Saturday, the third full day of the 2014 UUMN Conference in San Diego.
Heading to a spot by the pool for a guitar warm-up, I had to laugh when one of the other conferences goers looked at me and said "Another terrible day." I have no complaints about the weather in San Diego. I brought a little bit of Atlanta's rain along for my first day in San Diego, and I do mean just a little bit – just a sprinkle, really. After that first day, it was sunny, beautiful, and in the 70s.
We started the day with a remembrance service, which was moving. During part of the service, the worship leaders listed names of members who passed away this year. I haven't been in the UUMN long, so I didn't recognize most of the names. As I continue to come to conferences and participate in UUMN activities over the years, I'm sure to recognize more and more of them. Whether I recognized the names or not this year, they are all an important part of the continuing history of Unitarian Universalism.
After the service, I helped Sarah Dan Jones with a reading session. Her partner, Abby, played piano on most of the pieces, but a few of them called for a guitar. Most of the reading sessions were for choral music, but in this session, we read through Silliman Competition winners, honorable mentions, runners up, etc. The Silliman Competition was established to promote the writing of music suitable for Unitarian Universalist congregational singing. There were some really nice pieces, many of which I'll be ordering. You can click here to read more about the competition and this year's winners.
After the reading session, I scurried over to band rehearsal. By now, the band was sounding really good. It was all starting to click. We rehearsed with the singers for the entire rehearsal this time, putting it all together for the next day's services.
Following rehearsal, I attended Don Milton's excellent session, "Going Beyond Warm-Ups." I got a lot out of this session – a LOT. So much that I was both inspired and overwhelmed. Fortunately, Don is also in Atlanta, and I offered him a deal. I will be buy him dinner if I can bring along a recorder and have him sing through several of these exercises again. I'm looking forward to applying his ideas and exercises to my own choir rehearsals.
I skipped the next session. By now, I was beginning to wear down. I wasn't particularly interested in any of the sessions in the final workshop slot, but I was keenly interested in taking a nap. I managed to find a room with a couch, and I quickly fell asleep.
After my little nap, I attended the final reading choral reading session, which focused on easier unison, 2- and 3-part music. We sang a few pieces that I'd like to order for my choir. Between this session, the Silliman session, and the first choral reading session, which focused on UU composers, I have quite a list of music that I'd like to order. I can't order it all. Pretty soon, I'll have to sift through the list and choose the ones that really spoke to me.
After the reading session, I headed home and once again spent some alone time with the guitar in my hotel room. All workshops and rehearsals were done. The next day, we would participate in two morning services and then say our goodbyes.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.