MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey
The past couple of months have included a number of activities involving music beyond Sunday morning worship. Our choir once again did a great job singing at the annual Spirituals concert at Bethel Second Baptist Church to close out Black History Month. We love being included in this tradition, and having fellowship with the congregation of this 100 year old church. This year we sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “I’m On My Way.”
In early March, those of us who sing with the local shape note singing group helped to host the annual Elder Gerald Hand Memorial shape note singing convention—one day in our Religious Education Building great room, and one day at the WIA building in Pioneer Women’s Park. We hosted singers from Washington State, New Hampshire, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Texas, and sang about 80 hymns in two days. This is another tradition that is very fulfilling to me to participate in, allowing me to reconnect with friends I only see every year or two, and bringing together people from all walks of life. I was chaplain this year, meaning that in this democratic tradition I was elected to deliver the prayers for opening, closing, and grace before meals. This role helped me appreciate the responsibilities of our minister!
We have produced two concerts recently. Political satirist Roy Zimmerman has a new album called Rise Up. Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter perform Celtic music on a variety of fascinating instruments in addition to telling stories. These musicians have, individually and collectively, sold millions of CDs, and I would have liked to have had a larger audience for them. Lisa invited those interested to put their hands on the strings of her Celtic harp afterwards. I did so, and it gave me a thrill, and a glimmer of something I would like to do in the near future.
I am looking forward to continuing to offer special services during Holy Week—specifically on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (4/18 and 19). These quiet, more reflective services give us the opportunity to focus on some of the big issues in life—life, death, suffering—before the Easter celebration of the miracle of living. I’m glad that Rev. Xolani is willing to do them, and music will of course play an important role.
Catherine Massey, Director of Music
UUMN Credentialed Music Leader