The Music Ministries team at FCC has had a busy, productive, and rewarding December. Christmas Eve was the pinnacle of the year, so much of the fall’s work was toward that end. It paid off with resounding success.
At the first Christmas Eve service, we had amazing special music. Tim Bloch provided beautiful improvisations on Christmas carols including “What Child Is This?” as well as a lively carol during the offertory. Martha Moultry put together a rocking medley of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” and “Mary Rocked That Baby” with Barbara Baird, Judy Fowler, and Bob Bury. Lori Wollenweber used nine feet of table length to set up her own bells and play a spellbinding solo of “Mary Did You Know” on the handbells with Barbara Baird collaborating on the piano.
The chancel choir had a great time preparing for the second Christmas Eve lessons and carols service and worked with dedication and perseverance to share music that was beautiful and meaningful, traditional and contemporary. It was a triumph for the choir after such a long time apart and without much practice during the lockdown.
A cherry on top of a wonderful evening was the ability to sing carols together. After doing an extensive review of scientific data on singing safely, I presented my findings to the COVID Protocol Committee and congregational singing was approved. Barbara Baird was key to all the music that happened in the first two services, not only leading the congregational singing with inspiration and conviction but masterfully collaborating with the choir to render beautiful sounds from the organ and piano. Give her your gratitude next time you see her!
Music at the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service was led by Vicki Brabham, who did wonderful work creating an intimate and contemplative atmosphere. Adriana Ripley and Vicki collaborated on “O Holy Night” in a version Vicki skillfully arranged from the piano. Be sure to check out the recording of this song sent out in the FCC Daily Email from December 27.
Other highlights from December include the Bell Choir presenting “Dona nobis pacem” and a caroling party after church on December 12. The youth ukulele group is making progress too and learned “Go Tell It On the Mountain” over the course of two lessons.
We are excited for the new year and will be keeping an eye on the state of the pandemic locally in Eugene as we discern how to continue to do music together safely. There is much reason to be optimistic, and no matter what comes our way in the next few months, we have an incredibly strong church community that will hold us together. That gives me all the confidence that we will come out of this ordeal stronger and better connected than before. Thank you for all you do to support us.
Happy New Year!
Jared Fischer, Director of Music Ministries