One of the things I love about UU, is the music we sing. I love our hymns because they are melodic and generally easy to sing as well as the lyrics. Lyrics about our responsibility to each other, to our neighbors, to our communities, to our environment. Lyrics about love, about spirituality.
As Music Director, I have been attending the annual five-day UUMN (Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network) Conference held in July of each year. This past summer the conference was in Madison, Wisconsin at a UU Church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building was an experience all by itself.
During the conference we start each day with a service (singing lots of songs, some familiar some new) and then choose classes to take.
Two activities we all participate in are, one, daily rehearsals with our guest choral conductor for our final service to which the public is invited, and two, singing in the choral music reading sessions where we sight read choral music appropriate to UU.
A highlight of the sight reading sessions is singing the compositions of UU composers, many of whom attend the conferences. It is a delight to meet and talk with these talented people.
UUFE Choir has sung a number of songs by UU composers that I first heard at a UUMN conference. I discovered our current benediction, “Pass on the Light” at this past summer and chatted with its composer, Joyce Poley. Last year the choir sang, “We Are Sunshine in the Streets, by David Burrows, who marched in Phoenix, AZ in 2012 protesting unjust laws targeting immigrant. Clif Hardin wrote “Pass On the Light” and “Welcome, Welcome” both of which the choir has sung.
Our hymnals, Singing The Living Tradition (gray) and Singing the Journey (teal) contain many songs written by UU composers. If you look at the bottom of each page below the hymn, a UU composer will have the UU symbol (a circle with a lighted chalice inside it) by their name.
In the gray hymnal UU composers have contributed “Spirit of Life’ by Carolyn McDade, “Gather the Spirit” by Jim Scott, and “Come Sing a Song With Me” another by Carolyn McDade.
In the teal hymnal, “Standing on the Side of Love” was written by Jason Shelton, “We Give Thanks” by Wendy Luella Perkins, and “One More Step”, another Joyce Poley song.
At a recent service, Dave Moore (who also played guitar) and I sang the Joyce Poley song, “Keepers of the Earth.” And on February 5th, the choir will sing “We Will Walk Together” by Clif Hardin. I was introduced to both these songs at a UUMN Conference.
It is a pleasure to be part of church with such a fine history and active present in creating music to lift the spirt, music to carry us through.
Director of Music