Return to Nature’s Playground

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman

Moment of Perspective

Pride at First UU – What is Pride? What is Welcome?

The opening words are from Chloe Rain:

The Summer Solstice is a time to reflect on your personal growth and the meaning of the season of light and growth. This is the moment of our year when there is the most light available to us. In terms of consciousness, it is when we are the most present to ourselves and who we know ourselves to be — the Sun represents the light of all life and consciousness. Seeds are planted in the Earth as well as the seeds of our souls. It’s a time of renewal and abundance, a time of love and expansion, as the summer sun unfolds the leaves on the trees, so do our souls open to receive the light of source to illuminate that which is within each of us.

All Through The Night
Trad. Welsh, Public Domain
Arr. and Performed by Emily McKinney

My dad worked long hours to be able to provide for eight children in our family, which makes it even more miraculous to me that when I begged to learn to play the flute when I was 12 years old, he said yes and found a way to make it happen, renting my first instrument for $40/month (that was more in 2002!) and encouraging me to earn something on my own to help cover the cost of my lessons. Typically, for days that celebrate parents, I have tried to symbolically thank my own parents, and every parent-figure who has ever supported music education in our congregation, by using my flute-playing skills that I begged to acquire all those years ago. I can only vaguely remember being sung to sleep, but I know I was. This lullaby is touching and tender, and in it, I can also hear the sound of my dad coming home tired from an extra long day, and it carries with it every time my mom or dad or older siblings drove me to a lesson or picked me up after band practice. My music education is a symbol of the love and care that went into raising me. May this simple lullaby serve as symbolic gratitude to all the parents and mentors in this congregation who pour into our children and youth in so many ways.

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

Bright Morning Stars
Trad. American folk song, arr. James A. Lucas
Public Domain Work
Performed by Luna Hamburg, Ruth Jenkins, Ryan McCoy, and Emily McKinney

I am so excited to share this video with all of you. This hymn is one our congregation knows (and maybe loves, or at least tolerates kindly?) but this version is unlike any way we’ve ever done it at church before.

True to the folk tradition of the song, good friends from church gathered (within CDC guidelines) and just started singing this together, experimenting with harmonies we heard, and letting this eventual recording evolve. I love, love, love the improvised extra or less traditional harmonies and resolutions our singers added to this.

Our thanks to Luna, Ruth, and Ryan, for lending their voices so beautifully. Please enjoy this with my gratitude for all father/parent figures everywhere who fill that important role for young people, no matter their official title.

You can read more about this song here:

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

Lullaby to a Doll, Op. 31, No. 7
Vladimir Rebikov
Public Domain Work
Performed by Colleen Appel

Colleen was gracious enough to volunteer to provide some beautiful piano works for this service, on top of everything she already does for this congregation. This lullaby is so perfectly lovely and Colleen suggested it for an Interlude. I agree. This is taken from a popular larger work by Vladimir Rebikov called “Silhouettes,” of which one publisher writes, “These character pieces are among Rebikov’s most popular piano works. Many of the selections utilize the sustaining pedal to create sometimes nebulous and often dissonant effects. This collection provides an effective and valuable introduction to Impressionistic music.”

You can read more about the composer here:

Our thanks to Colleen for showcasing one of the ways she plays!

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

Organ Grinder
Vladimir Rebikov
Public Domain Work
Performed by Colleen Appel

This is another work by the same composer, Rebikov, and I knew we needed to feature this during our theme of Play because the main thing Colleen wrote about it is, “it’s lots of fun.” Fun and play are what we are after here, and I think it does our hearts good to see our hardworking Board President indulging in something she considers lots of fun. Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your playful, beautiful music with us!

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

The closing words are Play as Often as You Can, by Mary Anne Radmacher.

live boldly. laugh loudly. love truly.
play as often as you can.
work as smart as you are able.
share your heart as deeply as you can reach.
as you awaken
may your dreams
greet you by name and
may you answer, “yes.”
as you walk
may all your angels
gather at your shoulders and
may you confidently know
they stand with you.
as you rest
may all your endeavors
know contentment and peace.