Musical Musings 05-21: UUCC’s youth musicians shine with Bach, Billy Joel, and more!

Music Notes – Sunday, May 21st:   

This week’s musicians are Cecilia Gonzalez, Sophia Glesius, May Hunsaker, Anya Ustin, UUCC Music Director Mike Carney, and UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley


Opening Music: Vienna – Joel

“Vienna” is a song by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and 5-time Grammy Award-winner Billy Joel (b. 1949) that was released in 1977 on Joel’s album The Stranger. The song was not released as a single, but Joel himself said in an interview that it is one of his two favorite songs that he has written, the other being “Summer, Highland Falls”.


Opening Hymn: #354 We Laugh, We Cry – Denham

A native of Cincinnati, Shelley Jackson Denham (1950-2013) was a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, composer and performer. No fewer than six of Shelley’s hymns can be found within our two hymnbooks, including the joyfully rolling “We Laugh, We Cry” (#354 in Singing the Living Tradition), which she composed in 1980.


Centering Music: Selection from 1st Suite for Violoncello Solo – Bach

Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed his six Suites á Violoncello Solo senza Basso (Suites for cello solo without bass) between 1717 and 1723 while living in Köthen, Germany. Bach divided each of the cello suites into an identically ordered set of six movements, each movement based on a traditional dance.


Offertory Music: How Far I’ll Go – Miranda

“How Far I’ll Go” is a song by American composer, performer playwright, and filmmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda (b. 1980), who is most famously known as the creative force behind Hamilton: An American Musical (2015) and the as songwriter and composer for the Walt Disney animated films Moana (2016) and Encanto (2021). “How Far I’ll Go” (from the Moana soundtrack) has a forward-facing message of anticipation and hope for richer experiences to come, and is sung in the film by the main character (Moana), voiced by American actress and singer Auliʻi Cravalho (b. 2000). The song received nominations for both Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song, but lost both to “City of Stars” from La La Land. However, “How Far I’ll Go” did win the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media and is a beloved song for our youth and millions of others around the globe.


Closing Hymn: #1051 We Are… – Barnwell

 #1051 in Singing the Journey, “We Are…” was composed by Ysaye Barnwell (b. 1946) for Sweet Honey in the Rock. “We Are…” was originally the last song in a suite that began with the lyric, “Lawd, it’s midnight. A dark and fear filled midnight. Lawd, it’s a midnight without stars.” Dr. Barnwell wanted to create a complete circle of experience, and so she wrote “for each child that’s born, a morning star rises…” This phrase is meant to establish hope, and it defines the uniqueness of each one of us. No matter what our race, culture or ethnicity, each one of us has been called into being and are the sum total of all who came before. In the composer’s words, “Each and every one of us stands atop a lineage that has had at its core, mothers and fathers and teachers and dreamers and shamans and healers and builders and warriors and thinkers and, and, and…so in spite of our uniqueness, we come from and share every experience that human kind has ever had. In this way, we are one. (from

                                                          -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director