Monday, July 19, 2010

Goodbye, UU Musicians Network Conference attendees!

The UU Musicians Network conference ended yesterday morning with 120 of the attendees singing at the 9 am service at FUS of Madison, directed by Dr. Stephen Alltop. The special music was "Little Elegy" by Stephen Paulus -- a piece commissioned by the UUMN. The choir also sang Bach's "Dona Nobis Pacem," Rutter's "Down By the Riverside" and "Deep River" by Andrew Paulsson.

"Deep River" filled me with the holy spirit and connected me with the divine. I wanted to throw my hands in the air, but since I'd already had my hands in the air for the hymn "There Is more Love Somewhere," I thought I'd better not do it again. :-) And, I would have clapped on 2 & 4 all during "Riverside" if I had been 100% sure of avoiding 1 & 3. Anyway, the music was sublime!

It was such a wonderful gift and an honor to host this conference. I encourage all UU congregations who are mid-size and larger to host the UU Musicians Network conference. The 2010 conference had about 240 attendees, so perhaps it would be difficult for a small congregation to host this.

Thanks to FUS Music Director Dan Broner and especially to Assistant Music Director Linda Warren for organizing this conference.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crashing the UU Musicians Network Conference

I'm volunteering a little, but having a ball! For example, I volunteered to drive Dave and Greg, two conference attendees, over to Babcock Hall so they could buy me (and themselves) some real UW-Madison ice cream. Heavenly!

After that, Elizabeth Alexander and some fabulous singers (such as John Hubert and Jason Shelton) sang Elizabeth's "Go Out!" Also heavenly: the Opening Ceremony in downtown Madison, where the new leaf unfolded, the Madison Festival Choir sang gorgeous anthems, and Gini Courter spoke. What a thrill!

We can host this conference because of our new space. We couldn't have done this years ago because we had a small auditorium with a triangular-shaped kitchen. Now we have a 90-second dishwasher that I almost know how to use!

Thanks to Dan Broner and Linda Warren and all members of the UU Musicians Network. You are crucial to our UU religious faith. For me, the times when I've felt most connected to the divine, to God, have been when I'm listening to (and singing) our music.