Musical Musings: May 9 – 15, 2021

Don’t forget that UUCC will once again host Moises Borges and his Brazilian Jazz Band along with the Mo’ Mojo Band for a fantastic parking lot concert! The event will be in our parking lot at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 29th (rain date is Sunday, May 30th) Come sing and dance along to some wonderful music – you can stay inside your car or bring a lawn chair and enjoy the spring weather. Either way, all audience members will be expected to follow county and state recommendations for safe outdoor gatherings. Don’t miss your chance to join some old and new friends and enjoy a concert in the great outdoors! There is no cover charge, but donations are encouraged and proceeds will go to side musicians who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. You can support the fundraising project on ioby’s website here.

Also, thank you to everyone who attended Good Company’s 25th Anniversary Concert on April 25th on Zoom. If you couldn’t be there but still want to check out the show, a recording is available here.

Music Notes – Sunday, May 9th:  

  • Music 1:  Color and Fragrance – Čapek
  • Music 2:  O Brother Sun – St. Francis of Assisi/Anway
  • Music 3/Offertory: Down to the Earth – Carney/Thoreau
  • Music 4: Rising Green – McDade, arr. Scott & Carney  

#78 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, “Color and Fragrance” was written by Norbert Čapek, a Czech author, poet, activist and minister who brought the Unitarian movement to his native country. Most modern UUs associate “Color and Fragrance with flower communion, a much-loved UU tradition that was first celebrated by Čapek with his home congregation in 1923. The song is defined by its sweet and simple melody and by its lyrical message of hope and promise, both in the beauty of nature and in humankind’s capacity for love and compassion. In this week’s service, “Color and Fragrance” will be led by UUCC Music Director Mike Carney and members of UUCC’s Chancel Choir.

#1066 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook, “O Brother Sun” is based on a well-known poem by St. Francis of Assisi. Sharon Anway wrote these lyrics for the Feast Day of St. Francis and adapted them to the Scottish tune “Ye Banks and Braes” at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cedar Falls, IA, where Sharon is director of Music Ministry and Composer-in-Residence. The St. Luke’s Choir debuted “O Brother Sun” in October of 2002 during that congregation’s annual St. Francis Day service. (from In our service this Sunday, the song will be led by UUCC’s Chancel Choir with Mike Carney on piano. 

“Down to the Earth” is a 2020 composition for men’s voices by UUCC Music Director Mike Carney. The text for “Down to the Earth” comes from journal entries by the American transcendentalist author and poet Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), considered to be one of the forefathers of American environmentalism. “Down to the Earth” uses rhythmic ostinatos and harmonic elements from modern classical, blues, and jazz to reflect Thoreau’s text with an American sensibility. A short contrasting middle section features a tenor soloist and triplet rhythms in a slower tempo before the original rhythmic ostinato and melodic material returns to close the piece. Thoreau’s text is as follows:

In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth.

The earth I tread on is not a dead inert mass. It is a body—has a spirit—is organic—and fluid to the influence of its spirit—and to whatever particle of the spirit is in me.

This Sunday’s performance of “Down to the Earth” is by the men of Good Company: A Vocal Ensemble featuring Corey Sees, tenor soloist.

Written in 1983, “Rising Green” is #1068 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook. The song was written by Carolyn McDade (b. 1935), a self-described songwriter, spiritual feminist, and social activist, who is also the composer of three other UU favorites: “Spirit of Life”, “Come, Sing a Song with Me”, and “We’ll Build a Land”. About “Rising Green”, the composer shares these words: “Earth shakes out a mantle of green—each blade of grass true to the integrity within, yet together with others is the rise of spring from winter’s urging. Our coming is with the grass—the common which persists, unexalted, but with the essence of life. Our humanness, our rhythms and dreams, the faith which nurtures our ardent love and hope for life—all this we share with earth community, of which we are natural and connected beings.” (from The keyboard accompaniment for “Rising Green” was written by Jim Scott, and the choral adaptation you’ll be hearing on Sunday is by UUCC Music Director Mike Carney. Mike and the UUCC Chancel Choir will lead “Rising Green” in this week’s service.  

                                                                    -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director