First Parish Church in Beverly, Unitarian Universalist

Job Description: Music Director

First Parish Church in Beverly (FPC) is a vibrant, progressive religious community of 159 members. Founded in 1667, we are located in downtown Beverly, MA and continually seek to marry our rich history with our contemporary lives. As we seek our next Music Director, we carry hope, curiosity, and an eagerness to build the next chapter of our church community.

The Music Program is in transition, as we embrace this interim period following the long tenure of our previous Music Director. We are seeking a leader with vision and experience to build a program that invites transformative, emotionally resonant experiences which help us embody our mission, deepen our spirituality, connect bravely, and engage our world from a place of love.

The Music Director is a part-time position which plans, coordinates, and leads music for our weekly worship service each Sunday. Our 10:30am service of 60-80 people gathers in our historic sanctuary with instrumental music and hymn singing. We regularly include music from our small choir or a soloist. We currently use both our pipe organ and piano, and we seek to incorporate a greater variety of instruments and vocalists, both from within our congregation and as guests.

Our community has long been grounded in “traditional” hymns and classical music. We deeply value these styles, and we are seeking to be more expansive in our repertoire to more fully meet the diverse needs of our congregation. We welcome the regular incorporation of jazz, blues, folk, rock and pop, chanting, and other musical traditions. Our current Interim Music Director is supporting us in expanding our variety to very positive feedback. We are ready to try new things!

People with disabilities, people of color, indigenous people, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply. FPC is committed to developing a diverse and talented staff team. If you are excited about this role, but are unsure whether you meet 100% of the requirements, we encourage you to inquire and/or apply.   

Accessibility Our church sanctuary is accessible by ramp and Hale Hall (basement) is accessible by elevator. Our staff offices and meeting rooms are located on these two levels. There are four steps to reach our chancel and pulpit and six steps to reach our choir loft, where the organ pipes are accessed. Our balcony is used primarily for storage and is up a full flight of stairs. We are in the process of updating our sound system to include better access for those in our community who are hard of hearing.

Job Summary

The Music Director fosters a positive, vibrant, high quality, theologically inclusive and spiritually diverse Unitarian Universalist (UU) Music Ministry within the FPC congregation. The Music Director, in partnership with the Minister, will create the foundations for a music program that is in alignment with the vision, values and mission of the congregation.

The Music Director/Accompanist performs dual roles within the church’s music program,

providing accompaniment on the piano and/or organ during Sunday services and also directing the overall music program throughout the church year.

This is a part-time position, 15 hours a week during the church year (42 weeks) with reduced hours, vacation, and study leave during the summer. The Music Director will be on site for weekly staff and worship planning meetings, choir rehearsals, and Sunday morning services.


The Music Director reports to and is supervised by the Minister.


All employees must complete a SORI/CORI and have no disqualifying offenses*

*What constitutes a disqualifying offense will be determined by FPC’s leadership on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, indecency and any conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from working at FPC.

Physical Requirements

Able to move freely about the church and play all keyboards of the organ and piano.

Able to read music and hear choir, soloist, etc.

Essential Functions

The Music Director has four major areas of responsibility: music program oversight, music administration, choir leadership, and music performance / accompaniment. Details follow:

Music Program Oversight

  • Collaborates with the Minister and Music & Worship Committee (M&W) to clarify a future direction of the music program that reflects the vision, values, and goals of the congregation;
  • Coordinate music for all Sunday morning worship services during the September-June church year (40-42 weeks) Christmas Eve, and up to four other worship services per year (such as memorials, ordinations, installations, and other special events);
  • Work closely with the FPC Minister, Director of Religious Education, and M&W to ensure musical cohesion with worship services;
  • Select, manage, supply, and perform music for themed worship, coordinating with the

minister and other worship leaders;

  • Supervise any other soloists or musicians as needed, schedule special musicians as needed (e. g. trumpet, vocalist, violin, etc);
  • Support adult, youth, and child congregants’ participation in providing music for services through scheduling, rehearsal, accompaniment, and guidance of volunteer singers and instrumentalists;
  • Foster and encourage congregational singing.

Choir Leadership

  • Direct the choir in regular rehearsals and in Sunday services; select and purchase music. Choir currently sings no more than two Sundays a month and rehearses on Thursday evenings;
  • Direct the choir and provide accompaniment to enhance worship services.

Music Performance/Accompaniment

  • Select, rehearse, and perform (typically piano and/or organ):
  • Music for year-round Sunday services, usually including prelude, offertory, postlude, and 3 hymns;
  • Music for Christmas Eve;
  • Music for up to four other worship services per year (such as memorials, ordinations, installations, and other special events);
  • Accompany congregational singing (typically 3 hymns);
  • Accompany adult choir in regular rehearsals and in Sunday worship services twice per month; accompany volunteer musicians and soloists as planned.

Music Administration

  • Oversee routine maintenance of pianos, organ, and other instruments in working order. Consult on any major restoration, with understanding that congregation is ultimately responsible for project management and fundraising of any major repairs or restoration. Report major maintenance needs to the Minister and Music Committee. Ensure maintenance records are kept;
  • Maintain and update Music Library, which consists of both choral and instrumental pieces;
  • Attend weekly staff meetings, weekly worship planning meeting, and monthly Music & Worship Committee meetings;
  • Communicate with the congregation about the music program, upcoming performances and music performance opportunities;
  • Communicate with the FPC Staff Team and volunteers about information for the weekly order of service and the e-newsletter;
  • Use email, Google Workspace, and other applications available to the church to communicate with FPC Staff Team, choir, and other volunteers;
  • Manage the music program budget, working in collaboration with the Minister and M&W;
  • Submit choir rehearsal schedule to Congregational Administrator;
  • Ensure the Church is in compliance with music-related copyright law;
  • Schedule vacation substitute musicians as necessary, in coordination with the Minister and M&W;
  • Ensure the availability of substitute accompanists as necessary

Other Responsibilities

  • Maintain membership in the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries;
  • Occasionally attend staff or leadership development workshops or events, such as multicultural competency training or regional workshops;
  • Weddings and funerals: provide advice to Minister; Music Director has right of first refusal to provide and organ/piano music, or recommend another musician;  

Core Competencies

Leadership in Covenantal Community

Finds Joy in Collaboration and Creativity: The Music Director is a core member of the worship team, collaborating with the Minister, Director of Religious Education, and lay leaders or guest ministers to establish the tone and flow of each service.

Musical Knowledge and Skills: The ability to read music, sing, and lead the congregation collectively is critical. The candidate should have an appreciation of a wide variety of styles of music and possess an attitude that encourages everyone of all ability levels to find their own joy in singing. The Music Director should be familiar with UU hymnody, or be willing to develop the knowledge base of UU hymns, as well as ongoing sources of music for worship identified by the ministry team or through AUUMM/other UU musicians.

Mission Ownership: Demonstrates understanding and full support of the mission, vision, values and beliefs of the congregation; can demonstrate those values to others; consistently behaves in a manner congruent with the mission, vision, values and beliefs.

Integrity and Trust: Practices direct, honest and transparent communication; avoids communication triangles; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; responds to situations with constancy and reliability.


Communication: Is able to deliver a message clearly, articulately and with appropriate emotion in a variety of settings, including in writing; demonstrates communication styles appropriate to the situation at hand.

Follow Through: Consistently attends to the many small pieces which must be assembled into an organized whole; follows up on missing or out of balance items; resolves unanswered questions needed to address a problem; keeps the larger picture in mind while tending to details.

Priority Setting: Spends their time and directs the time of others to what is important; quickly zones in on the critical issue, and ignores or minimizes distractions; can sense what will help or hinder accomplishing a goal; eliminates roadblocks; demonstrates focus.

Interpersonal Skills, Relationship, and Boundary Setting: The Music Director should establish strong working relationships of mutual trust and accountability with the ministry team and other staff, the lay worship leaders, and the choir. They are approachable, collaborative, and consider the impact of their words and actions. The right candidate is familiar with the complexities of working for a member-based organization and can balance strong professional boundaries with the need to work with organizational needs and expectations.

Personal Resilience: Can effectively cope with change and uncertainty; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; is able to function when things are up in the air; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty; is flexible.

Self-Development: Sets appropriate personal work objectives, measures own progress, identifies personal gaps in knowledge, understanding and skill; undertakes appropriate activities to develop needed skills; seeks regular feedback on performance; knows personal strengths and weaknesses, is sensitive to changing personal and organizational requirements and changes accordingly.

Program Leadership

Developing and motivating volunteers: Creates a climate in which people want to do their best; empowers others; invites shared input and decision making; makes each individual feel that their work is important; communicates expectations clearly; maintains open and active dialogue with volunteers; thinks strategically about the continual need for a next generation of leaders and works to build the volunteer base.

Music ministry in diverse community: Able to present music appropriate to a variety of worship styles and theological orientations. Practices cross-cultural engagement responsibly and respectfully; educates the congregation on avoiding cultural mis-appropriation in worship.


  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in music or demonstrate equivalent experience, reflecting your deep musical knowledge and expertise.
  • Showcase proficiency in choral direction
  • Showcase proficiency in playing piano. 
  • Preferred experience in playing organ.
  • Prior experience or comprehension of working within a congregational setting.

Pay and Benefits

  • Minimum salary $17,000. Salary is based on UUA fair compensation guidelines for a Specialist Level position, Geo Index 5, Size B.
  • Benefits include vacation time, study leave, parental leave, sick leave, and professional development support, including AUUMM membership. 
  • Music Director has the right of first refusal for additional services at First Parish. Option to set fees for services above and beyond those described above or planned with the Minister.

How to apply

Send resume, letter of interest, and, as desired, video or audio recordings as examples of your work: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with an anticipated start date of August 1, 2024.