A note from Steve...

Steve Zocchi, Music Director
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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,