Tagged: “Music”

Sound Improvement

The UU Church in Meriden, Connecticut is a small congregation with a small residential home as a church building.   We need a portable sound system with enough power and volume to use for outdoor services and concerts.  We are currently holding worship services outdoors on our front porch and front lawn due to the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the recent increase in severity of the virus and updated public health recommendations.

Our church building is on a residential street that gets a modest amount of traffic, but behind our property is a major Interstate highway with a constant rumble (at best) and roar (at worst) of traffic noise.

We have a sound system built into the sanctuary with speakers and multimedia throughout the building. This is wonderful when we can use the sanctuary, but the sanctuary is small with a capacity of 50 people. Public health recommendations currently have us holding services outside as meeting indoors with masks and social distancing would severely limit our capacity.

The only sound system we have that we can use outside is an old 25-watt guitar amplifier with a microphone. It’s far from ideal and far from loud enough, so we have been borrowing small portable sound systems.  It looks like outdoor services will be the norm for the fall. Given the pandemic, we may need to be outdoors in the spring as well.  Many of our members are having trouble hearing due to competing noise and lack of amplification power.

During the last year we produced a successful series of online concerts and in person outdoor concerts as fund-raisers.  The live, in person concerts have required artists to bring their own sound system. It would help us continue this small but important income stream if we had a portable sound system with enough power to get over the traffic noise.

We are looking at the Electro-Voice Evolve 30M Portable Column PA System – 1000-watt Portable Powered Column System with 8-channel Digital Mixer, 10″ LF Driver, 6 x 2.8″ HF Drivers, DSP, Onboard Effects, and Bluetooth.   Retail price is $1299.

Our board of trustees has approved a grant from our Memorial Fund and along with some fundraising last year, we already have $600. We need to raise $700 more.  Your kind gift will help us reach our goal!

The UU Church in Meriden began as a Universalist congregation in the 19th century.  We are the only Unitarian Universalist congregation between Hartford and New Haven along route 91.  We promote Unitarian Universalism and represent our tradition in our social justice work, which includes raising thousands of dollars to assist our undocumented neighbors during the pandemic, support of Moral Mondays Connecticut, and housing an undocumented scholar from Indonesia and his wife in sanctuary.  A sound system of our own is a necessity to keep the voice of our liberal faith alive in central Connecticut.

ALAY: Support and Solidarity with Indigenous Communities

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

Unitarian Universalists in partnership with Indigenous communities are organizing a mutual aid fundraiser to provide immediate food relief to 500 families in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon regions of the Philippines. Indigenous communities have been hard hit by the pandemic lockdowns, experiencing a loss of work, and more extreme hunger.

Grounded in long-term relationships, our community ministry is centered on decolonizing, cultural exchange, and led by Dr. Grace Nono, a UU aspirant for the ministry and founder of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a collective with over 25 years of partnerships. The Philippines has a unique history as the largest historical colony of the United States of America and the organic development of Unitarian Universalism since 1955.

Donors are also invited to attend a special fundraising concert:

ALAY: Support and Solidarity with Indigenous Communities
Cultural Performance and Fundraiser
with Dr. Grace Nono
Via Zoom and FB Live

Philippines: Saturday, July 31st 9:30 am to 11:30 am
USA: Friday, July 30th 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm Eastern time
RSVP: tinyurl.com/alay2021

COVID-19 continues to devastate the livelihood and threaten the future of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, communities that are also on the frontlines of land struggles, climate change, and long-standing socio-economic inequalities. Join us via Zoom or FB Live for ALAY (offering), a unique cultural performance by Dr. Grace Nono in support of selected Dumagat, Ati and Samu Dilaut (Badao) Indigenous communities in the Philippines that have been adversely affected by the lockdowns.

Grace will be performing songs that draw from over two decades of relationships with culture bearers/ mentors, and solidarity with a number of communities through the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts. Funds will support food assistance for over 500 households. The Center for Organizing, Renewal, and Leadership, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Metro Manila, DRUUMM Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Humanist Alliance Philippines International and more are co-sponsoring this fundraising concert.

The Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts is a registered non-profit organization founded by Dr. Grace Nono, dedicated to contribute to the collective task of reclaiming, honoring, and revitalizing indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the postcolonial/ neocolonial times. Since 1994, the foundation has engaged with various communities through scholarships for indigenous students, cultural publications, the Agusan del Sur–School of Living Traditions, and the Himig Ninuno Philippine Traditional Music Webinar Series.

Dr. Grace Nono is an aspirant for the Unitarian Universalist ministry, recently studying at Yale Divinity School. Born and raised in the river valley of Agusan, Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Philippines, Grace Nono is an ethnomusicologist, music-performing artist, and cultural worker. Grace completed her PhD through NYU’s Ethnomusicology Program, has taught at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Miriam College, and Harvard Divinity School. She has published works including The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines, winner of the 2009 National Book Awards (Arts), and Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers, winner of the 2014 Gintong Aklat Award (Arts and Culture) and 2014 Catholic Book Award (Spirituality).

Mattatuck UU Society Keyboard

The Mattatuck UU Society is moving. Our upright piano is not worth keeping. We are buying an electric piano/keyboard. We have a small but growing congregation and music ministry. The keyboard costs less to buy and maintain, is easier to move, has a variety of tones, is easier to record with, and can be used outside.

The Mattatuck UU Society (MUUS) took advantage of quarantine and online worship services to begin the search for new, more permanent space to house the congregation. We stopped renting from a local congregational church and are zeroing in on our next location.  While renting over the last few years, we were able to use the piano and keyboard in the sanctuary of the church where we rented. Our own upright piano was kept in the church office (one of our rented rooms).  As we prepare to move into a new location, we realized that our piano is not in good shape.  We also realized that we may be having services outside for a while until it is safe for everyone to gather inside together and that requires a portable keyboard.  We decided to replace our upright and fill our needs for a portable keyboard with a new instrument that will meet both needs.   Our first outdoor service was May 23, 2021 and we are borrowing keyboards from other local congregations.  We are hoping to have our own instrument when we begin the next program year in September 2021.

Our Keyboard project stakes its claim to our faith in the uniqueness of Unitarian Universalist worship.  Our living tradition has it’s own hymnals, music for the most part not found in standard Christian hymnals.  UU music makes use of secular, folk, gospel, world and other traditions as well as hymns in a more traditional style.  A new keyboard is able to replace the piano with a digitally reproduced sound indistinguishable from a real piano and at the same time is able to sound like an organ or other instruments, giving our music program the range it needs for various styles in one instrument.

Choral singing is widely recognized as being good for the body, mind and soul. It is a ministry not only to those listening, but to those singing.  Our UU tradition seeks to be ever more broadly inclusive and music breaks down barriers.  Our UU tradition is becoming ever more cooperative as groups work together to share resources and even staff. During the pandemic, MUUS produced joint service along with our congregation in Meriden, CT.  Part of this collaboration included a choir comprised of members of both churches, both accompanists, and even participants from the local community who didn’t belong to either congregation or any congregation. Our UUOne cooperative, community choir helped us reach out to local musicians.  One singer has spoken with the minister about getting involved more in the cooperative music program as in person worship resumes.

Lift our voices with a new sound system

Stretch Goal Added: $3,000

See description below

Be a part of our return.

We are the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson, Mississippi.  Since 1951, UUCJ has been a voice of liberal religious expression and social justice in our state.

Like churches everywhere when the 2020 pandemic struck, our church had to cease in-person gatherings. We began to livestream our services for the first time. Our church is small, with no equipment for creating video or for streaming, so we borrowed what was needed from our congregation: A webcam from one member, a laptop from another, cords and cables from all over. It wasn’t pretty, and there was a huge learning curve at first, but we did okay.

Streaming our services kept our congregation together during the stress and isolation of the pandemic. It also helped our church reach a wider audience than we ever thought possible. So we decided to continue streaming once in-person services resumed. To do that, our church needed to purchase its own video equipment.

Then, right on cue, our aging sound system began to die. Now, we needed an all-new video and audio system, and quickly.

After much research, we found a reasonably-priced, expandable setup including a mixing board, speakers, cameras, a laptop, and assorted stands and cords that would give us a PA system and allow us to keep live streaming once our church resumes in-person services in the near future.

Our congregation members have already raised almost $1700 towards this project! With an additional $2000 raised through Faithify, UUCJ can purchase the new A/V equipment we badly need. Please give what you can to help bring our church’s services back in-person and online for now and into the future.

Thank you!

Unitarian Universalist Songleaders Convergence 2020

UPDATE May 1 : DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED. ANY PLEDGES MADE WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. THANK YOU.


UPDATE 4/29:  It is with heavy hearts that we must share with you that the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Annual Conference in Ann Arbor has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time in 38 years that we will not gather together to share our riches of talent and friendship. Read the full statement here.


We’re excited to bring the Songleaders Convergence back to the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Conference to share skills, best practices, wisdom, and of course, songs! The Convergence offers days of learning and networking to nurture a deeper culture of community singing in our congregations and wider community.

We’re asking our wider UU community to help us with a match grant. A match grant means that if we meet our $6,000 goal, the UU Funding program will match it with ANOTHER $6,000! This means if you give $20, you’re actually contributing $40! 

We’re inviting songleaders from across our Faith and all those who love community singing to converge for what promises to be a transformative gathering of resonance, harmony, and rhythm. The Convergence scholarship opportunities are aimed at making it possible for new leaders and participants of color who may not otherwise have the chance to participate to be with us in a community of growth and welcome.

Money raised will provide scholarships for leaders and participants of color and for first time attendees to the AUUMM Conference. 

What can attendees expect?

  • Confident & invitational songleading
  • Songleading for worship and in the streets
  • Deepening cultural context, story, worship, and preaching through songleading
  • Harmony singing, vocal technique, circle songs, and more!

Who’s invited?

  • Ministers and seminarians
  • Religious Educators
  • Choir members and singers
  • Musicians both professional and recreational
  • Anyone leading or wanting to lead songs in worship, around the dinner table, at the board meeting, or in the streets
  • You!

Let the Music Play!

Minnesota Valley UU Fellowship is blessed to have a vibrant music program and an energetic new music staff. With new staffing and new programming comes the need for new music. Some music can cost up to $2.50 per booklet of sheet music; with 20+ choir members, costs can add up quickly.

Staff and the music committee have been working hard going through our files to assess what music is still relevant in keeping and making room for new pieces. Your generosity will help in really lifting our new music program to new heights

Songleaders Convergence- Update

The Convergence brought in new people to the organization and expanded our mission and our organization in powerful ways. 

New Music for...

UU Nashua, NH gathered to remember and honor the Campbell family with a graveside dedication and blessing for the new marker on their previously unmarked grave.

Songleaders Convergence

The 1st UU Songleaders Convergence will be a gathering for songleaders of all kinds to share skills, best practices, wisdom, and of course, songs. We’ll gather for a week of learning and networking, to nurture a deeper culture of community singing in our congregations and wider community.

We’re inviting songleaders from across the faith and all those who love community singing to converge for a what promises to be a transformative gathering of resonance, harmony, and rhythm. In order to make this the powerful and historic gathering that we’re envisioning, we’re asking our wider UU community to fund $5,000 for scholarships for leaders and participants of color, and for first time attendees to the Musicians Conference. We’ve received a $5,000 matching grant from the UU Funding Program, which means that if we make our goal, there will be $10,000 available for these scholarships!

Workshops & Sessions

  • Confident & invitational songleading.
  • Songleading for worship and in the streets.
  • Deepening cultural context, story, worship, and preaching through songleading.
  • Harmony singing, vocal technique, circle songs, and more!

Who’s invited?

  • Ministers and seminarians.
  • Religious Educators
  • Choir members and singers ‘only-in-the-shower’.
  • Musicians both professional and amateur.
  • Anyone leading or wanting to lead songs in worship, around the dinner table, at the board meeting, or in the streets.
  • You!

The Songleaders Convergence will be part of the annual gathering of the Association of UU Music Ministries. Some programming, events, and worship will be shared in plenary with the rest of the musicians’ conference. Many events and workshops will be tracked specifically for songleaders.

We’re particularly excited to have this scholarship money available to make this convergence as accessible as possible for new leaders and participants of color.

Convergence Planning Team
Sofia Betancourt, Assistant professor at Starr King Seminary
Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout, Director of Worship and Music at First UU of Ann Arbor
Sara Green, Youth and Young Adult of Color Ministry Associate at the UUA
Matt Meyer, Director at Sanctuary Boston

New Music for a Progressive Faith: “Open Doors”

STRETCH GOAL ADDED: $5,000  see details below

“Open Doors” is a full-length album of original songs that will share Unitarian Universalism with music-lovers, social activists and progressive faith congregations.

Emily Joy spent a year meditating on our Principles (7 of them, going on 8!) and creating a song exploring each one as it lives in the world.  The music has been shared at several UU churches, and house concerts on the East Coast.

The songs are engaging and inspiring both inside and outside the UU context.  The album can be interpreted as music for social and environmental justice and/ or as music celebrating and illuminating the UU Faith, due to the unique focus of our Principles. Through sharing this new music, we will also be sharing Unitarian Universalism, creating a new avenue to connect with our congregations.

Emily has been a versatile professional musician for over two decades- this recording will be her second full-length album. Her first, “Front Porch” is available on iTunes, Amazon and Youtube. Your donation will go to paying for mixing “Open Doors” and fairly compensating the professional musicians involved for their work.

Music is the glue that holds us together, inside and out.  It builds community. It makes us stronger.

Thanks for making this happen!

UUMN Matching Grant

Healthy congregations are singing congregations! Congregations with thriving, vibrant music programs help us articulate our Unitarian Universalist identity because what we sing is who we are. The experience of music in worship – especially congregational singing – is what defines us for most people in the pews, because it’s the primary way they participate in the worship service. Growing resources that strengthen music ministry in our congregations is one of the easiest growth strategies we could possibly devise. But what do our congregations actually need in terms of resources, and how do we assess those needs?

In 2017, the UU Musicians Network received a grant from the UU Funding Program to fund a comprehensive survey of music programs in Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout North America, with the goal of identifying specific needs for resources and support. In order to best serve music ministry in our congregations, we need to know what’s actually happening in those congregations in terms of music programming and staffing. Our 1,000+ congregations vary wildly in their approaches to music ministry, and gaining practical knowledge of these approaches is crucial for determining institutional support for music ministry from both the UUMN and the UUA. The goal of this project is simple – to spend a year collecting as much data related to music ministry in our congregations as is possible. We need to know:

  • Music program staffing (Volunteer? Paid? Hours per week worked? Relationship style with clergy? Participant in worship planning?),
    Program Details (Choirs? Number of singers in each choir? Children’s programming? Other musical ensembles? Piano/organ/other instrumentation?)
  • Budget for salaries and programs
  • Repertoire (Which hymnal(s) used? Musical styles/traditions engaged? Needs/hopes for new music?)
  • Is the person responsible for music ministry in the congregation a member of UUMN? If so, what’s the value of membership? If not, why not? Is UUMN membership/conference attendance supported through professional expenses? Is membership (and subsequent adherence to the UUMN code of ethics) a requirement of employment?
  • Liturgical realities (Number of musical works in typical Sunday service? How does worship space support/hinder music ministry? What’s the typical worship planning process?

The UU Musicians Network is working with the Rev. Jason Shelton (composer, choral director, and music minister-at-large) to carry forward and complete the survey which is at the halfway point of completion. In order to finish the project, which will culminate in a series of reports to the UUMN Board and annual conference, and the leadership of the UUA, we need your help!

This FAITHIFY campaign will unlock a $5,000 matching grant from the UU Funding Panel, and those funds will be used to complete the project outlined above, resulting in an incredibly valuable collection of data that will shape the course of our faith community’s music ministry for years to come.

Help Us Release Our Fundraising CD “If I Knew The Way”

Always seeking  new sources of fundraising, we thought why not give folks some music from our church that they could take home with them? We have captured some wonderful performances of UUCE’s singers and instrumentalists including our handbell choir and our newly revitalized vocal choir. We are asking for your help to bring this project to fruition so we can sell it to help fund our church’s programs and dreams.

At UUCE we are fortunate to have many talented musicians. Music used in our worship draws on a diverse array of sources ranging from UU minister, Rev. Meg Barnhouse and Emma’s Revolution to the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sam Cooke and even The Grateful Dead!

Every song on this project has been featured in worship at our church–some going back many years and some as recent as the last few months. They all embrace UUism in some form and they all bring an uplifting, positive message.

Parts of the project that have been donated:

  • Time and talents of the performers
  • Many hours of studio time, including engineering, editing and mixing
  • Album art

The objective of this campaign is to pay for:

  • Licensing the music so the writers and composers get their fair share
  • Mastering the final mixes to get the most sparkle and punch from our music
  • Duplicating 300 CDs, including printing Earth-friendly Ecopack covers and full color imprint on disc
  • Printing and loading music and art on 50 flash drives

Funding this final phase of our project will enable us to realize 100% of our sales as profit. With your help we can sell our music and fund our dreams!

In addition to CDs the flash drives will contain the music in both mp3 and high resolution (44.1K) format to accommodate the folks who no longer buy CDs. As a bonus the drives will offer additional data storage space.