2015 UUMN Conference. There was a lot of singing today. A lot!
The little breakfast place I've been frequenting wasn't open yet, so I walked a little farther to Starbucks and picked up a breakfast sandwich before heading to Boston Common for another early morning guitar practice. It was a bit on the chilly side. I guess if you're traveling to Boston, you should pack some long pants and a light jacket, even if it's summer. I've really enjoyed practicing in the park. There is a lovely pond, complete with ducks and swans. There are older Chinese people practicing Tai Chi, joggers, dog walkers, statues, fountains, and weeping willows (my favorite tree).
This morning's service was the UUMN's annual Service of Remembrance, held in yet another historic church, King's Chapel. You really get a sense of history in these beautiful old churches. Honoring the UUMN members who have passed away that year, the Service of Remembrance is always moving.
Following the Service of Remembrance, I practiced in the park for another hour and then attended choir rehearsal. Although the choir is chock full of great singers and the music is lovely, these types of ensembles are always a little nerve wracking. We aren't used to singing with each other, we're just now getting used to the conductor (who is wonderful), we have rehearsed three times, and we are singing in tomorrow's service at Arlington Street Church. All that being said, I know we'll do just fine.
Following lunch (and more practicing!), every workshop I attended involved sight-reading choral repertoire. I stopped singing after a certain point, because my voice was getting tired. Not only was my voice tired, I was fading fast. I had no idea you could doze off while singing. Still, I stuck around to listen, and I have a list of terrific pieces for my choir to sing.
I left the conference a little early. I was wiped out! And I wanted to make sure I could rest up before this evening, because my best friend from high school lives in the area, and we had plans to meet for dinner. My friend, Mark, showed up around 6:00, and we walked…and walked and walked. We had planned on Italian food on the North End, but every restaurant we checked was all booked up. We settled on a seafood place, which turned out to be a good choice. The food was delicious! Some friends were giving me grief for coming to Boston and ordering shrimp a couple days ago, so this time, I went for clam chowder and cod. The meal was actually pretty healthy…if you don't count dessert. I knew my diet would go off the rails today; I had planned on it, actually! At least the walking burned off quite a bit of it. It was really great to catch up with Mark.
Now I'm back at the hotel and will soon be packing my stuff. I'll be attending a service tomorrow and singing with the Conference Choir. After that, I'll be able to spend just a little more time in Boston tomorrow, because I booked a 7:55 flight. I'm not planning on doing any touristy kind of things, because I'll have my bags, but I can at least hang out in Boston Common one more time and maybe linger in a local restaurant.
I've enjoyed this conference immensely, and I'm in love with Boston. I honestly feel like I could live here – not that I'm making plans. There's the little matter of finding work! That being said, I may keep my eyes open. This is a great city.
- 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.