Music at UU Middleboro

February Music Musings

February Music Musings

In January, the church “music department” was all excited about news of the Clay Family Gift and what it might mean for music at UU Middleboro. The gift is $100,000 in memory of Avis Clay, beloved member and longtime supporter of music and the arts. Up to $20,000 will be used to renovate and rename the Parlor, with the remainder to go into an endowment fund. The interest income from this fund will be used for music at UU Middleboro. 

Members of the choir, alumni choir, music committee, and other active musicians were invited to brainstorm and collect ideas for the future. What could an endowed music program at UU Middleboro look like? How can we build a sustainable program? How can we best support the church? What does it mean to have a music ministry, and where will it take us? If anybody would like to see this collection of ideas, please let me know, and I will share with you a one-page brainstorming summary. It could easily be a year before we have funds, but between now and then we have some good possibilities for choosing a focus.

We have a unique church music program because so many of our members and friends are musicians. Whereas many churches no longer have choirs, our Chalice Choir is full. Rather than coming to church to be entertained, we come to make a joyful noise. We celebrate a broad taste in musical style and a healthy respect for one another’s accomplishments. We strive to complement our worship services and continually find room for growth. For years we have focused on building a musical community, and there is no lid on this excellence. 

One person who has been working for years to support our UU musical community is Linda Thompson. Linda is a charter member of the current Music Committee which she started per instructions from the Parish Committee 33 years ago! Linda has just announced her “retirement” from the committee, and I want to thank her for stellar leadership, not just in music but in so many other areas of church life. Thank you, Linda Thompson!

Susan Land Hotchkiss, Director of Music

Upcoming Music events

More about Music at UU Middleboro

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 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.