June 28, 2020 – Special Music

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

from Songs Without Words, Op. 19 No. 4
by Felix Mendelssohn
performed by Eva Riebold

Eva suggested this as our prelude this week and I agree that it’s both lovely and supports the theme of Possibility. This is from collected works of Mendelssohn, published across different periods of his life, under the title Songs Without Words. You can read more about these works here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_Without_Words

Many of the pieces were given nicknames following publication, and this one has been dubbed “Confidence.” To me, it does reflect the optimism and courage embodied in pursuing new possibilities. May we have confidence as we pursue justice and dismantle structures of white supremacy, confidence as we do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and confidence as we UU the Vote this year.

I Know I Can
words: Dennis Hamilton
music: Jeannie Gagne Arr. Mark Freundt
used with permission
performed by Rebecca Holt and Paul Phariss

Rebecca suggested this great selection from our teal hymnal and Paul was kind enough to lend his voice to Rebecca’s stirring piano playing. I really enjoyed learning more about the composer of the music, Jeannie Gagne. Here are some of her own words, taken from her biography section: “Making real connections with people through music is one of the most important reasons why she sings and teaches. Jeannie says, “That’s the point. Connecting. We are all human, we share the same emotions, anywhere on the globe. Music can reach across language. Anywhere. It moves us, it inspires us. It gets us up dancing, or touches a truth inside. I believe I have a responsibility as an artist and a teacher to bring my very best to every performance, each and every time. I want every performance to be special.”

We merged two verses of this hymn as it was originally written to remove the gender-binary language, in recognition that people of many gender identities call this church community their home, and we hope many more feel safe to do so in the future, as well.

This hymn has a beautiful backstory, and there’s a beautiful write up of how it touched one UU minister and a congregation available here: https://farfringe.com/stj1015-i-know-i-can/

Meditation on Breathing
words and music by Sarah Dan Jones
used with permission
performed by Emily McKinney

I’m really enjoying the ability to layer recordings using the church music laptop, and I’m really looking forward to some collaborative choir projects I have cooking up, with many voices included. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, this simple and beautiful song seemed like a fitting way to close our shared experience of GA (what’s more UU than peace and love, right?) and also our theme of Possibility. In good weeks and months and seasons of life when I am managing my time extra well, I have a mindfulness meditation practice wherein I focus on my breathing, and it occurred to me that few things embody possibility more than a breath. When you breathe in, it can come out as an easy sigh, a scream, a peal of laughter, or so much more. This song offers us the possibilities of breathing in peace, and breathing out love. May peace and love, along with justice, be more than mere possibilities in our lives this week.

Categories: Sermon