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.

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.…

Choir in These Times

In this edition of Music Notes, I want to call out and honor the choir for their hard work and perseverance during this quarantine period. As you probably have heard, singing is one of the superspreader activities, and singing will probably be the last thing to come back on board when we think about returning (someday…). The choir and I have been dealing with that sadness for almost a year now. Maybe you have too. Do you miss singing together…
Sheet music as art sculpture

The Power of Music and Art

I am continually humbled and awed by the power of music and art. If you think of the recent joyous inauguration, imagine how it would’ve felt without any of the music or art. Take away Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem (problematic though its lyrics and origin may be), J. Lo singing a mash-up of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” and Garth Brooks’ simple a cappella version of “Amazing Grace.” Take away the amazing…

Music and Light

After our busy holiday schedule, the musicians are back at it in January. We are looking forward to singing together again when it’s safe to do so, but until then, we will continue making video recordings for services and special events. Make sure to subscribe to the church’s YouTube channel if you haven’t already. There’s a Music Playlist there that you can play anytime. You can even shuffle the songs so each time you listen is a different experience. I…

Acknowledge the Darkness

Thank you to those of you who sang and played, attended, and assisted behind the scenes in our two big November events—Transgender Day of Resilience and Remembrance and NMIIC Thanksgiving Interfaith Music Celebration. Both events came off beautifully, and if you missed either of them, they are available on our church’s YouTube channel. For the past 10 or 12 years, we’ve held a Winter Solstice service at the church, complete with altar, candles, and a cappella choir. This year we…

Transgender Day of Resilience and Remembrance

OCUUC Music Ministries are preparing two big events for our community in November. Both annual events have been re-designed to work on Zoom this year. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual event on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. This is the third year that OCUUC has observed this day with a ceremony, and the second year that we have produced it in collaboration with Resurrection Beach…

Some Interesting Connections

I would like to share some interesting connections that the Music Ministries have made through our new paradigm of recording collaborative videos remotely. First, our own Steve Morihiro and friends recorded “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Unitarian” back in June, and it now has over 3,000 YouTube views! I think it’s gone through the UU grapevine. That’s by far our church’s most widely viewed video of all time. And I have had many lovely conversations with composers.…

Playlist on OCUUC YouTube channel

Thank you to all the musicians, slideshow creators, Zoom MCs, editors and designers, computer technicians, and slideshow operators who have helped create meaningful music  experiences in our Zoom worship these last few months. It takes a village! Did you know that we have a YouTube channel with a playlist that includes many of the videos you’ve seen at church services lately. Here’s how to access the videos: Go to YouTube.com. Then type in “OrangeCoastUU” (all one word) in YouTube’s search…

Relationship to Singing

What is your relationship to SINGING? Over the years, I’ve run into so many people who proclaim that they just aren’t singers, or that someone suggested that they shouldn’t sing in public. Many of us have shut down our voices, quite literally. It’s really unfortunate that in our culture, only “great” singers get to participate in singing. Before recorded music was invented, everyone sang—with their families, at special celebrations, and at worship. I’m sure not everyone was a “great” singer,…