Music at UU Middleboro

Music is a pillar of our community at UU Middleboro. We strive to build a musical community, whether that’s congregational or choral singing, sharing a musical offering, or participating in a musical workshop or activity. We invite our members to explore a variety of musical styles, to focus on excellence rather than perfection, to support Sunday Morning worship, and to carry our ministry out into the world. For more information, please contact Susan Hotchkiss at music@uumiddleboro.org.

Music Musings in March

Music Musings in March

On April 6, we have a unique opportunity to hear a world-class jazz concert right in our church! Our former music director, Jeannie Gagné, will be joined by Stan Strickland, Bruce Gertz, and Alberto Netto, all globe-trotting Berklee jazz artists.

Anticipating our jazz concert, I’ve been thinking about Leonard Bernstein’s lectures to young people about music. He debunks the idea of “Classical Music” as static, long-haired, boring, or (worst yet) DEAD. He defines Classical Music as composed European music from about 1750 to 1820. Before that, historically, were Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. After Classical were the Romantic, 20th and 21st century periods.

Bernstein calls this large body of music “Exact,” because it is notated and preserved in history. We performers do our best to play Exact music just as it was written—to honor the composer and provide a bridge back through the centuries.

By contrast, Jazz—an American art form shared throughout the world—is sometimes written down, but it’s hard to notate or read its highly complex syncopation. Most Jazz is loosely notated and not meant to be “exact.” A performer will take a jazz tune and “riff” from it, creating something expansive and unique to the moment in which it is performed. A group of jazz players pass the solo spots around. The players improvise, and the audience applauds during the performance to appreciate the artistry of each soloist. Jazz is a very creative, complex, liberating art form!

On April 6, Jazz Music Night will start at 7:30 p.m., and we hope to pack the house for a rousing success! Tickets are available online through our website: www.uumiddleboro.org. Early-bird special is $20 online through March 20, then $25 online and $30 at the door.

Here’s to music, both exact and improvised!

Susan Hotchkiss, Director of Music

Upcoming Music events

Mar
8
Mar
8
Mar
15
Mar
22
Mar
29

More about Music at UU Middleboro

The Music Committee

The Music Committee is a part of First UU Society of Middleboro, operating under its mission and focused on helping to support our church’s music ministry and music director. It is our intent to help enrich the goals of the Society, including spiritual and personal growth of congregants and outreach to the community at large. We strive to help build a program of inclusivity as well as excellence. We wish to promote diversity, creativity, fun, fellowship, and community through music.
(Statement of Purpose, revised May 2023)

Members of the Music Committee:

Dody Adkins-Perry
Katie Allen
Cindy Benard
Valerie Fontaine
Bet Giddings
Nicola Wilbar

Our Music Makers: Singers and Instrumentalists

The Chalice Choir is open to all and sings every other Sunday, making room for other solos and ensembles to share their musical offerings on alternate Sundays. Tuesday evenings are set aside for choir rehearsal from 7:00-8:30. Sunday morning is set aside for musicians to prepare for worship.

As needed, we form Caring Choirs to visit members and friends who are shut in and would like to hear or sing music from our two hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey. Larger Caring Choirs participate in programs for nursing homes, shelters, and community events. Caroling is always a popular activity.

We support music in children’s Religious Education by sending choir members into Sunday morning classes and creating a Family Choir for special services during the year.  

We have many fine instrumentalists in our congregation who share their gifts in worship as well as for fundraising activities. Instruments include guitar, ukulele, mandolin, flute, recorder, crumhorn, trumpet, percussion, double bass, and hammered dulcimer. We are open to more!

Our Instruments

Installed in the chancel, we have an historic Woodberry & Harris tracker organ, circa 1890. The original manual pump was replaced with a motor when Middleboro Main Street was wired for electricity. There are two manuals (Swell and Great) plus a 27-note pedal board, and the mechanism is fully mechanical. The organ was most recently refurbished by Andover Organ Company in 2014 and is listed in the Organ Historical Society Database.

In the spring of 2019, the church purchased a new Mason & Hamlin baby grand piano. This piano was hand-made in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and produces state-of-the-art depth and quality of sound.