Music Ministry

ellie armsby photo 

Ellie Armsby

Music Director ~ Ellie Armsby joined us as our new Music Director on July 1, 2017.  Ellie has been active as a choral conductor and clinician in the Philadelphia area for nearly twenty years. She is excited to be relocating to her native Massachusetts. In the past, she has served as Artistic Director for the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, Director of Music at First United Methodist Church of Germantown (PA) and Director of Choirs at Philadelphia's Central High School. Ellie has been praised for her success in working with singers at all levels and her ability to create interesting programs showcasing music from diverse repertoires.

She received her undergraduate training in voice at Indiana University and her master's degree in Choral Conducting and Music History from Temple University.

In addition to her conducting activities, Ellie is an active composer and the owner and president of Hildegard Publishing Company, a publisher of concert music by women composers.

Jim Duncan

Organist ~ Jim has been a church organist (and music director) for more than 50 years of his life.  He has been the principal organist at First Church for over ten years and was at the St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Marlborough for the ten years prior to joining us.  We are blessed by Jim's music on our glorious pipe organ in the sanctuary. Our Joyful Ringers are often graced by the musical talents of Jim's wife Linda who we always enjoy seeing at First Church.

Jim has retired from the defense electronics business where he was an electronic engineer and later, a business development executive. In addition to the love of music, Jim is an avid collector of trains.


Diane Burke

Handbell Director ~ According to Diane, First Church took a real leap of faith when it hired her to be the director of the Joyful Ringers in 2009! Although she come from a very musical background, she hadn’t discovered handbells until 1990 when she moved to this area and was looking for a singing choir.

Thanks to an ad in the paper and my mother’s encouragement she joined the Sudbury Bellringers that year, and it changed her whole world. She's been ringing ever since, in large groups and ensembles (and even a few solos), but she had never directed anyone…until she ran into Russ Goliger at an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, and he mentioned the need for leadership of the well-established Joyful Ringers. She started that January, and again, her life changed immeasurably for the better! Handbells are the ultimate team sport- it takes each ringer’s unique notes to weave together a piece of music- and they truly are one unit, always supporting each other and striving for excellence.  She is fond of saying that she couldn’t have landed in a better place to be a first-time director, and those around her teach her something new every time they're together.  "How lucky I am!".