March Music Notes

When I tell people about First Parish (and I brag about this amazing congregation often), they are usually impressed by the diversity of ideas, beliefs, and musical tastes which we celebrate each week. Of course, my thoughts are almost always on music. One week, a Mozart Gloria; another week, an American spiritual; the next week, a contemporary-style choral anthem. Often within one service, we are able to use several different genres of music. As I wax poetic to whomever will listen, I hear myself declaring that this musical freedom works because it's all tied together by two overarching principles: respect and love for all good, life-affirming things; and an openness to (and willingness to participate in) musics of all kinds.

This is true of the congregation, the choirs, and the staff. And, there is a sense of "serious-play", or "funwork" if you will. We take the music very seriously, but not ourselves. It's that lack of hubris which, in my opinion, allows us to reach a state of musical flow more often than not. That is what I saw, for instance, when the Youth choirs joined with the Senior Choir on February 12th to sing "Building Bridges". That song is not a classical masterpiece, and yet it served as a powerful tool of unity and joy. A simple song, the Senior Choir approached it with the same enthusiasm and humility with which they practice all the music. They trusted it's purpose implicitly, and it was therefore very effective. This is what impresses and moves me... not music for music's sake (although I cherish that as well), but music with a purpose. Or, maybe a better way to say it... People with a purpose, making excellent music together, and enjoying it. I hear it in the congregational singing, and I thank you all for being part of this. I am very proud of the youth choirs for their sense of purpose also. They do a great job, and I'm always inspired by their work. March is going to be a busy and wonderful month. The Meetinghouse Ringers are going to be playing on March 5th, so don't miss it. The 19th will be extra special, and I plan on having Junior, Intermediate and Senior Choirs all singing. Also, I am looking forward to the pleasure of providing music for the evening service on March 12th, working with Ellen and Justine. (We need to figure out a way to keep Justine here forever, by the way.) Carol Choir will begin rehearsing again on March 5th. All choirs are starting to ramp up for a beautiful Easter celebration. Spring is almost here.

On Saturday March 25th 7:00pm, we will have the second concert of our 2017 concert series. Brahms' Piano Trio in C (cello, violin and piano), a Bach Sonata for oboe, violin and cello, Chopin solo piano work, Jazz saxophone and piano duet, and more. Performances by Janice Tervo, Henry Tervo, Mark Tervo, Steve Zocchi, David Siegel, Bryce Denney and others. Admission is $15, children 12 and under are $8. Bring your friends! The concert will be a fundraiser for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Here is a blurb from their website. "UUSC advances human rights through grassroots collaboration. In more than a dozen countries throughout the world, UUSC fosters social justice and works toward a world free from oppression. UUSCâs innovative approaches and measurable impact in promoting economic justice, bolstering environmental justice, and protecting rights at risk are grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights"

Some mornings I wake to the sounds of my twin sons (now almost three years old) singing in their room. Usually they are making up songs about all the things they love. It's almost a sort of meditation. "I love Mommy and Papa, I love Luca (their new little brother), I love Bear (teddy bear), I love bananas, etc." It's a litany of love. It is the most pure, most beautiful music I have ever heard. It is music with the perfect purpose...to express love and joy.

Peace
Steve

February Music Notes

First, on a personal note... It is great to be back with my First Parish family. I thoroughly appreciated the weeks of paternity leave, but I am grateful to return to music making. Thank you all for the well-wishes and kindness. Thank you to those who helped out during my absence. My family is doing well and my twins are adjusting to having a new baby brother. Life is good - and very loud.
Looking ahead into February, we have some special music planned. In the February 12th Intergen service, I plan on having Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Choirs working together. It will be a fun service. Also on the 12th, Ellen, Justine, and I will be working together for the evening service. There will be much singing. Save the date March 25th. We will having the second concert of our First Parish Concert Series season 2. The Tervos and friends will be performing. I will be there as well. More info on this later. As always, feel free to contact me anytime. I enjoy hearing from all of you.
Peace
Steve February 2016

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133