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Music Director/Organist Job Posting at First Lutheran Church Palo Alto, CA

First Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA is hiring for a new Music Director/Organist! Check out the full job posting and learn more about the congregation here:

Interested? Send resumes to:

The basics: a part time position, generally 15-20 hrs/week, exempt, salaried. Initial one year contract. Reports to: the pastors. Four weeks vacation, including four Sundays. Professional development fund.

Experiences such as grace and deep joy may be best expressed through music. That’s what many Lutherans have found, going back to church musicians like Schütz and J.S. Bach and to Martin Luther himself, who invited congregations to move from being audiences to participants who sing the faith. First Lutheran Church has long been a center for music-rich worship, concerts, rehearsal space, music education—even jams. The pandemic has brought challenges, such as choir members moving away, but also new musical experiences, such as more use of cantors. We look forward to a new beginning. How can we grow the program, adapt to a (post?) pandemic situation, involve and invite new people, and try new ways of doing things? How can music be a source of strength and joy for us? We seek a music director to partner with us in this adventure.


  • 26-rank Casavant electropneumatic organ, installed in 2002; 3-rank continuo organ, built in 2000 by the Bond organ firm of Portland, Oregon; Yamaha grand piano; 4-octave set of Flemish handbells.

  • A singing congregation where musical interests, talent, and skills abound and are valued.

  • Our small but dedicated volunteer choir.

  • A very good music library.

  • A warm, acoustically live worship space.

We’re looking for someone who:

  • Is very strong in organ performance, accomplished in service playing and sight-reading, particularly accompaniment.

  • Is a skilled, inspiring, prepared choir director.

  • Is open to and likes a wide variety of music.

  • Values music as not just being about performance, but enriching worship and nurturing community life.

  • Knows about or is interested in and willing to learn about liturgical traditions and repertoire.


  1. Prepare and play organ / piano for one in-person worship service each Sunday (see also zoom services, below).

  2. Direct adult choir, which has rehearsed on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings during the school year.

  3. Get to know the congregation. Invite, encourage, support, and celebrate community participation in our music ministries, such as by recruiting new choir members, inviting people to be cantors or play an instrument, teaching congregational song. Help us to creatively adapt the music program to the availability, skills, talents, and musical interests of the community.

  4. In collaboration with pastors, plan seasonal and lectionary-appropriate music for worship such as: mass settings, psalms, anthems, preludes, hymns, etc. Planning is done online and at meetings, some involving other staff and lay members.

  5. Plan, play, and direct music at occasional special events, such as: Lessons & Carols, Christmas Eve, Lenten midweek worship, Holy Week, and Easter. Right of refusal, separate compensation for weddings and funerals.

  6. Plan, play, record and/or coordinate music in any online services (they’re light on music). We currently are planning one zoom service each Sunday, with a volunteer handling the technology.

  7. Lead in making use of the classical sacred music repertoire as well as liturgically appropriate music in non-classical styles such as folk, meditative, spirituals, global.

  8. Provide written information for worship bulletins to the office manager in a timely manner, with detailed instructions when necessary. Proofread bulletins once or twice weekly. Write quarterly newsletter reports, help publicize events, and write other communications as needed.

  9. Maintain the organs and pianos in good condition, inspecting them after regular tuning schedules and when returned from being rent out (Bond organ).

  10. Identify, hire, and arrange for payment of outside musicians (such as substitute organists) as needed for worship and other events.

  11. Be responsible for the choir library and database. Manage acquisitions to the library within the approved budget.


  • Children’s choir has often rehearsed just before adult choir on Thursday evenings. A capable volunteer is willing to take this on, or Music Director could. We like opportunities for children and adults to make music together!

  • A number of musical partners have met in our space, such as orchestras, a boychoir, teen string camp. Might there be collaboration with whoever uses our space in the time to come?

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