Concert by Carolina Chamber Music Festival to be presented at First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
Photo by: Zach Frailey, The Uprooted Photographer

Continuing its Bicentennial Celebration, First Presbyterian Church of New Bern is proud to present the Carolina Chamber Music Festival’s concert titled Sounds of Change on Saturday, September 16, 2017 in the historic sanctuary located at 400 New Street. The event begins at 6:30 pm with a pre-concert discussion with Composer-in-Residence Reza Vali.  Music starts at 7:00 pm and concludes at 9:00 pm. Dessert and coffee reception to follow. Celebrate 15 years of CCMF and 200 years of New Bern’s local landmark First Presbyterian Church, with breathtaking music by Bach, Shostakovich, Reza Vail and concluding with Ravel’s transcendent String Quartet in F Minor.

This is a ticketed event. $30 General Admission available on-line at or by calling 252-626-5419.

The Carolina Chamber Music Festival is sponsored in part by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Public Radio East; and The Harold H. Bate Foundation.

The First Presbyterian Church of New Bern, NC, is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding with a year-long commemoration of the church’s past, present and future.

“First Pres” as it is lovingly referred to by members and non-members alike had its formal organization in the parlor of Mrs. Elizabeth Minor on Craven Street near Pollock Street under the leadership of Rev. John Witherspoon with 13 original members. Rev. Witherspoon, a New Bern native, in addition to organizing First Presbyterian Church, New Bern, organized or helped to organize First Presbyterian Churches in Raleigh, Greensboro and Bethlehem, NC.  Five years later, the New Bern church building, located at 400 New Street, was dedicated.  A contemporary newspaper account stated that the structure was “. . . capable, by computation, of accommodating 800 persons.”  Undertaking such an ambitious construction project by the founding members reflected a tremendous vision of faith and service to their community. The sanctuary they established is recognized today as the oldest, continually operated church building in New Bern.

The bicentennial year has featured a variety of celebratory events, interactive lectures, concerts and engaging worship services to tell the inspirational history of First Presbyterian Church, New Bern, and its outreach to the local community and to the world beyond. The celebration will culminate New Year’s Eve, Sunday, December 31, 2017 with a church-wide rededication to the vision of the founding members as the congregation moves forward to the next 200 years.

Rev. Dr. William L. Hawkins is the Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church.

Submitted by: Nancy Newman, First Presbyterian Church