Musical Musings: June 5 – 11, 2022

Good Company PRIDE Day performance this Saturday

This Saturday, June 4th at 2:00 p.m., Good Company will be singing as part of Cleveland Public Library’s PRIDE Day celebration. After the PRIDE march, come cool off and enjoy this free mini-concert from 2-3 p.m. in the 3rd floor lobby of the main library building (325 Superior Ave., just south of The Mall). Many of your UUCC friends will be singing, including Amy Collins, Leon Michaud, Anne and Steve Sanford, Pam Schenk, and Holly Walker. See you there!

Special pre-service music this Sunday at 10:50

Be sure to arrive early this Sunday, June 5th for special pre-service music from our guest musicians The Calathea Quartet, starting at 10:50 a.m. All the details are in this week’s Music Notes. See you then!

Music Notes

As you (hopefully) know already, we’ll have two services this Sunday, June 5th: our regular 11 a.m. worship service, and a special Installation Service for Rev. Randy Partain at 3 p.m. Both services will include some amazing musicians and music – read on for a double scoop of Music Notes!

Music Notes – Sunday, June 5th (11 a.m. service) 

Musicians: The Calathea Quartet, UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley, and UUCC Music Director Mike Carney.

The Calathea Quartet (Ella Cole, violin I; Aveneesh Polaconda, violin II; Julia Peyrebrune, viola; and Indya Reed, cello) is a chamber ensemble formed from members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Now in its 35th season, The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) is one of only a few youth orchestras in the world that operates under the auspices of a top tier professional orchestra. Each year, COYO provides approximately 100 aspiring young musicians with a unique pre-professional orchestral training experience. Today’s appearance by the Calathea Quartet is part of an ongoing partnership between COYO and UUCC.

Pre-Service Music: “Méditation” from Thaïs – Massenet

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) was a French composer of the Romantic Period who wrote in a variety of forms, but is best remembered today for his operas, the most famous of which were Manon (1884) and Werther (1892). However, Massenet’s most famous melody by far is the music we’ll be hearing on Sunday morning, an instrumental composition titled “Méditation”, which was first performed as an entr’acte between scenes of Massenet’s 1894 opera Thaïs. Originally scored for solo violin with orchestra, “Méditation” has since been adapted for dozens of different solo instruments and ensembles, including piano, organ, harp, cello, voices, and more. This Sunday, we’ll enjoy a string quartet arrangement of this well-loved composition. 

Opening Hymn: #360 Here We Have Gathered – Carpenter

A favorite opening hymn in many UU Congregations, #360 “Here We Have Gathered” is based on a Genevan psalter that dates back to at least the 16th century, juxtaposed with a 20th-century text by UU songwriter Alicia Carpenter (1930-2021). “Here We Have Gathered” is one of 10 hymns in Singing the Living Tradition that were written or co-written by Ms. Carpenter. Some of her other contributions to our hymnal include #6 “Just as Long as I Have Breath” and #300 “With Heart and Mind”.

Centering Music: “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” from Cantata BWV 147 – J.S. Bach 

“Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” (“Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life”) is often referred to as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” or simply as “Joy” and is one of the most familiar melodies ever written. The music, composed in 1723 by Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), comes from a closing chorale movement within a larger Bach cantata also titled Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147).

Meditation Response: There Is a Love – Norton/Parker

“There Is a Love” is a simple but powerfully moving song with words and music by two strong UU women. The music was composed by Elizabeth Norton (b. 1959), who is a performer, composer, and the longtime music director at First Parish (UU) in Concord Massachusetts.  The words were written by the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker (b. 1953), a minister, author and theologian who served as president of the UU Starr King School for the Ministry from 1999 to 2014.

Offertory music: Molto Vivace (III) from String Quartet No. 12 (“American”) – Dvořák

Postlude: Finale (IV) from String Quartet No. 12 (“American”) – Dvořák

Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904) was a nationalist Czech composer of the late Romantic period. His best-known work was his ninth and final symphony, famously known as the “New World” Symphony. In addition to symphonies and other orchestral works, Dvorák also composed operas, concertos, sacred choral works, and a variety of chamber music, which included 15 string quartets. Perhaps the most famous of these string quartets was the String Quartet in F major (Op. 96), which was nicknamed the American Quartet because Dvorák composed it during the summer of 1893, which he spent in the small town of Spillville, Iowa.  

Closing Hymn: Somos el Barco – Wyatt  

“Somos el Barco (We Are the Boat)” is the best-known composition of folk singer and songwriter Lorre Wyatt (b. 1945). A native of New Jersey, Wyatt was also long-rumored to be the original composer of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, a claim Wyatt himself has disavowed. “Somos el Barco”, which has been recorded many artists, including Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul and Mary, is a song of our shared voyage and aspirations to build a better world together.

Music Notes – Sunday, June 5th (3 p.m. service) 

Musicians: Tim Hampton, percussion, The Chancel Choir, Rev. Randy Partain, and UUCC Music Director Mike Carney.

Processional Hymn: #347 Gather the Spirit – Scott

#347 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, “Gather the Spirit” is one of the most familiar and well-loved hymns of our UU faith. The song was written by UU composer, performer, activist, and friend of UUCC Jim Scott (b. 1946), who also wrote and arranged several other songs found in our hymnbooks, including “May Your Life Be as a Song” and “Nothing but Peace Is Enough”.

Opening Hymn: #311 Let It Be a Dance – Masten

“Let It Be a Dance” (#311 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal) was originally written and performed by Ric Masten (1929-2008), a California-based Unitarian Universalist folk singer, songwriter, poet, storyteller, and author. Masten’s song has a natural motion and momentum, and I encourage all of you to let your body move and bend and (of course) dance while you sing along with this song on Sunday morning.

Special Music: Creation of Peace – Miller

American composer, conductor and performer Mark Miller believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Mark’s dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community. Mark serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University (from “Creation of Peace” is an adaptation of Carolyn McDade’s “We’ll Build a Land” (Singing the Living Tradition #121), as favorite of many UUs. 

Special Music: Free – Partain

“Free” is an original composition by UUCC’s Rev. Randy Partain, with choral parts added by UUCC Music Director Mike Carney. In Rev. Randy’s own words: “Free emerged from a vision of authentic covenantal community, paired with feedback from the spiritual development framework we’re calling ‘The Journey’ at UUCC. Some of the specific lyrics might have a deeper meaning to people who have experienced that curriculum, but it’s intended to be a broader invitation into the kind of freedom we hope to create in UU spaces. In my mind, if this vision of freedom is before us — for ourselves and for others — the bold pathway toward Beloved Community becomes clearer.”

Closing Hymn: The Fire of Commitment – Shelton 

Jason Shelton is an award-winning composer, arranger, conductor, song and worship leader, workshop presenter, and coach. He served as the Associate Minister for Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, Tennessee from 1998-2017, and is now engaged in a music ministry at-large, focused on serving the musical resource needs of UU (and other liberal) congregations around the country (from The Fire of Commitment (#1028) is one of many contributions Rev. Shelton has made to our Singing the Journey hymnbook. The unrest of its irregular meter and the insistent rhythmic pulse drive home the call to action that is at the core of the song’s message. 

Postlude: Peace, Salaam, Shalom – Humphries & Opatow 

“Peace, Salaam, Shalom” is a song by Emma’s Revolution, an American folk music/social activist duo comprised of Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow (aka Sandy O), who were each successful folk musicians in their own right before joining forces to create Emma’s Revolution. The group is named in honor of Emma Goldman, a Russian-American feminist, anarchist, and activist from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “Peace, Salaam, Shalom” was written in 2001 for a peace march in New York City following the 9/11 attacks. 

                                                                    -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director