Music Ministry

Our music ministry team explores the many ways to bring music into our lives. Last year we added drums to our ensemble and are exploring ways to incorporate percussion into our worship services and events, in addition to our prized grand piano and other instruments and choral options. The team meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 3:45 pm in Fenn Chapel. Contact Carol Harden at charden@utk.edu if you have ideas or want to join the team.

Music Ministry Team: Carol Harden (leader), Lucy Tenenbaum, Kate Gridley, Poppy Rees, Shannon LaRose, Richard Hopkins, Liam Greenwood, YOU?!

Choir Notes

Choir director Lucy Tenenbaum
Choir director Lucy Tenenbaum

Greengs and Salutations oh wonderful folk of CVUUS! The choir has been very busy learning our music for upcoming services.

Nov. 3 brings us a familiar song of protest, Never Turning Back, by the well-known Pat Humphries, composer of Peace Salam Shalom. Her older siblings were Kent State students in 1970 when four anti Vietnam protesters were shot to death. That was the start of her deep involvement in the Peace and Anti-War movement. Pat composed her first original song at a song writing workshop conducted by folksinger and labor organizer Si Kahn, who challenged his pupils to create a song immediately. “Pat’s fledgling effort, Never Turning Back,’was called ‘one of the best songs I’ve heard in 50 years’ by Pete Seeger. Pat has been writing and performing ever since, bringing her powerful, singable songs to clubs, coffeehouses, concert halls, festivals and political demonstrations around the country.” Revell Allen will sing the lead, and the choir will respond in the tradition of call and response music. I imagine the congregation will find themselves drawn into this song too, it is that powerful.

Choir on the West Side

Nov. 10 we continue reviewing the theme of the second principal, (Justice, equity and compassion in human relations…) by bringing the Phil Ochs composion, There But for Fortune. A moving arrangement by Peter Amidon brings this folk/protest era song to life. The choir felt compelled to change a few words. We sing, “I’ll show you someone…” instead of “I’ll show you a young man,” recognizing that gender exclusivity at this point in the song is limiting. The altered text brings the focus to all of the possible people who might suffer in this way. My summer conference with the Association for UU Music Ministries discouraged changing words, but we did this with great thought and personal decision.

Nov. 17 is a big choir piece Sunday, with Kate playing for the choir for the first time since September. Again, bringing music by Methodist Minister and Composer Mark Miller (a classmate of Barnaby’s in Seminary) from the AUUMM conference, we will sing, What Does the Lord Require of You? The answer is Justice! Kindness! It’s an exciting piece, in many ways outlining Mark’s life path from being the adopted child of a white Methodist Minister who didn’t expose Mark to music from his birth culture. Mark didn’t know about Black music until after his college studies. Then he embraced it with abandon! This piece starts with a classical “recitave” as if it’s Handel. Then it abruptly rolls into a Rap kind of beat and repeated text. But there’s a fugue (like Bach wrote) in the middle that is masterfully combined cultural music from both the Old White European Composer tradition and African American religious music. I am trying to get a soloist who can make the piece POP! For those of us who aren’t turned on by “The Lord” kind of text, I urge everyone to put another word of your choosing into that place, in your head. Like, “What does your Conscience Require of You?” Or, Community, or the Spirit of Life or Gaia who however you can be motivated to be a better person.

The CVUUS choir meets on Wednesdays from 5:45-7:15 (NO Choir the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 27.) We rehearse on Sunday mornings at 9 on Anthem Sundays, 3 weeks a month. All singers are welcome to come give the choir a try. We’d love to have a few more regular voices to fill out the faithful. The choir is a friendly group of dedicated folks who love to sing. All levels of singer are welcome. Our rehearsals include some vocal technique and a mini voice lesson in the beginning.

Blessings, Lucy