Happy New Year!  All hopes and optimism return as we start anew this year.  Challenges can be overcome and we can create the goodness we want to see and be in 2023.  Our theme for January is Finding our Center, and success toward our shared world can rest on finding and knowing who we are, collectively and individually.  Our choir will be singing two anthems on January 29th that remind us of just that.  I have to admit that I love these two pieces of music and I love that our choir is growing!

“Nine Hundred Miles” is a traditional folk song, set for choir and piano.  Its melody and lyrics are haunting:

“I’m tryin’ to read a letter from my home.  And if this train runs me right, I’ll be home Saturday night, ‘Cause I’m nine hundred miles from my home.”  So many questions to be answered before getting on the train to take us home.

The second, more upbeat song is called, “Gate Gate”, pronounced gah-tay, gah-tay.  This has a Sanskrit text that repeats over and over meaning:  “Gone, Gone.  Gone all the way to the other shore.  Everyone gone to the other shore.  The words end with Awakening and Halleluia.  It is joyful and rhythmic, exciting to hear and exciting to sing.  My sense of it personally is that the song celebrates the feeling of being whole in a collective way.  Optimism and joy abound as we look inward to find our center and start the new year.

Music at First Parish for January:
Vespers is January 17th at 6 pm.
On January 22nd we will have guest musician Kathy Matasy playing Bach on accordion!
The choir sings on January 29th.

Blessings to you all! 

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.