Music Notes, May 2018

A note from Steve...

Steve Zocchi, Music Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have worked as music director at several Churches through the years, and I am consistently impressed by the differences between the First Parish community and my other Church experiences. Lately, as I observe just how much people care about each other here, I find myself wondering how such a beautiful and tightly-knit community comes into being. I have a theory. I think folks can have real relationships and close friendships at First Parish because people can be honest about their beliefs and who they are. In other Churches (though I respect everyone’s beliefs and would never disparage any religion) I think there is a homogenization of ideologies as individuals are discouraged from expressing any doubt or questions about the dogma of their religion. In other words, in many religious communities, perhaps people hide the subtle variations of their spiritual views (and they don’t dare question the authorities in their Church hierarchy) so they end up hiding who they really are; what they really believe. Maybe they feel compelled to conform to an institution larger than themselves. Though this may have value for many people, it seems it would create a schism between ones “Church Self” and ones real self. But that is not the case at First Parish. We attempt to avoid dogma, and everyone is just their real self. We accept all life-affirming ideologies. We accept and adore the tremendous diversity in the human race. I think that this is what facilitates the true connections that we feel at First Parish. After all, honesty and acceptance are necessary ingredients in any relationship.

And musical diversity is so important at First Parish too. I love the fact that we can have classical music juxtaposed with jazz and other genres. In fact, this diversity is a reflection of the congregation itself. The classical music fans totally respect the needs of those who prefer other forms of music, and vice versa. We can have it all here. And what is most liberating is that we are not tied to some ancient and inflexible service format or Mass. Every Sunday we can invent the experience anew if we want. Essentially, we avoid musical dogma. And that is what keeps our musical/spiritual lives honest, real, dynamic, and relevant. I thank you all for this musical community which I cherish so much.

May 6th is Music Appreciation Sunday. All choirs will perform. We will take some time to appreciate all the music makers at First Parish, including you. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Your Music Director,
Steve

Music Notes, April 2018

A note from Steve...

Steve Zocchi, Music Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The days feel long, but the years fly by. I cannot believe we are into April already. My twins are turning four this month. I barely remember a thing about the last few years, but some things are forever etched upon my consciousness. For instance I remember, even from the first service I played here, how palpable the sense of family and community is at First Parish. How everyone loves and respects each other for real, not just for show. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone utter even a slightly negative word about someone else without qualifying it with a phrase like “but I love them”, or “but they have a right to their opinion” etc.
This is a Church full of role models; People who are quite deliberate in their goodness and kindness and willingness to help each other. I find it inspiring. And your treatment of each other is beautiful to behold. You seem to be brothers and sisters with all the unconditional love which that brings. You embrace joy and pain together; you look it in the eye and seem to feel it in full intensity. I want you all to know how proud I am to be part of this community and how positive of an influence you are on my life. I have become a better parent by observing all the wonderful parents in this Church. I have become a better musician by working with so many talented people who are willing to challenge me and give honest feedback. And I have become much more optimistic about the future just by being part of a community which believes that humanity is essentially good, and that we can all just be ourselves. I mention these things because I don’t want to take anything or anyone for granted anymore. The fragility of life necessitates a timely acknowledgment of connections and feelings.

Non sequitur alert… I am looking forward to May 6th, Music Appreciation Sunday, though I feel like we appreciate music everyday. I have a lot of special music planned and it will be a lot of fun. I want to thank all the choirs for all their hard work all year long. And I want to thank all of you for your consistent encouragement and support.

Your Music Director,
Steve

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133