Music of Love—Music of Hope—Music of Change
By Darryl Loiacano
Jennifer Drake and I had the great pleasure to attend the UU Musicians Network Conference this summer in Madison, Wisconsin. It was an inspiring experience for both of us. Sharing “People of Hope” at the Silliman Hymn Contest was only one small part of an amazing four days at the conference.
For me it resulted in a kind of paradigm shift in the way I think about church music. The theme of the conference was “Intentionally Engaging in Radical Collaboration.” The learning focused mainly on the way that all those involved in planning worship services—minister, readers, Sunday service committee, A/V, and musicians—can work together to plan services that are truly transforming for the congregation. But it also got me thinking about the way a song leader and a congregation collaborate every Sunday, right there in the moment, to create a musically inspiring experience.
As part of People’s music program I have seen it as our task to provide such inspiring music on Sunday morning. But now I am thinking of worship service music more as a shared task between congregation, minister and song leader. The idea isn’t as much for me to inspire you, but for us to create an inspiring experience together. Easier said than done? Absolutely, but I think well worth the effort. I am convinced that music at People’s Church can be even better if we are willing to take more risks, to try new things, and to rely a little less on the tried and true on Sunday morning.
I have asked myself why any of this matters. The answer, I think, is that what we take from Sunday services has the ability to nurture and carry us as we seek to live out our UU values. We live in times that are marked by change, uncertainty, conflict and violence. Regardless of who is elected President in November, we will continue to live in a world where people seek to divide us—whether with guns or with a bully pulpit. Our UU values of unity and peace in our diversity are constantly being challenged. My experience on Sunday morning at People’s Church is vitally important to how I navigate these difficult times. I suspect it is for you
It is my sincere hope that our People’s music program can continue to kindle the flame of hope in the world, as well as comfort and inspire us through these challenging times.