Music and Choir



Catherine Massey

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey

Last month I took a moment to express my gratitude for those who have contributed in various ways to the success of our congregation’s music program.  I felt I had just begun when I went over my word limit before having thanked our other staff members, our Unitarian Universalist Association -UUA-, and Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network -UUMN- colleagues, or you, the congregation, for singing in worship even when sometimes you might not feel like it. Last month I realized I had already begun this month’s column.

Good humor, experience, and evidence of hard work…

It is so good to work with competent professionals.  Naoma Staley, our Administrator, brings good humor and great ideas to the mix.  Our Director of Religious Education, Susan Freudenthal, brings experience and extensive ties to our wider association. And, while I don’t often see Greg, our Sexton, I see evidence of his work every time I am on our campus.

Every musician who works in a church knows that having a minister who likes music and understands and values its role in worship is a big key to having a good music program.  The Rev. Sue Redfern-Campbell is a joy to work with.  She is a calm and gracious collaborator in planning worship.  Her work as our Developmental Minister has made it possible for me to move forward and to grow as a Director of Music.  I appreciate what she has done for us in her time here.

I could never have even thought of starting and conducting a choir here without the support and resources of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network.  Thanks to the congregation, I have attended every annual conference since 2000.  I could not do this work without the training, knowledge and connections that come from UUMN.    It gives us direct access to all the best Unitarian Universalist music sources, and to our wider association.  And, of course, we need the Unitarian Universalist Association, which articulates our values in the public square on our behalf, and inspires us through publications and General Assembly.

My favorite part of the job is…

Someone recently asked me what my favorite part of my job is.  I don’t have to stop and think about it—it’s leading congregational singing.  When I can help the congregation sing together in worship, from the piano or up at the podium, with strategic help from the choir at times—that is just magic!  It is so satisfying to bring together singers and “non-singers” alike to share that community of sound.  In that shared musical moment, involving the physical act of breathing and making sound together, is a start to building and nourishing our beloved community.  I can’t do that alone!  Your presence and willingness to try are a great gift, and I don’t take that for granted.  Thank you!

-­-­Catherine Massey
Director of Music
UUMN Credentialed Music Leader