music ministry

Many people feel connected to God through the power of music. At First Christian Church, we celebrate with a mixture of traditional hymns, jazzy spirituals, grand organ compositions, a vocal choir and handbell choir, and special music featuring talented members of the church and community. It's easy to get involved!

Music department staff

An image of Daniel Shafer wearing a tuxedo and a big smile, standing on a stage before a concert.
Topher Otake is currently pursuing his M.M. in Choral Conducting at the University of Missouri, where he also received his B.M. in Music Education. Originally from Chicago, Topher has been learning and teaching in Columbia since 2014. He began teaching vocal music at Moberly Middle School and West Middle School in 2018, before choosing to pursue his M.M. Topher is the music director of the Boonslick Chordbusters, and sings lead in the Boone County Hams, a barbershop quartet. He is also a conductor of Cambiare Young Men’s Chorus with Columbia Youth Choirs. 
An image of Dr. Rochelle Parker wearing a white blouse with a big smile in front of the stones in the atrium of First Christian.

Dr. Rochelle Parker

Rochelle began as organist in January 2020, previously serving churches in Columbia, St. Louis, Chicago, Iowa, and California. Dr. Parker is professionally a medical doctor and serves as assistant professor/hospitalist with the University of Missouri General Medicine School/Clinic. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Jerry, and their two grown sons. 
An image of Travis McFarlane, slicked back brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses, wearing a collared white shirt with light pink and blue stripes and squares with a soft smile in front of the stones in the atrium of First Christian.

Travis McFarlane

Travis brings a longtime passion for music to his role as early service musician. He studied music and business at Graceland University, where he led and performed in several vocal and instrumental ensembles. In his spare time, Travis is active in the Columbia music scene and often plays in groups and studio sessions.


Chancel Choir
Adult choir singing most Sundays of the year in the 10:30 a.m. worship service; practices on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.
Handbell Choir
Offers music each season of the year;
practices on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
Drennan Singers
Women’s chorus that practices toward a performance three times a year.
An image of several members of the church choir, all dressed in navy blue robes with white trim, singing in Sunday worship in the sanctuary.

A sample of our music ministry

sanctuary organ

The current 3-rank pipe organ with chimes was installed by the Reuter Organ Company in 1950. The pipes hide behind elaborately carved wooden grills dating from 1896. 
Image of Dr. Rochelle Parker playing the sanctuary organ.
An image of Michael Sauer directing music from a hymnal on a music stand on the sanctuary stage, as Travis McFarlane plays the piano in the background.
An image of Dr. Parker's hands playing the organ, showing the sleeves of her white shirt.
An image of Travis McFarlane playing the piano in the sanctuary of the church, wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.
An image of the beautiful and enormous organ pipes.
An image of multiple organ stoppers and tabs - long black pieces of wood with a round, white button at the tip.
An image of Carlot Dorve playing a trumpet with one hand fancing the sanctuary as the sun shines beautifully through the stain glass windows of the balcony.