by Eric Lane Barnes, Interim Director of Music
Many musical projects that have been in the works since September come to fruition in December. While the light fades more quickly from the afternoon sky, while trees shed their last crispy leaves, while the underground bulbs slip into winter sleep, the sanctuary is filled more and more with light, laughter and song. What a joy it is to remember that the source of our brightest light comes from within.
On December 2, East Shore’s Sanctuary was filled to bursting for the second concert of the new chorus Puget Soundworks, which was formed in September and over which I preside as Artistic Director. The audience was comprised of many East Shore members as well as people from Belleuve and Seattle for whom this visit was their first. Not only did Puget Soundworks fill the Sanctuary with love, light and laughter, the concert brought a goodly influx of ticket sales to benefit East Shore. Puget Soundworks and I thank everyone at East Shore Unitarian Church for making this concert happen, and creating such a warm and welcoming environment for everyone.
On Friday, December 7, Aisha Hauser, Arthur Knapp and I brought carols to life as the enthusiastic family members in attendance brought cookies. For an hour and a half we sang dozens of carols with gusto and glee, incorporating spontaneous choreography for a number of songs. (The Seven Swans a-Swimming in the second row won Best Hand-Ography for the event) What a wonderful way to set the holiday mood as we sail through the rest of December.
On Sunday, December 9, the vocal quartet Princess Guy will be singing. The next few weeks will be busy ones for Princess Guy as they bring their merry voices to several Aegis communities, Horizon House on First Hill in Seattle, Pacific Regent in Bellevue and a feature-length concert on December 15 at All Pilgrims Church in Seattle. Princess Guy will return to East Shore on April 20 as part of East Shore LIVE’s 2019 season. I feel fairly confident that we will not sing many holiday carols at that performance : )
Sunday, December 16, is the annual Christmas Choir Concert, with the East Shore Mighty Choir and friends, with several musical ESUC members being featured. The Mighty Choir will be singing several new holiday selections as well as new takes on old favorites. Plan to chuckle, beam and possibly brush back a tear on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. And – by the bye, the East Shore Mighty Choir is open to any who would like to be part of it. Reading music, while a nice skill to have, is by no means a prerequisite. We rehearse on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Come join us and see why so many people say ‘This is the most fun I have all week!’ (Note: the choir will not rehearse on 12/27. Our first rehearsal of 2019 will be on Thursday, January 3)
Friday, December 21, will be an exciting Solstice Service. For the first time in East Shore history, students and faculty from the Pacific Northwest School of Music will be joining us for the service, playing selections by Vivaldi and Grieg. The East Shore Mighty Choir will also be singing, making this service a memorable and powerful one. This is a wonderful gathering to celebrate the return of the sun on the longest night of the year, with worship, ritual, music, stories, and a circle dance, followed by a soup and bread potluck. Please join and bring soup, bread, cookies, or juice to share.
Our musical month comes to a beautiful close with two services on Sunday, December 23 (with the Mighty Choir singing at the 11:00 a.m. service) and two Christmas Eve services on Monday, December 24 (4:00 and 7:00 p.m.) Last year during the 7:00 service nature obliged with a beautiful snowfall just as we began singing Silent Night. Watching the snow fall outside as we lit our candles made this moment truly magical. (We have sent our request to The Weather Beings, Santa and the Woodland Sprites for another Christmas Eve snowfall this year. Let’s see if magic falls from the skies again!)
I feel so grateful to be part of such a large, warm and loving environment at East Shore Unitarian Church. This warmth and light expresses itself with music all throughout December. Thank you all for being part of such a wonderful spiritual community.