The music program at First Presbyterian Church of Murray has a long tradition of excellence in bringing quality music to each worship service. The music at FPC is always performed live by our Chancel Choir or music staff and often features guest musicians from the Department of Music at Murray State University. Music is a large part of every service, from the choral introit to hymns robustly sung by the congregation to an instrumental postlude. Church attendees can expect to be treated to music that offers them moments of reflection as well as soul-stirring, toe-tapping inspiration.
The Chancel Choir is at the heart of the music ministry at FPC. The choir is made up of 20-25 church members and friends who dedicate themselves to attending weekly Wednesday evening rehearsals and Sunday services. The choir’s repertoire ranges from traditional hymn-tune arrangements to spirituals and gospel-style anthems. Members of the choir enjoy singing together and rehearsals are not only filled with music making but often laughter and fellowship. In addition to weekly choral anthems, the choir traditionally presents a larger-scale cantata with guest musicians for Advent/Christmas or Lenten/Easter seasons.
The Chancel Choir is led by mezzo-soprano Kate Tombaugh, who is originally from Streator, Illinois. She holds dual undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Vocal Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a masters degree in Voice, Opera Performance from CCM, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Kate has a rich background in choral singing. She grew up singing in her home church’s junior and senior choirs at Park Presbyterian Church under the direction of her mother; in later years, she served as their Cherub Choir Director. She was the Youth Choir Director at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, IL for one year where she also served as a three-year choral intern while studying at IWU. During all four years of college, Kate sang and toured with the Collegiate Choir, including an overseas trip to Russia and the three Baltic States. While studying in Cincinnati, Kate was a three-year choral intern at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Kate runs a private voice studio in Murray and is the Executive Director of a new arts organization, Poco a Poco, which hosts a week-long Summer Music Festival and training program in Illinois every June. An avid performer, Kate has sung as a young artist with the Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, in addition to portraying leading roles with Indianapolis Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, and the Cincinnati Chamber Opera. She has also soloed with the Paducah Symphony, Utah Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and the Lexington Philharmonic, among others.
Christina D’Ambrosio, our pianist/organist, holds degrees in piano performance from Miami University (Ohio) and Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She is an adjunct professor at Murray State University where she teaches keyboarding and frequently performs with other music faculty members. She is also a certified Suzuki piano teacher and has a private studio of young musicians in Murray.