Music Ministry Notes

Music Ministry Notes

The regular column from Beth Syverson, OCUUC's Director of Music Ministries. Beth can be reached by email at musicdirector@ocuuc.org.

Enter, Rejoice and Come In

Orange Coast Choir is humming along now that we’re singing back in Daniels Hall. I’m so grateful to Steve Morihiro, Barbara Morihiro, and Sarah Hunter who kept the choir going in creative ways while I was away on my sabbatical. Now that we’re back in full swing, we are adding choir members, working on more challenging material, and improving our technique every week. It’s so much more rewarding to sing together in one room than to sing on Zoom and…

Back from Sabbatical

Thank you, congregation and Board, for allowing me to have my 10-week sabbatical. It was rich in self-discovery, renewal, and relaxation. I am happy to be back, making music live in Daniels Hall again + on Zoom for rehearsals and Sunday services. While I was on my sabbatical, I attended seven other Sunday (Zoom) services from all different faith traditions. I “went” to a Hindu temple, a giant Jewish synagogue, a black church in LA, a new age non-denominational church,…

Sabbatical

By the time you’re reading this, I will be on my sabbatical, which will continue until March 13. I am grateful to the Board, Rev. Sian, and all of you for allowing me this time to rest and revive myself from these difficult few years. You will be well taken care of, with Steve Morihiro, Barbara Morihiro, and Sarah Hunter managing the music for worship and for choir while I’m away. If you have any questions or suggestions about music,…

Music for the Holidays

It’s that time of year when the holidays bunch up like homework assignments when your teacher realizes they have more content to get through than there are weeks left in the semester. If you missed it (or if you want to watch it again), here is our annual appearance in the NMIIC Thanksgiving Interfaith Music Celebration from November 21. I produced the event again this year, and it was such a pleasure to work with musicians from so many different…

Musical Cultural Appropriation

What do Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Mozart’s Turkish March, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Song of India all have in common? They are all good examples of a composer “borrowing” a different culture’s musical themes (or one’s concept of another culture’s musical themes). I played these pieces for the Prelude of our service about Cultural Appropriation. In the case of Mozart’s Turkish March, he evokes the sound of the Turkish Janissary (military) bands, which was a very popular custom at the time. Even though…

The Hard-Working Volunteers

I want to highlight the many hard-working volunteers who have stepped up to make our hybrid services happen. I’m sure most people realize that it takes lots of extra energy – and volunteer hours – to create basically two services simultaneously – one on Zoom and one in Daniels Hall. Huge kudos go to Steve Morihiro, who did all the research to figure out how to make hybrid services work effectively, gathered all the extra equipment we needed (including miles of…

Handling Trauma

AUUMM (Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries) sponsored an online workshop about how to handle overwhelm and trauma, presented by the creator of The Trauma Stewardship Institute, Laura Lipsky. She reminded us of how traumatic the last 18 months have been for the whole globe, dealing with the upheaval that Covid and our faulty response to it has wreaked. Her list of side effects of Overwhelm and Trauma rang true for me and so many of my colleagues: saturated nervous…

Singing is Good for the Soul

How have you been enjoying our hybrid services so far? I’ve heard from several of you who are appreciating the flexibility and inclusivity of everyone, whether they feel comfortable in the sanctuary or not, and whether they are physically able to come in person or not. A big thank you to Steve Morihiro who continues to hone the tech set-up in Daniels Hall and has trained our new crew of camera operators and audio engineers. Thanks to all our volunteers…

Hybrid Services

We’ve been doing hybrid services now for several weeks, and it’s been a real learning experience for all of us. Everything has gone very smoothly so far, and I’m so happy that we are able to keep Zoom worship going for those who prefer it, as well as having our physical doors open for those who prefer to attend in person. There is an enormous amount of technical details to keep track of now. Big thanks to Steve Morihiro for…

Summer Music at OCUUC

It’s almost time for our dear Orange Coast Choir to take a two-month hiatus over the summer. If you have the opportunity, please thank the choir for their continued patience and spirit of adventure as they going with the flow in this changing Covid landscape. We are still creating virtual choir videos, and we have been holding hybrid rehearsals for about two months now — in the church courtyard and on Zoom. The rehearsals have been a major improvement over…

Choosing Music Intentionally

Earlier this year, I decided to make sure that at least one song in every Sunday’s service is composed or performed by a Person of Color (POC). I am the Editor of the AUUMM, and I have created a filter to identify songs created by POC. As part of that work, I have added songs deliberately to that database that are by black people. I have gone out of my way to find lists of black composers and their pieces…

Open Mic Night

Every Spring, Music Ministries hosts an Open Mic Night – a completely free event where people of all ages, abilities, and experience can share their talents. In the past we’ve had poetry readings, dog acts, stand-up comedy, in addition to musical acts. Last year’s Open Mic Night was the last event held at the church before the quarantine began. This year, since we’re still quarantined, we’re going to host the Open Mic Night, and participants will perform LIVE on Zoom.…