She's Back! (Musical ministry, Julie & Varied Oneness)

She's Back! (Musical ministry, Julie & Varied Oneness)

“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
(William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, I: i: 1-2)

Old First, you love your music. The survey confirms what I’ve always known: many of you are passionate about music, and your passions for particular genres are many and varied. You also (o, happy day!) understand that part of what makes us Old First is that we usually get it that the UCC motto, “That they all may be one,” in no way implies that we will all (ever!) like the same kinds of music, at the same time, in the same proportions. Instead, we are usually pretty willing not just to embrace, but to celebrate the vast musical diversity that makes us one.

If I had not given up sarcasm as part of my new post-sabbatical, earnest church musician persona, I’d compose a medley of all the styles, tempos, and ensemble configurations that you all, individually, believe to be vital to Old First’s music program. (This would, of course, hit all the same “notes” as the styles, tempos, and ensemble configurations the individual “you(s)” hope never to hear in worship again.) However, the sheer length of such a medley would require me to quit my day job to compose it and would ensure that church last until midnight for the rest of all our natural lives, something not one of you mentioned in the survey as an Old First aspiration.

I have always believed that, despite our vast musical diversity, the joy of Old First is that we know that what each of us values, musically, does not mean that we each get our way; rather, we are willing to be “softened” in our musical interests—expanding to at least appreciate other styles as they are offered to God’s glory by people who are all being challenged and strengthened in the process of becoming “one.”

On, then, to the new choir season—to a variety of opportunities to be part of Old First’s musical “soothing”—but not too soothing!—“charms.”
Adult Choir welcomes all singers. You need not read music or have ever sung in a choir before.

We will begin with a 9:00 rehearsal on Sunday, September 11. We will sing that very day in worship. We will then resume our regular rehearsal schedule on Thursday, September 15, 7:30-8:45. REHEARSAL MAKES WHAT WE DO POSSIBLE, SO SHOW UP!!!

The Band welcomes an eclectic blend of instruments. If you haven’t mentioned to me that you play an instrument, now’s the time. We usually rehearse on Sunday mornings from 10-10:45 for a few weeks before we play during worship; specific dates TBA.

Soloists and small ensembles: want to do something musical? Fabulous. Talk to me.

The word during coffee hour last Sunday is that it may very well be time to revive the Children’s Choir. If you have a child age 4-12 who’d be interested, let me know. Rehearsals would be on Sunday morning, time TBA.

I’m giving some thought to Godspell. In the spring. The cast size is malleable, in terms of both number and ages of performers. It’s a lot of work for those people who join the cast, but I am pretty sure that almost anyone who’s done it before will tell you that IT IS SO MUCH FUN! Interested? Let me know. I am gauging interest before moving forward. (Also, I would be looking for Jesus. And a band. And set designer and stage and lighting techs.)

Hymn Sing (and Pie): OK, I’m a hopeless nerd, but one of the delightful things I did this summer was go to a hymn sing at a Quaker Church (they are of the programmed-tending-to-evangelical ilk) which was followed by pie and ice cream. Delightful and simple to replicate. If you’d like to sing your favorite hymns and then eat pie, I’m eager to organize it. Talk to me.

Something I missed? Let me know: you won’t get your musical way all the time, but I will work hard to make sure you are satisfied a good some of the time.

I am looking forward to being back with you this year. I want to thank you (so much!!) for the sabbatical. I visited several other congregations, and I have such a renewed appreciation for the range of musical talent here at Old First and the willingness of people to share those talents! I am deeply grateful for Tim Kuntz’s musical leadership over the past nine months, and to all of you who stepped up to make a joyful noise with the choir, in small ensembles, or as soloists. Old First is blessed and so am I.

Julie Steiner