Dear UUCC community,
After 30 years, the time has come for me to take a much needed break from work; it’s time to renew, reflect, rejuvenate, and reawaken. This may come as a surprise to some of you, given that I’ve only been full-time at UUCC for the last year-and-a-half. But as many of you long-timers know, I have happily given 30 committed years of work to UUCC… without substantial time off, except for some summer weeks. Also, you may not be aware, but I worked in church music (during school and most summers) before I came to UUCC. When I agreed to assume the role of full-time Director of Music Ministry at UUCC, I had a conversation with Paige (and later Paige and Sean) about my need have a sabbatical after the long interval I have been employed. There was unanimous agreement, and affirmative support from the Board for this request as well. I am truly grateful for an executive team and congregation that understands the need for time away, and wholeheartedly endorses the consideration of this option for all its staff when the time comes.
I plan to take my sabbatical between March 1 and July 31 of 2021. During this time, Tom Monroe and Valerie Hsu (and other designated substitutes) will graciously cover Sunday services in my absence. I will certainly miss playing for you all, but anticipate a renewed sense of energy and vigor when I return. I have informed the choir, and will make sure that they will still have a way to offer the occasional virtual anthems that you have come to love and appreciate these last 6 months or so.
You may wonder about my proposed sabbatical timing during a pandemic. I too was initially hesitant about it, but the more I considered it, the more sense it made. Since the choir is unable to rehearse in person, and our services remain on Zoom for the time-being, it seemed ideal to take my leave in spring/summer 2021. This will create the most minimal interruption, I believe. I hope that the majority of us (fingers crossed) will have benefited from a COVID vaccine by summer, and that we can return to the sanctuary for services beginning fall 2021. At that time I will be back and ready to hit the ground running.
Creating music for Sunday Zoom services during this pandemic has been challenging to say the least, but I have been pleased and proud at what we’ve been able to offer, and relieved that musical offerings we share through a somewhat impersonal virtual interface can still sometimes move and inspire. And, as always, I am grateful both for our wonderful Stay-at-Home Choir’s ability to embrace the technology required to create virtual anthems for you, as well as the occasional musical contributions of our enormously talented congregational members. My continued thanks goes to Ross Martin and Alan & Laurie Coltri for their incredibly generous spirits and technical expertise in making the Chalice Choir’s virtual videos a reality. We are so lucky.
At this point, I am still contemplating specific plans for my time away, but the main objective will be to REST, body AND mind. I will also likely stop teaching during this period, as I am eager for a break from that type of weekly commitment as well. While any extravagant or international travel plans may be curtailed by the realities of COVID, I’m pretty sure that I’ll figure out a few opportunities to change my local scenery, and refuel at some place either warm or beautiful—perhaps both!
I appreciate your well-wishes while I am away, and will be eager to (hopefully) greet you all in-person come August 2021.