large outdoor chalice with stone base and dark metal shallow bowl surrounded by garden plantings

Music Blog

Musically Speaking – September 9th, 2022

Happy fall and welcome back to First Parish!  I am looking forward to seeing you at our church in the coming month!  In anticipation of the church year, I have a few questions and few answers to share. A foundation to my questions fall into the ideas of themes for the year.  The concept of “themes” is still relatively new to me.  1) Rev. Sophia’s overall plan for the year is:  Sowing the Seeds. 2)  The theme for the month from Soul Matters is:  Belonging.  3)  If I have a theme for music at...

Musically Speaking – April 8th, 2022

Spring time is when the earth awakens anew.  With all the wonders of nature—birds singing, colors emerging, the promise of warm weather—all raise our spirits.  “Awakening” is our theme for April and the word suggests both looking back as in a revival of interest in something, and looking ahead as in coming into awareness of something new.  “Awakening” is what we are doing right now as we evaluate our vision for our community at First Parish and explore our own involvement in the life of the...

Musically Speaking – March 2022

“Renewing our Faith” is the theme for March.  This week, I found myself wanting to answer Reverend Sophia’s challenge to answer the question posed to us in her homily on March 6th:  “What is Faith?  What do you have Faith in?”  I know that Faith means something different for each of us.  As for me, I have Faith in people, and I have Faith in the process that sustains me as a musician. First, a definition:  I think of Faith as complete trust, a strongly held belief.  Faith is a foundation that...

Musically Speaking – February 11th, 2022

As I think of “Widening the Circle” as our theme for the month, I find it is just about perfect for me right now.  I love hearing that pandemic numbers are going down, enabling us to begin our return to hybrid worship.  Last night, we had a hybrid Vespers that was lovely.  I could write this column just about how slowing down and sitting with stillness widens our internal horizons.  The best thing is that we can begin to see beyond the confines of the pandemic to reach into the world to really...

Musically Speaking – January 14th, 2022

Welcome New Year! Each month, I like to present myself as a ray of hope and light.  I like to be uplifting with new ideas for music to make you smile throughout the month.  This month, that is not so easy.  We have rightfully and temporarily pulled back to virtual worship.  We have really loved being in person last fall in our hybrid services.  It has been awesome creating choir anthems again with in-person singing, albeit masked and distanced.  We are ready to start a new piece for the choir...

Musically Speaking – December 10, 2021

“Opening to Joy” is the theme of worship for December.  Music does fit right into this!  What is more wonderful than music?  Some of my most memorable oboe playing is at the holiday season.  There are pieces by Bach (Christmas Oratorio) and Handel (The Messiah), many arrangements of seasonal carols, pieces that tell the Christmas story—for example, there is a performance next weekend of The Brown King, an oratorio by Margaret Bonds, that tells the story of Balthazar, one of the wise men. ...

Musically Speaking – November 2021

“Holding History” is the theme of our Worship this month, and it makes me think of how music takes us back to when we first experienced it.  Music can suspend us in time; when we think of hit songs that we loved, we go back to being that age again.  Think of the feel you get from the music during worship and a sense of calm might come over you.  We all have our favorite hymns and even piano pieces that give us a sense of being grounded.  As they remind you of how they felt good then, they...

Musically Speaking – October 8th, 2021

Those of us who are fans of the PBS Newshour might have seen a musician featured that made an immediate connection with me.  Her name is Arooj Aftab, and she is Pakistani.  She is a singer, a composer, and a producer, and her inspirations are neo-Sufi idioms; many of the texts she chooses are from Rumi.  Her dream was to study at Berklee School of Music and it came true!  I have trouble actually explaining what it is that makes an artist able to be on the same wavelength with me;  the language...

Musically Speaking – September 10th, 2021

Our worship theme for September is Possibility and may be the perfect focus as we embark upon hybrid worship.  Why “the loud and the soft”, you ask?  It is a metaphor describing our services.  Musically speaking, dynamics are making music loud, soft, getting louder, or getting softer.

Musically Speaking – May 2021

“Story” is our theme for May.  Music Sunday is this coming Sunday, May 16th.  We can have music tell a story, we could tell our story ABOUT music, we could tell about our lives WITH music, and we could let music BE our story.  Our Music Sunday service is titled  “Our Musical Stories”. Let’s start with a story from the movie, Lilies of the Field.   An itinerant worker, Homer Smith,  played by Sydney Poitier, happens by a group of Eastern European nuns, who are convinced that he was sent by God...

choir singing on steps

Music engages our community and adds a spark to every listener and participant!

Weekly worship services include hymns and instrumental music.  Our pianist and guest musicians express a wide variety of styles, including Classical, folk, jazz, ethnic and world music, popular music, and music composed by contemporary artists.

Our choir performs both sacred and contemporary music in services and in special concerts.  Our band brings down the house at the Flower Service in June and the annual Talent Show!

October 2022