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Music & Fine Arts

In its belief that music and art are integral parts of worship, Second Presbyterian maintains a long-standing tradition of artistic excellence. Under the leadership of Dr. Michelle L. Louer, the music and fine arts programs of Second Church are vibrant and active, with ministries for all ages, from four-year-olds through adults.

Making Music at Second

Making Music at Second

The choirs and ensembles of Second Church are both instruments of worship, service and small group ministries that address the needs and interests of members and their families. While upholding the tradition of Reformed worship, musical integrity and excellence of Second Church, music enhances the worship experience of the congregation and the outreach of the church by conveying through multiple art forms the joy and power of the transformational life and message of Jesus Christ.

Adult Choral Ensembles

Instrumental Ensembles

Children's Music

For more information, contact the Music & Fine Arts Office.

Fine Arts at Second

Fine Arts at Second

Fine arts programs at Second are coordinated by the Fine Arts Advisory Team, comprised of artists and church members. The Team is responsible for the development and display of the church's permanent art collection and rotating exhibitions in the McFarland Hall Art Gallery. Increasingly, the Team is exploring ways to highlight the dramatic and literary arts, as well as the visual arts.

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Musical Legacy and Tradition

Musical Legacy and Tradition

The church was founded in 1838 by Henry Ward Beecher, the foremost American preacher of the 19th century. At its founding, Rev. Beecher beseeched his musician brother Charles to organize a choir to provide music for Sunday worship and civic occasions. From its inception, then, Second Church has forged a strong link between excellence in preaching and excellence in music and the choir has grown in reputation as a regional musical organization.

Glorifying God through a variety of worship opportunities that express gratitude, demonstrate commitment to the Reformed faith and engage the gifts and talents of the people of God, the Second Church music traditions have been shaped by many leaders over its 175+ year history.

The Beecher Singers, an auditioned vocal chamber ensemble, is named in honor of the church’s first music director and organist, Charles Beecher.

The Edson Youth Choir for students in grades 6-12 is named in honor of Dr. Hanford A. Edson who served as the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church from 1864-1873. His legacy included an emphasis on improved education and was a major figure in the creation of the first Indianapolis Public Library. Under his leadership and direction, the church implemented what was possibly the first use of hymnbooks at Second. Assisted by the gifts of Sunday School Superintendent Ms. Eleanor Kirby, Edson also established an innovative graded teaching curriculum that served as a model in the Indianapolis community.

Notably, Second Church music program blossomed into one of the finest in the State under the leadership of Organist/Choirmaster Robert J. Shepfer between 1964-1997, in partnership with lay leader Margaret Herder. A graded children’s choir school formed to develop God-given talents of children and teach music fundamentals, ensemble technique and tradition through learning of scripture, sacrament, doctrine and history. The Sanctuary Choir toured through Scotland and England for concerts at St. Giles in Edinburgh, Scotland, St. Martin’s in the Field in London, and other venues. Shepfer’s legacy of exceptional music continues with his successors as Director of Music and Fine Arts: Mark Riddles (1998-2005) and Dr. Michelle L. Louer (2007-present).