Music Column for March – Scott Farrell, Acting Music Director

I would like to share something with all of you. I was standing on the platform during the service this last Sunday, directing the choir, and this wave of “you belong here” washed over me. It was palpable and powerful. When I decided to apply for the position here at Westside less than three months ago, I did so because I had  been feeling an inner prompting to become more involved in my local community, and having been exposed to Unitarian Universalism a bit in my past, WSUU felt like it might be a good fit with my spiritual and social justice beliefs. What I didn’t expect was the profound sense of welcome and encouragement I have felt here over the past weeks. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and embrace of me as your new Acting Music Director. I feel truly blessed to have found you all!

My personal vision for my time at Westside is to make music here a joyful, inclusive, life-affirming experience. All indigenous cultures sing and make music together, and I believe participating in music to be a core need we have as human beings in community … something we have sadly neglected in our society today. There is already an incredible richness of opportunities for musical involvement here, and I am looking forward with excitement to encouraging even more enrichment with different experiences in the months to come.

This next Sunday, March 10th, from 12:30 to 2:30 in the sanctuary, I will be presenting the first in a series of singing workshops, “Music Reading for Everyone.” We’ll be decoding what appears on a piece of music, singing a bit, and having fun. If you love to sing, have thought of maybe joining the choir but the “I don’t read music” thing has intimidated you, come explore. If you’ve opened the hymnal during the service and can barely figure out how to map out the lyrics, this workshop is for you too! Future workshops will be entitled “Singing Skills for Everyone” and “Singing Harmony for Everyone.” The “Everyone” is on purpose. It means you too.

On March 17th, while the older youth are leading the service upstairs, I’ll be taking my inner child downstairs to share some fun rhythm, movement, and musical experiences with the younger folks for their Chalice Chapel experience. I’ve had lots of experience working and playing with kids and am so happy to have this opportunity to join these young people in creating new ways of exploring the music that lives in all of us.

I’ve had a crash course in becoming the Acting Music Director here, and I want to especially thank Lisa Maynard, Shannon Day, Rev. Alex Holt, and Rev. Cynthia Westby for their knowledge, patience, and encouragement. I also want to thank the Westside Choir, musicians and technical crew for helping me navigate these new waters. It truly takes a village, and we are fortunate indeed in having leaders and members like this to pull us all together! Spring is springing, and now is the perfect time to allow your inner singer (you’ve got one) to resurrect and poke its voice out into the sun. Sing! You’ll be richer for it.

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