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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Unitarian Universalist Musicians' LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
3:24 pm
Question about salary and duties
YAY!  I'm so glad I found this community!  I had no idea this was here.

Just curious if we have any Music Directors in this group.  I have a question about salary and expected job duties that go with certain salaries.  My church is trying to say that my job is 1/4 time with a $5,600 salary for next year.  Our membership is probably around 150.  My dad, who is the finance chair is arguing heavily for me that they should not expect me to work 1/4 time for that amount and they should not call the position 1/4 time.  Is there anyone in this community who knows more about this topic or could lead me to finding some official information as to what the expectations should be for church music directors?  Our music committee already has a salary chart, but no explanations as to what the duties are.

By the way, my current job description is choir director, and I get paid $50 per event.  So each Wednesday rehearsal (just 1 adult choir) I get $50 and we sing 2x a month at services, so that's a total of about $300 a month (usually more in December because we sing more).  Over the summer, I get nothing because the choir takes summer off.  Since I'm only paid per-event, they don't take taxes out for me, which is kinda rough on me (I wish they did so I wouldn't have to pay every year).  I'm broke enough as it is.  :(  Last year I think I made around $3,500 with this job (I'm a grad student and a preschool teacher part-time as well), and my job duties were just with the choir, not arranging for special music or anything like that.  Our music committee does that.  Now the question is, what job duties should I be expected to do as they (gradually) raise my wages?

Thanks in advance,


Thursday, May 1st, 2008
4:00 pm
Blessing of the Animals music
While I'm here, I may as well ask.

Our congregation has a "Blessing of the Animals" service coming up next month, and I'm helping with the music selections.

Have you participated in such a service? What kind of music did you do?

To give you an idea, I guess the music used at a past service (before my time) included songs like "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," and songs that were pre-recorded. We won't have a piano/organ set up for the service, unless I bring in a keyboard. But hand instruments are a possibility. I'm looking for a guitar player, but people in the congregation are shy about playing before a group.

Share your animal friendly music here.
3:53 pm
Vincent Brown Silliman 2008 Choral Anthem Competition
For those of you who are members of the UUMN, or FUUSE network, you've probably heard about the Silliman Choral Anthem competition for 2008.

For those of you who haven't, here's a head's up about what's going on in the UU music world.

Underneath the cut, to save bandwith.Collapse )
Sunday, January 13th, 2008
8:20 pm
"The Great Debaters" historic music contest
I posted this before on debunkingwhite, but apparently no one was interested in getting a CD of original African American music from the '30's for free. It looks like there may as yet be only 2 winners out of 20 prizes - contest info here.

I received my CD, though I haven't seen the movie yet and hope I can find the time (I rarely go to the theater). The 14-page booklet that came with the CD tells about how Denzel Washington, who was also one of the producers, looked for authentic music for the movie. They also found artists who specialize in reproducing those sounds. It tells about the artists and a little history on each song. The last two pieces of the 17 on the CD are actually historic recordings. The last one by Marian Anderson.

If you don't want this free CD, please pass on the word to people who might be interested in historic African American music.
Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
12:31 am
New UU YouTube Music Video
Song written and used with permission by Linda Olson Peebles. Singers are Joyce Dowling and Sharon Crestwell and pianist is Nancy Dalzell from Davies Memorial UU Church. It's not as good quality as I'd like, but I spent hours on editing it. I hope it's useful in spreading the word as I have a few web pages that are found with the terms "signed songs". The sign language is not ASL, it's PSE, otherwise known as Contact Sign or Signed English. If you like Linda's song, buy her CD.

Thursday, November 29th, 2007
12:58 pm
Musical question - and a new member!
Hello everyone!

I found this community after friending redqueenofevil (*waves*), and I had just posted the following in my personal journal. I'm hoping you guys could offer some opinions.

I play piano at a small Unitarian congregation in Studio City, California. The musical director has agreed to have the choir sing hymns I've been writing/arranging.

I was reading "Home with God", a book by one of my favorite writers, Neale Donald Walsch. At the end, he has what I assumed was a poem/lyrics written by him, and as I was reading it, a melody just sort of popped into my head, as they tend to do. I ran to the piano and sketched the framework for a hymn/choral piece, and I've been idly working on it for the past week or so. I started to enter it into Sibelius yesterday with the intention of finishing it, printing the score out, and having the choir at church sing it, with me accompanying on piano, as sort of a test drive before I give them the "real" hymn I've been writing, with both words and music by me. I decided to google the lyrics quickly to see who wrote them, and it turns out it's actually a very famous song - "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha." I listened to an mp3 of Peter O'Toole singing it, and I instantly recognize the melody and music. The words fit perfectly, of course...but they also fit perfectly with the song that I wrote! Do you think they are too famous of lyrics to adapt into a new setting?

"To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star"

Keep in mind that many of the members of the choir are very old and most likely remember this song very well.
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
8:30 pm
GA talk
So there has been talk on other UU forums regarding this year's General Assembly. I thought it was time to put the topic up here, especially since music was a part of GA too.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
6:27 pm
Meeting in Portland
Hi everyone!

Those of you who are going to General Assembly and planning to sing in the choir, take heed! Seating is limited this year, so come early for the first rehearsal to guarantee a seat. Also, there's a typo in the handbook. The fee for the music (according to Leon Burke) is actually $15, not $10.

On a non music related note:

Is anyone interested in a meet-up outside of choir rehearsals? Let's go for it!

I'm 5'5 1/2", sport reddish shoulder length hair (hence my user name), glasses, and most likely, sneakers.

Oh, and I may be working at the UUMN booth in the dealer's room at some point.

How bout you?

Hope to meet you there!
Monday, April 30th, 2007
4:00 pm
General Assembly
I just registered to go to GA. Is anyone here going?

If so, would you be interested in a LJ/UU Musician meetup of sorts?
Monday, November 20th, 2006
9:49 pm
Spreading our message with signed songs?
My personal web site gets a lot of hits for "sign songs". It's #1 or #2 on some searches for "signing songs". UUs who'd like to spread our message via the internet have suggested we do more on YouTube. So I'd be willing to spend some time trying to produce one or more videos by signing songs that would help spread the UU message. I know of several that would be good and am writing to the composers for copyright permission. I will give the artist credit and include the fact that it is copyrighted on the recording. I don't know that I'd use the musician's own recording and just sign it or if I'll sing and sign their song(s). One UU song I have performed, my husband created the instrumentation for on music writing software. If I get copyright permission to use it, I could use my digital camera and play the digitized music as background while I sing and sign. I hope that would work. Since I don't have a band or special recording equipment, does anyone have any other suggestions? The better a production it is, the more attention it would get, I guess. I would link to it from the page that gets the hits for "signing songs." It gets over 30 unique visits per week.
Thursday, October 26th, 2006
6:38 pm
Collector? Still have a turntable?
I'm not a collector & don't have a turntable, but I thought someone here might. I noticed that there's a '60's UU LP on eBay. It says "Distributed by Unitarian Universalist records,Boston, Mass." I didn't know they had a records division. It doesn't say anything about who sings what. That might be nice to know. I just decided to ask the seller, so I'll post here if/when I get a reply and have the time. You could do the same if you're really interested and don't want to wait to hear from me.
Sunday, October 15th, 2006
10:02 pm
Lyrics to "We Laugh We Cry"?
I just visited a UU church for the first time today, and we sang "We Laugh, We Cry" (#354 in the hymnal). I didn't have pen and paper on me; does someone have the lyrics for this song? It moved me so very much.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
2:57 pm
Back from UUMN
Hello everyone,

As you may know, last week was the annual UUMN (Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network) conference in St Paul, MN. Were any of you in attendance as well? If so, please share your thoughts on this year's conference. In fact, with so many gatherings this summer, feel free to share your thoughts on some of the other groups you've attended this summer. From GA to UUMN, to Opus, ConCentric, to family UU camp, the list goes on. One of the reasons for this community is to share our experiences with the UUA, and it's time to stir up the pot for everyone's input.

For members here not a part of UUMN, I encourage each of you to consider joining this group. Feel free to check out uua.org/uumn, or you can ask questions here.

Blessings to you all.
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
2:51 pm
From General Assembly
I posted something about music on my LJ, so I hope you don't mind my reposting it here. I thought you all might be interested.

Free music, humor, and inspiration
...and all in one program (though two media files)!

"*you* may be...

one last spark...

that we *all* need...

to light the whole world."

This is how she ended GA in the Closing Ceremony. I was standing practically behind Meg Barnhouse as I was in the first row of the choir. Now I know better who she is.

You can listen to Meg Barnhouse from Radio Free Bubba. Go to: this web page, look under Friday, June 23 and it's the 4th one down. Her first song, following a musical introduction, was one she wrote for her congregation's 50th anniversary. The lyrics are about having "mango thoughts in a meatloaf town" and says "...we've got a feast for the spirit and feast for the mind" - yes, indeed! Pat Jobe says that if Meg was Gladys Knight, he'd be a Pip. He sings a song he wrote after telling the story about why he composed it on "part B" of the recording on the web page linked above "if you ever start thinking you're Jesus..." and also "if you even start thinking you're Buddha" and other gods (his son said he should have a verse for every one, but there are over 600,000).

I'm buying the cd. Don't know about buying the book, though. I'm waiting to hear more about it.
Friday, June 9th, 2006
11:37 am
The Fruits of My Labors
Thanks to everyone here who offered insight on music for their Flower Communion services! I thought I would share with you what we have come up with for this upcoming service. I would also like to invite you and your friends to attend, if you're in the area. The service music under this cut, if you're interested.Collapse )

Again, thank you for your input, it was very helpful for creating this service. If you're in the LA area, and not busy on Sunday morning, please feel free to attend our service.

The invitation to our service is under this cut. :)Collapse )I hope you have a pleasant weekend. Peace.
Sunday, May 28th, 2006
1:46 pm
Music from UUWorld article
I found the music mentioned in UUWorld's "Singing in the Shadow of Death" on the web with RealPlayer files and lyrics. It's on the Minnesota Public Radio site.

I thought there might be people here who would be interested who might not read chalice_circle. If you'd rather I not cross post, please let me know.
Saturday, March 25th, 2006
10:23 pm
It's not "UU" specific, but since this LJ has been slow... well, I saw/heard this and I thought someone hear might love it, too. The first time I got a lot of drop outs, but then I logged in to vote for this talented young musician and I had no problem listening to it after that.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvHXDSHyRhs
Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
1:24 pm
Hi. My name is Evanne. I live in Houston, Texas and attend Emerson UU Church, where I sing soprano in the choir and the small group vocal ensemble. I attend Houston Community College where I am pursuing an Associates Degree in Nursing and an Associates Degree in Voice.

Emerson has a large and growing music program. There's the regular choir, the small group vocal ensemble, the children's choir, the intergenerational orchestra, the band, the recorder ensemble, and a community of music lovers and musicians. As often as possible, the church lends its space to special music programs such as Guitar Houston and Third Millenium Voices.

On April 1 the choir is giving a concert. The first half will feature solos, duets, and such and also a piece or two by the small group. The second half of the concert is Vivaldi's Gloria. I have the second soprano voice in the third movement soprano duet! I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Something interesting I thought y'all would appreciate is how our congregation is learning hymns from the new supplement. 10 minutes before the Sunday service starts and just prior to the prelude, a member of the choir leads the congregation in learning new hymns, which actually serves more than educational purposes. Not only does the congregation become more familiar more quickly with the songs, but it also lets people know that it's time for the service to begin! Sometimes we have trouble sticking to the schedule (starting late and ending late), and this helps keep us on track.

Current Mood: chipper
Sunday, January 29th, 2006
3:57 pm
Standard Practices for Musical Interludes?
At our congregration, we typically sing two hymns from SLT each week, plus three "musical interludes", which are:

Centering Music right after the Welcome and Announcements, to settle the congregation into a properly reverential mood;
Meditation, which occurs right after a meditative reading and most of the time is performed immediately prior to the Sermon, and
Offertory, which happens while the Offering is being collected. Typically, this is immediately after the Sermon.

If we have an outside guest musician, he/she/they take these three slots, and because it is a "new face" the congregation willingly accepts pieces which are 3 or 4 minutes' duration. When there isn't a guest musician, and it is the accompanist providing the interludes, the congregational and ministerial time-tolerance decreases by quite a bit. Pieces of more than 90 seconds are frowned upon, and G-d help anyone who dares go over 120 seconds! One time, many years and several ministers ago, I did a 4-minute lute piece, and at about 3 1/2 minutes into it, the minister simply stood up and resumed the service, thereby forcing me to come to an improvised conclusion.

My response was very calm: the next time it was my turn in the cycle, a few weeks later, I played 3 very short elementary etudes, not one of which exceeded 25 seconds!! Since then, and with subsequent ministers, the 75- to 100-second guideline has been adhered to closely. Still, this can be a bit artistically stifling.

So that's how it is in Salt Lake City, but how is this matter dealt with at other congregations??
3:17 pm
Beethoven's Ninth chorale
Our Music Director is also part of the Conservatory at Lawrence University. One of her former students is back in Appleton and wants to put on Beethoven's Ninth in our Performing Arts Center. He asked her to recommend some people who might be interested in performing the choral parts. It's a bit scary performing in a large setting like that, but I volunteered. The performance is not until the spring of 2007, but rehearsals will start soon, and pick up as time goes on.

Current Mood: excited
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