Throughout my time at UUCWC as Director of Music Ministry, I’ve asked myself why it’s so hard to find instrumentalists who are willing to play for a worship service. How do we get members/friends of the congregation to use their instrumental talents? How can we remove the dust that covers the case of a once well-used trumpet or violin?
Many years ago, there were a few brass players that formed a brass ensemble when I asked them to accompany the choir for Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata on Christmas Eve. The “Unibrassitarians” played for services periodically until a few members needed to leave the group. These were “hidden musicians” who were discovered and encouraged to reclaim their instruments from the attic. Since then, some instrumentalists have come out of “hiding” and played solos or accompanied the choir. I wish more musicians would make themselves known and offer to play.
I’ve reached out to find young musicians who play an instrument in their school or adults who may have played in the past. Often, the response is that they don’t want to play because they’re “not quite good enough to play in church.” I assured them that I believe that no service should become so “professional” musically that freshness, spontaneity, and spiritual enthusiasm are not fostered or allowed to happen. I enjoy and see a need for our congregation to use a diverse approach to music in worship.
In my opinion, there is no better supportive, nurturing, loving, or sympathetic community than a church. Musicians can find fertile soil in which to take root to grow musically, spiritually, and enthusiastically. If mistakes are made or memory lapses occur, they will learn and know the unconditional love of UUCWC. You won’t find a safer place to “re-find” your music from within! Instead of being just nice “special music,” this music becomes a ministry, plus a real boost to another musician who might say, “If s/he can play in church, then so can I.”
I want to encourage anyone who sings or plays an instrument to use their talents now and not wait until they’ve become “perfect.” Even professional musicians are not perfect!! I may have a degree in music, teaching experience, and the ability to play and sing myself, but I make mistakes all the time (anyone who has come to a service when I play piano can attest to this!). It is my hope that anyone who wishes to offer their musical talents to a service will know that those gifts are received with gratefulness and admiration…not only for their ability, but, for their bravery in trying. It is also my hope that what I consider my spiritual gift of encouragement and empowering people musically will excite them about being part of our music ministry.
Summer services are a perfect time to give it a try. With one service and many times a more relaxed worship service, many people feel it’s easier to risk! In the next few weeks there will be a “Musician Talent Survey” in your Order of Service. Please fill out the survey and place it in the offering plate. I will be in touch with you and explore how you might “play” a part in UUCWC’s Music Ministry.
Cary Tipton, Director, UUCWC Music Ministry