Music on the Plaza

Organ in the mother church

Music plays an intrinsic role at The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Music is the harmony of being…” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 106.)

Church services

At a Sunday church service, you’ll find music and singing that support the inspiration of the service and the message of the sermon. There's a prelude (eight or nine minutes long), three hymns, a solo, music during the offertory, and a postlude (six or seven minutes long). A Wednesday testimony meeting includes a prelude, three hymns, and a postlude. Each service or meeting is proceeded by chiming. You are invited to any service to enjoy the music.

The Pipe Organs

There are two organs built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston at The Mother Church: one in the Original Edifice and one in the large-domed Extension of The Mother Church. The organ in the Extension is one of the largest in the world with a total of 13,295 pipes, ranging from the size of a pencil to 32 feet in length. It is played from the four-manual console located in front of the platform. Both organs can be heard during church services every Wednesday and Sunday. The Church hosts regular organ concerts in the Extension (Pipes on the Plaza) throughout the year by accomplished organists from the Boston area, including Bryan Ashley, Organist of The Mother Church.

Solos

Each Sunday church service includes a solo. The words and music are selected by the soloist to support the spiritual meaning of the sermon. The solo may be contemporary or classical and may be accompanied by the organ, the keyboard, the piano, or other instruments. 

Chiming

The Mother Church has had bells in the Church’s towers for well over a century. A chime of fifteen tubular bells, founded by the United States Tubular Bell Company of Methuen, Massachusetts, was installed in the bell tower of the Original Edifice of The Mother Church in 1894. A decade later, in 1906, a chime of eleven bells (later expanded to thirteen), founded by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York, was installed in the cupola of the Extension of The Mother Church. This set was used until 1984, when a new chime of eighteen bells, founded by Royal Eijsbouts of Asten, in the Netherlands, was installed in the bell tower of the Original Edifice.

The bells are played by musicians who are members of The Mother Church and volunteer their services. You can hear chiming ringing out over the Plaza at the following times:

  • 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays, for 15-20 minutes before church services (there are no evening services in July and August)
  • 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, for 15-20 minutes before testimony meetings
  • Summer Friday evening concerts in July
  • Special concerts, as announced (see calendar)