From time immemorial – or, to be more exact, since 1983 – the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN) has hosted a summer conference. This annual meeting is attended by conductors, instrumentalists, choir members, ministers, composers, and others who are passionate about developing the musical life of UU congregations.*
The four-and-a-half day gathering follows a format similar to the annual General Assembly (GA), although of course on a smaller scale. The program is filled with plenary sessions, group workshops, business meetings, choir rehearsals; and each day begins with a worship service. Most important though are the countless informal opportunities to meet other UU’s and swap ideas, stories, and resources. It is a time rich with connection, laughter, and inspiration.
When I came to interview for the position at UU Montclair two years ago, our intrepid Music Committee had already budgeted money for the specific purpose of sending the new music director to the UUMN conference each year. It was one of many indicators that showed me I had come to the right place. Recognizing the importance of professional development and its benefits for the congregation speaks of considerable foresight.
I could easily fill most of this newsletter just by describing the music I heard and sang during this year’s conference in San Diego, CA. But as somebody once said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture; so instead you will get to listen to some of these choral and instrumental compositions in our own worship services. And the hymns! UU composers are writing new anthems for congregational singing, and many of them are incredible. I plan to introduce some of them to you in the months to come.
Whether your summer has been recreational, rejuvenating, or simply restful – whatever you need it to be – I’m excited to reconnect with you in September. We have much to
look forward to.
*Next year’s UUMN conference will be in Boston (somewhat close to home for us), and the registration fee is very reasonable. If you are interested in attending, mark your calendars for July 22-26, 2015.