Charlyn Bethell, Music Director

First let me say that our choir has been amazing!  They have not had a Thursday night off for months.  (We usually have one per month.)  Preparing for Missa Gaia made us all hunker down to be ready for Music Sunday.  Choir members have shown up, practiced their parts, shared their creative ideas, and actively helped to craft a beautiful worship service last Sunday.  I hope we will keep our connection to the Waltham singers as an annual event.  I am proud of our choir singers and I am honored to be leading this fine group of musical people.  I tangibly felt their total commitment to singing Missa Gaia.  I know those of you listening did, too.  It was a special day for everyone. 

Do you ever stop to “rest on your laurels”?  This has been an unusually busy few weeks for me, and now that the events that took so much time to accomplish are over, I might be able to take a breather.  It wasn’t just Music Sunday last weekend:  I presented a session at the Massachusetts Music Educators Association conference on Thursday prior to Music Sunday.  I had a Solar Winds quintet concert on Sunday, following the Music Sunday service.  The preparation for each of these events was extensive and I had been working toward this weekend since last summer.  I feel a lot of satisfaction that each event was successful.  As I am writing this, I am thinking about “What now?”  There is always music to think about for our next worship service, and I am at my best when pursuing new projects.  So what is my next chapter? 

The First Parish choir will sing at least three times this spring.  I am gathering music for celebrating Easter and I am finding music to help us all say goodbye to our retiring minister. I know that our music will give us a sense of closure.   This music is personal to me because I will very much miss working with Mark.  If we have the right music, it should communicate to Mark how much he means to us as we say goodbye to him.  I believe that focusing on this closure will help all of us connect to our new interim minister in the fall.  

Not in record time:  today, I officially began a reorganization of the choir closet across from Lauren’s office! It has needed my attention for a LONG time.  I got a good start.  Lastly, I need to write a summary of the music from this year for the Annual Report. 

As for basking or resting on laurels?  I am still getting used to being a retired person.  I am finding that being retired is anything but sitting still!  I play my oboe most days.  I keep delving into house projects that have needed attention for some time.  There are a couple of books I can’t wait to read, and I enjoy cooking.  I would say that life is very good, but it is dynamic, always changing and there are always new challenges.  The best thing is to think of what is coming in the context of community.  I look forward to seeing you in church!

What are the musical happenings in March?

March 12:  Project Literacy’s Community Supper will be at the Watertown Library from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Our church hosts and celebrates this annual event to support local immigrants’ progress learning English.  I will be leading some songs.

March 17th:  Our guest musicians will be a duo, David Piper, guitar and Jessica Green, vocalist. We can look forward to some wonderful jazz that will fit into our intergenerational service.  Dave is a music educator and he was chosen to be my successor at my former school in Concord.  I am hearing rave reviews about him.

March 24th:  This is a Lay Service and will have some interactive music happening.

March 31st:  The First Parish choir will be singing The Road Back by a wonderful (living) composer, plus another song TBA.

March 31st:   Our church is part of a Vigil at an ICE Detention Center.  Along with others from our church, I will be there with Guy and hope to help with some music for the event.

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.