2018 Music Update from Debra Hammond, Director of Music

Dear UUCB Family,

How did it get to be nearly November already?  The summer had me engaged with preparing and presenting two workshops at the annual conference of the Association for UU Music Ministries, formerly the UU Musicians Network.  In the summer of 2017 I became a Certified Specialist of Orofacial Myofunction and have been developing specific programs geared towards vocalists and wind players in teaching the relationships between posture, breathing and specific muscle function.  I was pleased to offer this workshop entitled “The OM of Singing” (get it? OM as in OMMMMM and OM – Orofacial Myology???). Heh heh. OK – it was invigorating to be so well received by my colleagues in this national setting. I was told my workshop was a hot topic and many people went away with many useful techniques to apply to their own work with singers and wind players.  


The second workshop entitled “Get Off The Page” was crafted and presented jointly with my dear friend and colleague Mateo Frisk, Music Director of UU Church of Columbine.  This workshop addressed topics of engaging deeply with the meaning and story underlying the music – as a driving force leading us to SING. We raised some on the edge questions like “when we create context for a song that is outside our own tradition, are we merely giving ourselves permission to sing it? Is that enough?” and “what state changes occur with word substitutions”?  We do it all the time as UUs – we interchange the words Love with God or “Lord” all the time and therefore lose some of the historical context, and so we do dishonor to that music. Why sing it then? What if we went to a Christian church and heard “Spirit of Christ, come unto me”?  Would you be outraged?  Would you feel they had or hadn’t the right to play with the words?  And what music is OURS as UUs?


We played with these state changes interchanging key words and discussed how people felt.  The main point of the workshop is that words hold deep meaning – we must connect with the story and the functionality of the words and how certain modes of music serve to support the underlying emotions and therefore facilitate change in us.


The weekend after I participated in crafting and leading our bi-annual Colorado UU Music Leaders retreat.  It was held at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland and our choral clinician was Nick Page. When I sang a solo for one of his songs, he called me out in front of everyone as a ‘force to be reckoned with”.  Wow, and yikes. I did my heart good to receive applause for this remark from my colleagues, congregants and peers. A lot of work goes into these events and they hold a lot of good space for our singers, instrumentalists and music lovers from our Colorado congregations.  Compared with my experiences in Florida for the ten years I was there (before arriving here with you!) we never met as colleagues, and I feel grateful for the support I receive from my fellow UU musicians leaders across the entire state of Colorado!


At UUCB, our many musical programs for 2018-2019 kicked off on August 30th with a social gathering and overview of the year.  I have created four main outlets for you to participate with us with a clear rotating schedule for ease of scheduling and varying levels of time commitment:

Chancel Choir for teens and adults- rehearses weekly on Thursdays, 7 to 8:30 pm, Sings 1st Sundays and for special services

Chancel Cats Band – rehearses two Thursdays a month, 6 to 7 pm, performs 2nd Sundays

Hearth Singers – strong singers! Leads rounds and mantras interspersed throughout the congregation.  Rehearses 1 Thursday from 6 to 7; Leads music on 4th Sundays.

UUnicorns Youth Choir – rehearses weekly on Sundays from 10:25 to 10:40, Sings 3rd Sundays.  Led by our accompanist Amanda Williams.

Please email me at:   music.uucb@gmail.com for more information if you are interested in joining any of these groups, or if you would like to contribute your talents outside of our organized groups.  


Upcoming Services of Note:

November 18:  Music Sunday with guest artist Jim Scott.

December 21: Winter Solstice Service

December 24: Christmas Eve Services:  4:30 Family Service with UUnicorns. 7:00 PM Formal Service


This music ministry is crafted with you and for you.  It is my every hope and wish to offer you music that engages you, touches and invigorates your heart, mind and soul, and I am proud to have served this congregation for nearly five years!


In music and love –

Debra Hammond, Director of Music