Author: Sheila Lindfield

Blog: Donna Brown, Choir Director

Why I Do What I Do (or Musings of a Mu-U)

I think most members of the congregation would be surprised to find out how much time the choir spends learning and perfecting our music.  In fact, it is a little scary to do the math. On Thursday, Jan. 10, we started practising the Faure Requiem, which is the main piece for our April concert.  The Requiem is about 35 minutes long and we spent about 45 minutes working on the first of the seven movements. Between that rehearsal and our concert, we have approximately 18 rehearsals and we will spend between 30 and 60 minutes of each rehearsal working on the Faure.  That’s a total of about 15 hours. If you count person-hours you will have to multiply by the 45 members of the choir. And that doesn’t count all of the time that each of us will spend working on the music independently!  

What takes so long?  Well, first of all we have to learn the notes. In some places, the choir sings in unison (everyone on the same note, an octave apart for the men and women), but in many places there are at least four different notes and sometimes each part splits and there can be as many as eight notes. Then there is the rhythm and the language. The Requiem is in Latin, which is not a first language for anyone any more. Add to that the articulation (starting and ending together, or at least in the right place), the phrasing (musical sentences) and the dynamics (volume). There is lots to learn. And all of those things must be in place for us to make music – to express the emotion that is inherent in the music, to move beyond the technical.

But the big question is why? Why do we put so much time and effort into something so ephemeral, so fleeting as a musical performance?  I have pondered that question often and there are many possible answers. First of all, it feels good when we get it right. The music is incredibly beautiful. It is also fun to do. The choir members enjoy each other’s company. And of course, we enjoy sharing our music with the congregation. But it is more than that. I believe that making music together is a spiritual experience. For me, it is one version of prayer or meditation and helps me to be a better person.  

I met an American minister during the UUMN conference that was held at UCV in 2002.  She explained to me that she and many others call themselves Bu-U’s because they are Unitarian Universalists whose primary spiritual path is Buddhism. Well, I guess I’m a Mu-U, a Unitarian whose primary spiritual path is music. And I would guess that many in the choir would feel the same way.

When I first started conducting the Chalice Choir in 1999, I struggled a bit in justifying how much time and energy I was spending on my work with the choir. I have organizational ability and I worried that I should be spending my time doing something more directly beneficial to others, like volunteering in the DTES.  A very wise man – Phillip Hewett – helped me to find peace with my calling. He shared a quote with me, and although I’ve lost the exact words, the gist has stayed with me. Art and music exist to show the beauty that is possible in the world. And I would take it one step further – a choir helps us to experience the beauty that can be created by a group of people working together.  That is why I do what I do.

I hope that you enjoy sharing that beauty with us on Sunday mornings and I invite you to join us in experiencing the beauty that is the Faure Requiem at our spring concert on Sunday, April 28 at 7:30 pm.  

Donna Brown

Director, Chalice Choir

Unitarian Church of Vancouver

February 2014

 

Our Library Has Pride

Our library has the following books touching on LGBTQ2S themes.

Photo shows Barb Taylor, Jean Stanton and Aphrodite Harris, some of our volunteer library committee members.

  • “Gay Men and Women Who Enriched the World” by Thomas Cowan
  • “There’s Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You” edited by Loralee MacPike
  • “A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Sexuality” by Jay Gayle

In fiction we have:

  • “Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World” by Janet Cameron
  • “Funny Boy” by Shyam Selvadurai
  • “Inside Passage” by Jane Rule

We have the children’s book:

  • “Daddy’s Roommate” by Michael Willhoite

We have placed the above books on display on the cart below the window in the library.

 

Also, two collections by Ivan Coyote

Barb Taylor for the Library Committee

 

Do you enjoy life writing? Register for the new group

UPDATE: The group is now full and Andrea is taking a wait list in case there are cancellations in future.

A writing group will start meeting every two weeks starting in September facilitated by Andrea Nicki, author of three prose poetry books, editor, and professor in ethical leadership at Fairleigh Dickinson University. In each meeting of 90 minutes the group will discuss short pieces of life writing or prose poetry on a topic, write individually about the topic, and then share writing with others (optional) in a spirit of mutual appreciation.

Topics will include self-love, relationships, family, genealogy, trauma, illness, loss, life transition, healing, fun and play, movement, dance, beauty, nature, pets and animals, social justice, spirituality and mystery. All genders and ages 19+ are welcome!

Registration is required: nicandr4@aol.com.
The meeting time of the group will be determined after taking a poll of registrants.
sponsored by Arts Committee.

Andrea Nicki

Andrea’s website: http://www.andreanicki.com/

Book Bash March 24th

Book Bash March 24th

9:00 am to 2:00 pm

The UCV Book Bash is coming up on Sunday March 24th

from 9 am to 2 pm.  Come and have a look at gently used

books in all genres priced from $1 to $5

Proceeds go to the church.

Book Bash March 24th 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

The UCV Book Bash is coming up on Sunday March 24th from 9 am to 2 pm.

Come and have a look at gently used books in all genres priced from $1 to $5

Proceeds go to the church.

 

Volunteers are needed for short shifts during the setup: Friday March 22nd 12-5, and Saturday March 23 10-5.  Lunch will be provided for volunteers on Saturday.

Volunteers are also needed for the sale on Sunday from 9-4

Contact David if you can volunteer:  davidfbuchanan@gmail.com