The seeds of Concerts at First were sown in the early 1990’s with an annual fundraiser called “Broadway at First.” Under the leadership of Guy Aydelott and Gloria Hodges, this yearly program was not only to raise funds, but was also an outreach to the wider Eugene/Springfield community. When Julia Brown came to First United Methodist Church in August of 1999, she chose to expand the annual fundraiser into an ongoing series.
The Concerts at First series began in September of 2000 with a Hymn Festival and that year featured several local musicians and ensembles. Together with Guy, Julia developed the vision and understanding of the relevance of Concerts at First: to provide an alternate performance space for high-quality affordable concerts (beyond the theaters and concert halls). Concerts at First programs have always been free of charge. In the beginning we asked for donations, a few years later we started collecting canned goods, and then we began suggesting a donation amount. The Friends of Concerts at First was formed, which enabled us to expand the programs we could offer, helping us to connect with the larger community and to bring musicians from near and far, giving us more opportunities to open our doors to all.
We have sought a balance and variety of programming featuring local talent, including young musicians, as well as bringing in big names from outside the area, partnering with other organizations, such as the American Guild of Organists, Oregon Bach Festival, UO School of Music, Cascade Opera, Baroque Northwest, Vox Resonat, and Portland Gay Men's Chorus. Collaborative programs with the chancel and handbell choirs of FUMC, concerts featuring the beautiful Hochhalter organ and Petty portative organ are all offered in the great space of First United Methodist Church.
BRAD SCHULTZ serves as Artistic Director for the Concerts at First music series as well as the music staff at First United Methodist Church as organist/ pianist, and choir director. He holds a PhD in Historical Musicology from the University of Oregon, where he currently teaches courses in musicology and performance practice. Brad is currently the past Dean of the Eugene Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and is the rehearsal accompanist for the Eugene Concert Choir.
Prior to arriving in Eugene, Brad served on the music faculty at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, teaching music history, church music, keyboard, and aural skills, and applied organ lessons. He was also organist to the Student Congregation and served as a collaborative keyboardist. While in Decorah, Brad also served as Artistic Director of the Madison (Wisconsin) Area Concert Handbells, on the music staff at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, and as organist/pianist for the Minnesota All-State Lutheran Choir, an auditioned choir of 45 high school students.
Brad has served Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Unitarian Universalist congregations in Idaho, Minnesota, Iowa, Georgia, and Oregon. Organ study has been with Tom Hamilton, William Kuhlman, Greg Peterson, Timothy Albrecht, and Barbara Baird.
Brad holds the Master of Sacred Music degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Bachelor’s degree from Luther College encompassing organ and tuba performance, and vocal and instrumental music education.
Concerts at First
PO Box 765, Eugene, OR 97440
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Concerts at First is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to fine-arts programming for the Eugene/Springfield area and beyond.
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