My UUMN Experience (By Melissa Williams)

Music ChaliceSinging alone is beautiful. Singing together is holy.” – Phillip dePoy

This quote truly expresses my experience at the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network Conference in Dallas July 22- 28. Raising my voice in song with 200 other music and choral directors, pianist, instrumentalist and music lovers. As we sang in harmony “There’s a River Flowing in my soul…and its telling me that I’m somebody”, I felt true transformation in that moment. Tears flowing down my cheek and all I could think about was wanting to recreate this moment with my BVUUF family.

During my week I attended workshops on building a music program, multi media usage in services, finding the stillness in worship, UU choral repertoire for adults and youth and so much more. I shared songs with Jason Shelton, David Glasgow and Joyce Poley. Listened to inspiring workshops on Adaptive Leadership from Rev. Sue Phillips – District Exec of the Clara Barton Mass Bay District, Transformational Worship with Rev. Michael Piazza and singing in the final choral concert under the direction of Dr. Paul Tucker, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kansas. So many inspiring moments and I am returning to my home fellowship with pockets full of ideas and inspiration.

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Many of you may not know that last March I requested approval from our Board of Directors and Rev. Lydia to pursue my UU Music Credentialing Certificate through the UUA. As a candidate in this three year program I will be building my connections between my UU values and music as well as deepening the meaning of ministry through music in my own life and through my work at our fellowship. I have a fantastic mentor in Keith Arnold at the JUC fellowship as well as support from the other 15 candidates in the program.

To think this exciting journey began with encouraging words from Sheila and Hubert Brown one day while visiting. I am blessed and so excited to share my experiences with you all. Please ask me any questions and I look forward to your feedback as we create music together this year.

With a Song in My Heart,

Melissa Williams
BVUUF Choral Director