Music and Choir

music notes

Catherine Massey
Catherine Massey

Music Notes

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey

There are so many things I am missing now.  I assume that’s true for you, too.  Until we can gather together again in person, I am glad we can offer virtual worship services on Sundays.  To supplement those, I have added a weekly Singing Meditation service on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.  And choir and other small group ministries are gathering virtually on a regular basis.

Before I forget it, I would like to share a great resource for anyone who would like a refresher on or intro to music theory.  The Ivy League universities offer free online courses (who knew?).  I have taken one from Harvard on The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky.  It’s part of a series called “First Nights,” taught by Thomas Kelly, about the debut performances of five significant musical works.  Each module is supplemented by a music theory tutorial, which alone may be worth your time.  Just Google “free Harvard online courses” and look for “First Nights.”

What I am most missing right now is our annual auction.  What a fun event, and an amazing production of volunteers, this year led by Kathy Willoughby.  Years ago when Judy Licht, Julie Woody, and I were in the Phoenix area to sing Jason Shelton’s “Sources” cantata, we got to attend the host congregation’s auction.  What I loved the most was that they started off the live auction by offering a $20 bill for bidding.  After energetic participation, that $20 bill sold for $200.  The point was, “We are not here to find bargains.  We are here to support our church.”

In that spirit, I will share with you my personal virtual auction strategy, and my total bill.  Before the auction: Drink sponsor for $25; beautiful fascinator hat like Kathy Willoughby’s, ordered for $10 to wear before/during the event; $5 entry ticket; $20 basket raffle tickets.  Silent bidding (competition is fierce):  Holiday cocktail party at the Browns’; soup kitchen at the Bagbys’; something exotic at the Pearsons’; games at Sara’s and Rabbitt’s; lunch and movie at the Steeles’; Movies Under the Stars with Browns and Pearsons.  Many others that tempt me.  The bidding goes super high on some and I have to pick and choose, maybe let one go, but not until the last possible minute.  Oh, and a Target gift card.  Silent bidding comes to $240, my budget. Live auction—usually too steep for me, but I love to be there and see how high the parking spots and sermons go.  I might bid on Jeanne Gilbert’s veggie soup and cornbread and score that one, amazingly, for $50!  Then there’s the entertainment—superb music, and Eric Brekke does something fantastic (Michael Jackson moves, Elvis?  Maybe something from Hamilton this year?).  I have brought $100 in cash to throw in for all of that (at least four $20s for whatever Eric does).  My grand total for this year’s virtual auction:  $450.  I have planned for this all year, and the joy all the fellowship brings is worth every cent.  I will go onto InFellowship right now to pay for it.  And thanks to Kathy and all the volunteers!

From Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries colleagues:

Keith Arnold and David Burrows are leading an Evensong service each Wednesday at 7PM here:

On Facebook, Sarah Dan Jones (composer of “Meditation on Breathing”) is leading morning singing meditations M-F. Music and/or Meditation:

New York’s Metropolitan Opera is streaming operas every night for free at

Monterey Bay Aquarium has live cams, with dreamy music for all the jellies. My favorite:  Moon jelly cam

They also have guided meditations connected with the jelly cams, the ocean, and other areas posted on YouTube. Miscellaneous:

Don’t forget books!  Podcasts!  And if animals make you happy (as they do me),

Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has a live virtual tour every day on YouTube.                      

Tour the Louvre:

Go to Bryce Canyon  or Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

You probably have found some of these, and I hope you are enjoying them. 

Remember:  “Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land, there is nothing that can shake me, She has said She won’t forsake me, I’m in her hand…and my cup overflows.”

Catherine A. Massey,
Director of Music
AUUMN Credentialed Music Leader