Murray UU Church
Music Committee

505 North Main St, Attleboro, MA 02703
 Phone: 508-222-0505
Email: 
office@murrayuuchurch.org   map/directions 

 

 


 The Music Committee serves as advisor on all musical activities of the church and originates musical programs to enrich church life.

They are responsible for development of music for the Sunday worship programs and for other special music programs; development of special music programs, including encouraging the development of musical appreciation in the church through special Sunday services and concerts; maintenance of musical instruments; development of long-term plans for the music program; support and supervision of the Director of Music and publicity for church music events.

Click on the links here for more information about or wonderful Hook & Hastings organ, and Murray Church Organ and musical concerts videotaped by local cable groups.

The Music Committee has sponsored some rich and diverse musical events recently. Here are some of them:

The Chaminade Music Club Concert
The Chaminade Music Club held a concert at Murray to continue the celebration of the International Year of the Organ, 2009-2010.  The program featured:

Robert Johnson, organ and Maxine Johnson, flute;
Gerald Kates, baritone;
Mary Whelan, organ;
Linda Westgate, soprano;
Dennis Ferguson, organ

The History of the Hook & Hastings Organ Company Presentation

Youth Organ Presentation with Dr. Kevin Birch

Dr. Kevin Birch gave an excellent hour-long talk and PowerPoint slide show presentations on the history of the Hook & Hastings Organ Company, and then gave a concert to demonstrate the great variety of pipes and sounds available from our organ.  He gave the program to an enthusiastic group of thirty homeschooled children in the afternoon, and then to an appreciative audience of adults that evening.  He spent Thursday and Friday morning setting up the computer, projector, screen and PowerPoint program, and practicing and choosing the best stops of the organ to use for the concert.  He drove from his home in Bangor, Maine, just to give the program at Murray Church.

Medieval Revelry

For a few hours on a Saturday night in February, the Unity Room was transformed into a medieval hall in Ireland, with music by River Heart and stories by their shenachie, or Celtic storyteller.  Ed Merck, a former member of Murray Church, and the recorder player in River Heart, told our Rev. Sandra Fitz-Henry of the group last year and offered a performance.  The Music Committee undertook the planning of the project with the blessing of the Finance Committee, and the people of Murray made it happen.

 To begin spinning the web of enchantment that evening, Sarah McGinnis (wife of Ron Bernier, pictured at right), plucked out beautiful filaments of music on her harp.  She was the embodiment of medieval loveliness in the authentic costume she designed and sewed.

 Many thanks to River Heart, the “lyric ensemble of medieval music and mystical tales” whose music and tales transported us to long-ago Ireland:  Peter Hughes, concert violinist; Steven Liebman, lutenist; Ed Merck, historical wind player; Alan O’Hare, the shenachie, who wandered in from the moors to tell us tales of village life in Ireland.  We are deeply grateful to them for their gift of a magical evening.

 A small group of Murray people began planning the evening in November of 2008 by defining the event.  We decided to offer food as well as entertainment, and the master chefs, led by Janet Richardi, provided delicious soups, breads and cookies, accompanied by mulled cider.  Amy Craig, a professional events planner, drew up a seating plan with tables arranged in a large U facing the fire in the hearth and a portable stage, generously loaned to us by the Norton Singers (thanks to Stephanie and Jeremy Paquette for hauling the stage in their truck, from and back to Peter Molitor’s barn). 

 Stephanie Paquette created an eye-catching poster, made tickets, and managed the pre-sale of tickets.  Monica Staaf and Mary Whelan distributed publicity widely.  Due to these efforts, we attracted a good audience of seventy people (we even had a response from California – due to the speed of electronic transmission – they declined the invitation). An energetic crew came in Friday and Saturday to set up and decorate the Unity Room.  Laurie Lawes recruited a super efficient staff who served the food, and she was cashier.  Jessie Hill arranged for babysitters so that families with young children could attend.  The kids were entertained by sitter Hunter Parent-Wetmore dressed as a medieval jester.  Some members of the audience and Murray presenters also wore costumes inspired by the Middle Ages.  Jim Richardi supervised the clean-up (and also fed logs to the fire to keep it lively and warm during the entertainment).  Thanks to Jim and the wonderful people who stepped up after the performance to put everything back in place.  At the end of the evening, Stephanie submitted a financial accounting, and we were able to contribute a net of $574 to the general funds of Murray Church.

 The collaboration, creativity, and energy shown by Murray people in preparing and presenting Medieval Revelry were amazing!  It shouldn’t be a surprise, since we have lots of practice from the annualholiday fair, but this new kind of event required a real stretch of abilities.   The coordination called to mind a flock of birds which suddenly take off from their huddled perching and fly as a group, swirling and swooping at great speed, then just as quickly and efficiently land altogether back on the tree or rooftop.  At Murray, for Medieval Revelry, each person took responsibility for a certain area, and just did the job.  Everyone deserves a huge “thanks!”  Yet each one contributes willingly and generously without expectation of any reward other than the satisfaction of a job well done and benefit for the church.  It makes sense of the old saying, “virtue is its own reward.”  The word “virtue,” or “vertu,” originally meant “strength;” indeed, the good works of Murray people are what make the Church so strong!

 

Please refer to the Universalist newsletter (click here) for the latest Music Committee news.

 


 

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