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, but all voices together provided a rich cultural tapestry for everyone to enjoy.
Today we have American Idol and other competitions that knock out “bad” singers, leaving only one winner. I believe that paradigm is very damaging to our culture. I prefer to “make a joyful noise” with all of us together, the Beloved Community. Even though none of us sing perfectly—we have some flat notes, and we are not totally synchronous, and someone always sings just a little too loudly—when we sing together, we represent the perfectly imperfect community that we are. And we accept each other’s flaws, just as we know that we are all continuing to improve, little by little. In life and in singing.
On August 16, the Music Ministries will be presenting a worship service on the topic of singing. You will hear from congregants about their relationship to singing, you’ll experience lots of songs about singing, and hopefully, you will open the door to your own singing, just a little bit wider than before. Since you’re at home and no one outside of your housemates can hear you during our Zoom worship services, it’s an ideal time to explore making an even more joyful noise than usual! I wish for you all the healing and joyful effects of singing loud and proud from your own heart.
Director of Music Ministries
Beth Syverson is Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Director of Music Ministries. She plans and arranges the music for worship on Sunday mornings, provides piano music during services, and directs the Orange Coast Choir. She is also the artistic director of OCUUC’s concert series—Orange Coast Concerts—which features several eclectic concerts throughout the year.