From Markus Grae-Hauck, Music Director
You may have heard the rumors, and they are true: our Assistant Music Director, Stearns Matthews, has accepted an offer from the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship (MUUF) to serve as their Interim Music Director, starting April 2, 2018. He will still be around UU Montclair for such occasions as the Installation Service for our Senior Co-Ministers (Sunday, April 15) and the All ReqUUest Cabaret hour (Saturday, May 19), and we hope to bring him back in the future whenever possible – but he will no longer be regularly present for our Sunday morning services.
Although we are planning to honor Stearns’s contributions to our congregation in the services on Easter Sunday (April 1), I feel it is important to put in writing how integral he has been to the growth of the music program at UU Montclair. Stearns began working here in the fall of 2013, initially as a section leader in the choir and soloist during worship services. He has continued to serve in these capacities, but soon expanded the scope of his work here. As a proficient pianist, Stearns has made it possible for me to occasionally step away from the keyboard and play guitar or bass. He has filled in for me entirely on Sunday mornings, run choir rehearsals, worked with our teenagers on the music for the Coming of Age and Senior Youth services, and contributed many great ideas to worship planning. One of the highlights of his tenure here was organizing and hosting the cabaret night two years ago. Fletcher Hall was packed to capacity; and if you were there, you probably remember a spectacular evening of musical variety and quality that raised the roof.
Throughout all of it, Stearns has been an exemplary team player, serving with grace and humor, and becoming good friends with many members of the congregation and staff (myself included).
While very sad to see him go, I am thrilled about this new chapter in Stearns’s career. It has been a joy to see his skills and confidence grow during the past 4½ years; this step is both a natural conclusion to one chapter of his journey and an exciting beginning for the next one.
We will miss you, Stearns.