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.
Steve February 2016

November was a wonderful (and busy) month in so many ways at First Parish. I want to thank everyone who attended and helped out at my concert on November 5th. The next concert will be on March 25th. I owe a special thanks to John Schneider for speaking before the concert and giving me a nice introduction. And of course I should thank my beloved Music Committee members who make the concert series (and so much else) possible. I had a blast playing that night. The piano survived. The evening service on the 6th was also really fun. We sang about ten hymns and let off a bunch of pre-election steam. We will do another service like this again, this time to let off a bunch of post-election angst. We will have an upbeat hymnfest to heal our souls. The illustrious Meetinghouse Ringers rang at Temple Emanuel on the 4th for their New Members Service. It was a good time and the music was much appreciated.

One of the things I love about First Parish is that every Sunday is different. We are open to so many styles of worship and music. I have never been bored at Church here. For instance, the Thanksgiving Ingathering service on the 20th made it to my top 5 most fun days at Church. Every musical ensemble participated. All the kids did a great job. I am so proud of the Carol Choir, Junior Choir, and Intermediate Choirs. Their performances came together beautifully. Bells did a great job as usual. And, as always, Senior Choir was excellent.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how wonderful it was to work with Erika Taylor again on the 27th. She is amazing, as you all know. We did two arias from Handel's Messiah. I feel truly fortunate to have so many talented, generous people willing to give their time and effort to enrich the musical life of this community. We are all lucky to be together in this time and space. It feels like it was meant to be.

On a personal note, I appreciate all the moral and logistical support I am receiving as my wife and I prepare to welcome another son into the world. Thank you to Eliot Mayer and Jeffrey Taylor for helping with the upcoming Christmas Eve pageant music. And I am always grateful for my colleagues, the amazing worship team. Ellen, Dolores and Justine help make this job so meaningful and so much fun. But we would be lost without Cindy Gist and Leila, and of course all of you. I guess I'm feeling particularly sentimental right now. When I look out at this thriving Church during morning services I see people I love. I have only known most of you for less than three years, but you feel like family to me. Our shared love, hope and respect for humanity is a light in my life and I know a light in the world. When I'm at First Parish, I feel like the whole world is going to be ok.

I plan on taking the first three weeks of January off for paternity leave and I will miss you all. But then I'll be back and we will make music together again. In the meantime, Christmas Eve is coming! I can't wait.

Your extremely happy music director,