LOOKING BACK – LOOKING AHEAD – THANKS
The imminent approach of retirement provides an opportunity to look back at the last 30 years of Music Ministry at UUCC, to express some hopes for its future, and some heartfelt Thanks.
In the context of a religious community, music has the power to draw us together, to deepen and give dimension to shared experiences, to remind us of the best within us, and to provide an outlet for our expressive creativity. Those are some of the assumptions that underlie our shared Music Ministry. It has been a great joy to be a part of this mutual ministry for 30 years with this beloved congregation (and 30 more with other UU congregations), and to see it grow in numbers, activities and breadth. Here are a few highlights:
– Starting from a core of 12 brave singers, the Chalice Choir has grown steadily in musicianship, variety of repertoire and numbers, to a high of 65 members three years ago. Their unwavering commitment to work hard at challenging music, with the best goodwill and good humor, and to sing at a consistently high level of musicianship and expressiveness, has been a great inspiration, as has their love of partying.
– The development of our other regular performing groups, the Chalice Messengers (including its vocalists), Singers, Chanteusies, Lights and HouseBand has added new dimensions of repertoire, style and excitement to our offerings, in services, concerts and outreach programs.
– The increasing involvement of other UUCC musicians, including our talented youth, has meant that many more of our members and friends have been active in our music making, performing in services and Coffee House concerts, and as guests with the Messengers.
– It has been exciting to see how the repertoire, with all groups and individual performers, has mirrored the increasing variety of music programming in UU churches nationally, going far beyond traditional choral and keyboard music, to embrace a tremendous breadth of service-appropriate music of many cultures and eras.
– To have worked with Michael Adcock most of these last 30 years has been one of the most enriching experience of not only my life, but the lives of the choirs and the congregation; it has been a great privilege to have seen and heard Michael’s steady growth in depth of musicianship and virtuosity; he is without peer among UU keyboardists, and one of the finest American pianists, in addition to being a great human being and cook.
While I will, by design, have no direct voice in the future evolution of UUCC’s Music Ministry, perhaps it’s not inappropriate to express some personal hopes and dreams for its future:
– I hope that our increasingly broadly-based musical repertoire will continue to expand to include not only superb choral and keyboard music of many styles, cultures and eras, but plenty of vernacular styles (pop songs, rock, Broadway, jazz of all kinds, and music by UU composers and singer-songwriters, certainly including our many talented UUCC composers). In fact, anything whose message is UU-values-friendly and adds expressive dimension to our services.
– I hope to see our musical organizations (Choir, Singers, Lights, Messengers) continue to thrive and grow in musicianship, repertoire and numbers, and also to see the addition of other performing groups, as well as musically-talented individuals, in services and concerts. Our motto will, I hope, remain not Either/Or but Yes/And…
– I hope we will continue to actively encourage, support and mentor all our creative people at UUCC- poets, writers, artists, dancers, theater-arts folks and composers- and to showcase their work in services and other events. We are so lucky in our creative members and friends!
To end on a personal note, I want to express profound gratitude for 30 years of support, encouragement, committed involvement, collegiality and appreciation, from you, the members, friends, choir and staff of UUCC. It has been a great joy and privilege to have been part of the UUCC community, and Carol and I feel so touched and moved by the outpouring of good wishes, brilliant and thoughtful talks, presentations, mild roasting, lovely performances, and very, very generous and thoughtful gifts to us, on May 12 and at the ChoirParty on May 30. What a sweet and over-the-top send-off! We remain a committed part of the UUCC community, and will always hold UUCC and its people in a special place in our hearts.