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.

A new Audio Engineer

Have you met our new Audio Engineer, Avery Brown yet? Avery (they/them) was hired last month and has already become an indispensable part of our worship team. They’ve recently run sound at the Spencer LaJoye concert (which was amazing, by the way!) and for our recent Music Under the Stars concert. They even came out from behind the soundboard at Music Under the Stars to sing and play piano. Multi-talented! I knew Avery from Long Beach Chorale and Orange Coast…

Journey to Ann Arbor

I just got back from my first Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM) Conference in 3 years. This year it was in Ann Arbor, and we really lucked out with good weather plus a GIANT art festival happening in town last week. My cup has been filled up by SO. MUCH. SINGING and camaraderie with my wonderful colleagues. There were only about 100 attendees in per-son this year, much fewer than normal, and we didn’t have a conference choir…

Special Music

Later this month, I will be attending the Association of UU Music Ministries (AUUMM) annual conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like everyone else, our organization canceled the last 2 conferences because of COVID, so I’m looking forward to this one even more than usual. One of the best parts about the conference is the in-between conversations with colleagues. I’ve made so many friends throughout the years, and I enjoy reconnecting with them once a year (plus throughout the year on…

Hungry for Live Music

I hope that you are as hungry for live music as I am! Our August will be filled with three live musical experiences for our OCUUC family. Please mark your calendars and plan to come out for three fun evenings! Have you heard Spencer LaJoye’s “Plowshare Prayer” yet? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhOZv5i7CHY) It was going around the UU circles on social media for a while, plus we sang it at church a few weeks ago. Well, Spencer LaJoye is going to be on…

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…