CCSM is blessed with many talented musicians on our staff and with volunteers bringing their voices and instruments to our Sunday services.

During our services and special concerts, our Sanctuary reverberates with the magnificent tones of our Casavant Frères pipe organ, considered by many to be one the best pipe organs in the state of California.


Music Ministry


THE MUSIC MINISTRY carries on the long tradition of excellence at CCSM. We work to musically enhance the worship services with offerings that include choral, handbell, vocal solo, and instrumental contributions. In addition, we oversee a diverse concert series featuring outstanding musicians from the Bay area including CCSM’s amazing organist.

The Music Ministry seeks to add the connection and deep meaning that music brings in its own incredible way. Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in the musical life of our congregation, whether in a musical group, as a soloist, and/or as a member of our Ministry.

Music Groups

Our Choirs

If you’re interested in performing in one of our choirs, please contact us.


The Chancel Choir is led by our Director of Music, Lynnelle Bilsey. The choir leads the congregation and enriches worship with a diverse offering of music. Our chancel choir offers special worship services and concerts, accompanied by a variety of instruments.

Carillon Handbell

Sundays are extra-special when our Carillon Handbell Choir performs under the direction of Lynnelle Bilsey.

Our Instrumentalists

If you play an instrument and would like to be part of our vibrant musical community, please let us know. We often have instrumentalists accompany our Chancel Choir and perform as soloists.

Our Music & Arts Circle

Our Music and Arts Circle meets monthly over a light lunch for music and art related programming and fellowship. Look for our next Music and Arts Circle gathering on our main calendar.

Organ Camp

Our church organist, Dr. Angela Kraft Cross, and our Joyful Noise Youth Director, Julie Berk, are committed to the musical education of young people. Organ Camp is an opportunity for young pianists to learn about the pipe organ.

Music Team

Lynnelle Bilsey
Lynnelle T. Bilsey, B.A., M.M, CVA & MT

Director of Music
Chancel Choir & Carillon Bell Choir Director

Lynnelle began her professional career as a musician performing with orchestras and performing ensembles all around the Bay Area and U.S. Lynnelle’s musical career has included performing with the San Francisco, San Jose, Boston Symphonies and with the Monterey Pops Orchestra. Lynnelle toured with a jazz trio around the U.S and has led both national and international art and music tours. She was a member of the conducting class at Tanglewood (the Berkshire Music Festival) studying with Seiji Ozawa, John Elliot Gardner, Maurice Abravanel and others, attended masterclasses at
the Curtis Institute with Max Rudolf, the Professional Conducting Program at Carnegie Hall with Pierre Boulez among others. Lynnelle served as a delegate to the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music and was a soloist at the 1st International Handbell
At CCSM, Lynnelle has been served the Director of the Carillon Ringers since 1993 as and became the Director of Music at the Congregational Church of San Mateo (CCSM), UCC in 2017. In addition, Lynnelle has led orchestras, choirs and small ensembles,
developed and given seminars on a variety of music topics and led masterclasses in conducting. She served as Founder/Artistic Director of the SpiritMusik Concert Series from 2001 – 2006 and as the Director of Music for Burlingame, UMC from 1999 – 2007.
Lynnelle received her B.M. in Music History with minors in Western Civilization and Art History at S.F.S.U. and her M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from the Lamont School of Music at D.U. studying under her master teachers Vince LaGuardia and Dr. William R.
Ward. She completed her studies in Music Therapy through the University of the Pacific/San Francisco Campus in 2022 and is currently in process of attaining her MTBC license. In addition, Lynnelle is the Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs for LifeMoves (formerly InnVision Shelter Network).


Angela Kraft Cross
Dr. Angela Kraft Cross

AAGO, Artist in Residence, Organist

Angela graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in 1980 with bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Organ performance. She then earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at Loma Linda University, where she subsequently completed her residency in ophthalmology. Since 1989, she has practiced ophthalmology at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City. In May 1993, she completed her Master of Music degree at Notre Dame de Namur University with Thomas LaRatta, with whom she continues to study.

She studies organ with Louis Robilliard and Marie-Louise Langlais in France and locally, in Berkeley, with Sandra Soderlund. In addition to her medical career, Angela has performed extensively across the United States and in Europe.

Angela’s new book of original organ music, Messianic Longings, has been published by Sacred Music Press (Lorenz)! This includes five Advent and Christmas pieces: Messianic Longings, Fantasie on Personent Hodie, Fantasy on an Old English Carol, Meditation on Silent Night and Mary Magnificat.

You can listen to her perform on her YouTube Channel.

Visit her website for more information and complete upcoming concert listings, at

Melanie Dresbach
Melanie Dresbach, MA

Liturgical Musician, Ministerio Latino

Melanie Dresbach has a classical background in voice, harpsichord, and piano performance. She completed her undergraduate work in education and in music performance and received her teaching credential at SJSU. In 1999 she received a Masters degree in Liturgical Ministry at Santa Clara University.

She began her career in church music ministry in Okinawa, Japan, accompanying choirs at the military bases at the age of twelve. She served the Catholic Dioceses of San Jose and San Francisco for over 45 years and still assists at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Redwood City.  She served as music director at All Saints Cristo Rey Iglesia Episcopal in Watsonville for four years before coming to CCSM in 2017 to work with the Latinx community.  

She also directed children’s musical theater and has taught music to infants and expectant parents. She taught in east San Jose for over 45 years and still helps out a few days a week there but is excited about substituting in South San Francisco starting in December. She finds working with children to be the most energizing activity of all.

Melanie lives in San Francisco and sharpens her mind by studying ballet with San Francisco Ballet. She also has a passion for languages and is always ready to broaden her means of communication by adding another dialect to her studies. She enjoys cooking for and spending time with her triplets and oldest son, Richie. Richie sings and accompanies on accordion and guitar as his gift to the Latinx CCSM community.

Julie Berk
Julie Miles Berk

Joyful Noise Youth Choir Director

Julie is a homegrown member of the CCSM staff, as she and her mother Cari Parker moved to San Mateo when she was twelve years old. They began attending the church at that time and she has been an active member ever since. Julie sang in the children’s and Chorister choirs in the 1970’s with Angela Kraft Cross, and it was there that she discovered her love for singing.

Julie received her B.M. in music performance on the oboe at Hayward State University (now Cal State East Bay), and her Orff Certification at Mills College in Oakland. She began her career as a professional oboist, playing casual “gigs” with a number of orchestras and chamber groups including the Palo Alto
Symphony, Redwood Symphony, West Bay Opera Company, and Redwood Consort Woodwind Quintet.
In the early 1980’s her mom founded The Music School at CCSM. It was teaching at The Music School that kicked off Julie’s teaching career. During her tenure at the Music School, Julie discovered the Orff Schulwerk approach of teaching young children music, at which point she got her Orff Certification at Mills College in Oakland. The Orff method incorporates singing, percussion instruments, movement, improvisation, drama, and poetry, while also building a child’s self-esteem. Julie has loved incorporating all of these elements while leading the Joyful Noise Choir music program at CCSM, where she has served as Music Director since 2002.

In addition to leading the Joyful Noise music program, Julie teaches oboe, piano, and voice privately, and teaches preschool and elementary school music at several schools in the Bay Area, including Woodland School in Portola Valley, the Living Wisdom School in Palo Alto, and St. Matthias Preschool in Redwood
City. She is also continuing her professional development, having attended multiple live and online workshops with Lynn Kleiner at the Music Rhapsody School in Redondo Beach, California.