Music Notes

MusicOctoberFinally Fall! I find this time of year rejuvenating. No more unbreathable humidity; no more sweating standing still; and even the insects are beginning to retreat to their bunkers. I love the bursting foliage and the clear-eyed skies. I love the change in demeanor I see as folks regroup and begin to take things perhaps a little more seriously. Life becomes real again. We instinctively wake up our senses a little, suddenly aware that winter is looking in our direction. It’s time to get to work.

And there is so much glorious, wonderful work to do. Our sharing of work and time is sort of a communion of action; a ritual of doing. And I am constantly inspired by the spirit of volunteer work at First Parish. These last few months, I have had the privilege of observing many of you in various committees and I have learned so much. The dedication and resolve of purpose is beautiful. It informs my First Parish work. It is a pleasure to put together worship services with Rev. Ellen, Dolores, and lay-leaders. I love working with all the Choirs and Committees and Teams. We have a good thing going here, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. I feel like we are all lucky to be part of it. And, just knowing that my musical efforts are heard each week animates my professional life like nothing else could. It is truly life-affirming, joyous work. I thank you for this.

We will make this a great year. The choirs are already starting to collaborate and we’ve heard form Senior Choir this year. Many Choir singers have recorded their voices as part of a process of creating a virtual choir. It is a lot of work for everybody involved. We’ve had good results, and a lot of fun. We will hear so much music from so many sources this year. We can take advantage of technology and collaborate in new ways which we would never have had to. And I love the idea of combining YOUR voice with the Choir. My dream is to have almost the entire congregation singing together, all while safe at home…

Your Music Director, Steve

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As the Church year winds down I am struck by the many differences we are experiencing, and not all bad. For instance it seems that attendance has been better than usual for this time of year. Even the after-church Youth Choir rehearsals have had more participants than in previous years at this time of beautiful weather. Enthusiasm seems high and I am inspired by everyone’s resilience, flexibility, and good attitudes.

It makes sense. We are First Parish after all. I’ve been cherishing our community more than ever, and my Church work has kept me energized and engaged. Quite frankly, I don’t know where I’d be without First Parish. Of course, there is a steep learning curve in order to adapt to our current world. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to learn new skills and grow as a professional, all while keeping my heart and soul in music. So lucky.

The next step, in terms of our wonderful music program, will be to adapt to new ways of collaborating musically. Mixing together voices is easy, and I’m learning more ways to do so, but it’s nothing without you. Moving forward, I will provide more ways for us to engage in virtual congregational singing. I miss rehearsing in-person with all the choirs, but I also miss the sound of the congregation when a hymn is hitting just right and we are all joyously singing together. Obviously we will inevitably get back to that, but in the meantime we can continue find creative and fun ways to play together. I’ve noticed that some people are a little shy about recording themselves singing, which I totally understand. It’s not an easy task. For some, there are technological issues... but we can find ways to help with that. For some, the sound of one’s own voice is never satisfactory to one’s self...we can find ways around that. For some, adding more technology to life seems like a bad idea...maybe we can pace ourselves. Maybe it’s just more work... well, let’s make it fun-work.

My point is that we should be optimistic that the next several months, with hard work, will bring positive change and innovation, and that our music program will continue to expand and thrive. My love of First Parish has only grown during this pandemic. And, the importance of our work together has never been more clear.

I miss you all.

Your Music Director, Steve

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