Music & Arts Ministry


In our music programs and art exhibits, we celebrate the goodness and wonder of God’s creation. Through music and the arts we are inspired to reach beyond ourselves, and we become a community of the spirit.

Music in Worship

Music is an essential part of our worship life.  Vocal and handbell choirs participate in many of our services.

Although we are firmly rooted in classical church traditions, Rachael Kresha, our Director of Music, and Bret Amundson, our Director of Choral Music, provide variety in musical styles and opportunities. No auditions are necessary for any of our groups–Rachael and Bret are eager and willing to help singers and ringers figure out how they can participate in our music program. Contact Rachael Kresha or Bret Amundson for more details about any of our music programs.

Adult Choir: 9:00-9:45 am, and Wednesday Evenings 7:15-8:30 pm.

Why is joining choir such an intimidating thing? One could fill pages with the social, emotional, physiological, and brain benefits of singing in a choir, but somewhere along the way a person’s ability to make music has been compromised by the belief that it isn’t “good enough.” The time commitment can also seem intimidating, too! If there is a part of you that has always wanted to sing in a choir, or misses singing, or wants to try it out, you are most welcome! In the church music world, you, your life experiences, and your personality are what bless the people around you, not the ability to hit all the right notes the first or the tenth time. Part-time singers, occasional singers…all are welcome. We want you!

The Pilgrim Choir sings most Sundays from mid-September through mid-May.   They are under the direction of Dr. Bret Amundson.  No auditions are necessary.

Bellissimo: Wednesdays: 6:00-7:00 pm.  Bellissimo is our advanced handbell group. We have had youth and adults ring together and teach people how to ring bells in this group, too. We have limited space available for new members in this group, but we always find room, even if it means purchasing more bells!  Bellissimo is under the direction of Rachael Kresha, Director of Music.

In general, Sunday mornings will look like this for music options.  For details about major musical events, see the Fall 2016 Newsletter.

8:30-9:15 am: Youth Handbells/Percussion Ensemble (selected Sundays) 5th grade to adult.
This ensemble requires dedication to coming to every rehearsal possible and participants cannot miss a scheduled performance because each person plays their own individual part. This ensemble requires participants to have a basic understanding of music notation, but participants do not have to be completely fluent in note reading. We will be working on handbell and African/Latino percussion music. We will be using the handbells, and Djembes, Shekeres, Güiros, etc. There are only 11 slots available. I would like the youth who would like to have this opportunity to fill the slots first and then I will open up any additional slots to adults. Once the roster is formed, we will make a schedule that works around major conflicts. Early morning rehearsals will have muffins!  (Occasional weeknight rehearsal – Wednesdays: 5:00-6:00pm or Fridays late afternoon/early evening depending on what works best for participants.)

9:00- 9:30 am: Youth Orchestra (selected Sundays) 4th grade and older 9:30-9:55 am.  This is an ensemble to encourage youth and children who are already studying an instrument at school or privately with a teacher. If a youth does not play an instrument but would like to join, I can start them playing on recorder. We will play a couple times as a semester as a large group. More advanced players will be invited to play in smaller breakout ensembles to provide special music, or special instrumentation with another ensemble at Pilgrim. Adult instrumentalists are also welcome! Youth who are younger than 4th grade who are studying an instrument are welcome to join the orchestra too! I will just need to touch base with the parent to see what level the student is at and rewrite parts to fit where they are in their studies!

9:30-9:55 am: Youth Choir (every Sunday) 3rd grade and older.  This is going to be a big year for singing in church and so we are rehearsing as much as possible. In addition to learning some of the classical choral repertoire, the youth choir is going to help enliven worship by representing and lifting up social justice issues by singing music from different cultural traditions that have lived in the shadows of injustice. The choir will be singing in parts, and will be using percussion instruments for some of the pieces this year.



Joyful Noise Music Time 11:05-11:30 am.
Joyful Noise is an integrated music program for children ages 4 through 2nd grade. This class meets weekly on Sunday mornings from 11:05-11:30 am, and is open to children regardless of church affiliation.  The class is designed to foster a love for music and excitement about making music.

This music opportunity will begin with snack time and will be held downstairs in Fellowship Hall following worship. This will allow us to be able to move and groove and use the parachute safely. We will be singing, drumming and learning children’s handbells and recorders during this time. We will also be learning music theory with games. It will be a fast-paced time with lots of movement! We also will be learning some songs for the Christmas Pageant too, but our main focus will be on building musical skills and making a joyful noise! Ages are 4 years through 2nd grade. Third graders are welcome, too if they prefer this music time over youth choir. Older aged kids are welcome to help lead the activities.

Joyful Noise has been created and is led by Rachael Kresha, Pilgrim’s Director of Music.  No registration is required.



Jaeckel Pipe Organ

Pilgrim’s world-class pipe organ, designed and constructed by Duluthian Dan Jaeckel, has been played in concert by many accomplished musicians and has been featured in several noted organ recital recordings. Learn more about our Jaeckel Organ.

Tiffany Windows

The historic Pilgrim sanctuary houses five late-Victorian and early 20th century windows designed by Tiffany Studios in New York. Learn more about our Tiffany Windows.


Pilgrim hosts concerts throughout the year including Matinee Musicale, private recitals, and events related to the University of Minnesota Duluth music programs.

Arts Events

Pilgrim maintains an art gallery in Salter Hall on the first floor, which is open to the public during office hours, as well as on Sunday mornings.  Art displays have included works by Pilgrim artists, both adults and children.  Occasionally, there are travelling exhibits  such as “A Shower of Stoles” representing GLBT clergy stoles from around the country, and a Civil Rights photography exhibit by Duluthian Sue Sojourner.


Kindermusik classes are held in Pilgrim’s building.  For more information, please visit, or call 218-590-2567 or 218-726-7011 (UMD Fine Arts).

University of Minnesota Fine Arts Academy

The University of Minnesota Duluth Fine Arts Academy rents space at Pilgrim for private music lessons for youth and adults, and Kindermusik classes for children. For more information, visit

Lake Superior Youth Chorus

Lake Superior Youth Choirs rehearse on Sunday evenings at Pilgrim.  Three different choirs introduce children and youth to the joy of choral music.  LSYC is under the direction of Dr. Bret Amundson.  For more information, go to