Sanctuary Orchestra

The Sanctuary Orchestra is a vibrant part of our church’s worship experiences and major musical productions. This talented group is led by conductor Joe A. Fitzpatrick and open to qualified adults, college students, and advanced high school students who feel called to use their instrumental talents for the glory of God.

Rehearsals are 6 p.m. Wednesdays in the Sanctuary.

Handbell Choirs

The Handbell Ministry seeks to exalt the Lord through the brilliant, exhilarating sounds of bell ringing. Outreach opportunities exist with our congregation in worship, hospitals, museums, nursing and retirement centers, shopping malls, and mission enterprises.

There are handbell choirs for adults, youth, children, and senior adults who can read music.

Sanctuary Ringers

The Sanctuary Ringers are a mid- to advanced-level handbell ensemble. Led by Philip Owens, this ensemble stretches even an experienced musician’s skill and technique. This talented group of ringers play regularly in our Sanctuary Service, for special musical events, and in the community.

Rehearsals are at 12:45 p.m. Sundays in the Handbell Room.

Chapel Ringers

The Chapel Ringers ensemble is for students in grades 7-12 with varying degrees of musical ability. Led by Philip Owens, this ensemble offers youth a fun and innovative opportunity to learn and grow as an ensemble musician along with their peers. Music selections vary from modern praise songs to hymn classics and an occasional pop hit!

Rehearsals are at 1:45 p.m. Sundays in the Handbell Room.

First Ringers

The First Ringers ensemble is for boys and girls in grades 4-6. Led by Catherine Williams, the ringers meet for one hour each Sunday afternoon to prepare music that is shared in Bible Study departments on Sunday mornings and in corporate worship experiences.

Rehearsals are at 1:30 p.m. Sundays in Room 440.


Handbell Choir Director: Philip Owens

Philip H. Owens holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. He serves as director of the Sanctuary Ringers and Chapel Ringers handbell ensembles at Nashville First Baptist Church. Philip is also a composer and arranger with works published by LifeWay Worship and Celebrating Grace, Inc., among others. He and his wife, Susan, live in Brentwood with their two daughters.

Sanctuary Pipe Organ

The sanctuary pipe organ is a 59-rank instrument built by the Schantz Organ Company in Orrville, Ohio. (A rank is a set of pipes that make the same sound. There are 61 notes in most ranks.)

The organ was designed specifically for the Nashville First’s sanctuary and was installed when the sanctuary was built in the late 1960s. This instrument consists of 3,236 pipes. The largest is 32 feet long and the shortest is 3/8 inch.

The organ was refurbished in 2005 by Milnar Organ Company in Eagleville, Tenn. Air-powered pneumatics were changed to solid state, the memory system was expanded, MIDI capability was added to the console, and the leather was replaced on all 18 bellows, stabilizing the air pressure and air flow to the pipes.

The organ is used every Sunday to lead in worship and is featured during special concerts and events.