music.

  • Maintain high standards for all ensembles, thus fostering growth both musically and spiritually by embracing both the challenge and the reward of learning distinguished musical literature.

  • Contribute to the scriptural literacy and spiritual maturity of the congregation.


How to Apply

Applications are now being accepted for this important position, with a target start date in June, 2023.

Screening of applicants will begin on March 1. For full consideration, applications should be received by April 15.

Please send:

  • Cover letter that includes your philosophy of worship arts

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  • Links to three to five representative video or audio samples of your playing

  • Contact information for three to five professional references. References will be contacted confidentially, only for position finalists.


Applications should be submitted to:
Jan McNicholas
Director of Business Operations
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
700 N. Sheridan Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045

For questions regarding the position, please contact Dr. Tom Tropp, Director of Music and Arts, at 224.544.1952 or

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