Charlyn Bethell, Music Director

Missa Gaia is a Mass for the Earth.  It is a celebration of the earth as a sacred place.  It was premiered in New York in 1981 by Paul Winter, Jim Scott, Paul Halley, Oscar Castro-Neves, and Kim Oler. This piece of music is unique because there are three performing genres:  choral singing, instrumental playing, and animal sounds that include a female timber wolf, whales, birds, seals.  It is a timeless work of art that our church did as a concert four years ago.  This year, we have a different plan.

We will be sharing Missa Gaia with the Waltham UU church choir.  We will be making four movements of this music into a worship service first for their Music Sunday at their church on February 24th and then for our Music Sunday at our church, on March 3rd.  The combined choirs of our two churches (about 50 singers!) will produce a sound and a community that we have never experienced.  We will be working hard learning the music in January and February.  I am excited to bring this project to fruition!

Our Music Sunday is usually the first part of May, but moving the date sooner makes the timing in sync with a church-wide Earth Day celebration that will take place in March and April.  Our Missa Gaia will be the beginning of it all.  

Singing this music puts us right in line with our UU values.  We are closer to the earth when we sing Missa Gaia.  We are in community with our local neighbors.  I can only imagine the spiritual rewards of this experience.  I am excited that you, our congregation, will reap the rewards along with us.  

See you in church!


Charlyn Bethell
Music Director | + posts

Charlyn’s professional training has followed two paths: as a professional oboist and as a music teacher and conductor. As Music Director at First Parish, she joins these two paths of her musical life, conducting the choir, coordinating guest musicians, and performing on oboe.