Geoff's Notes

Thu, 03 Jul 2003

UUGA Closing Ceremony
I've been quiet for a while, and perhaps it was a preoccupation with this performance that caused the silence. In any case, Wow! What an event! The wrap-up to five days of the Unitariarian Universalist annual General Assembly, bringing together thousands of UUs from across the country, held this year at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. I was only there for a chunk of Saturday and most of Monday, but events from 7:00 a.m. worship to late night coffeehouses and dances went on every day. My role was to lead three songs in the Closing Celebration from 8:30 - 10:00 p.m. on Monday. The size of the crowd, and the choruses participating (180 in the adult chorus and around another 100 in the childrens), required the use of two separate halls with big video screens keeping people together. I was a bit skeptical, but it worked! The tech folks at Hynes were wizards.
So in between some moving readings, great choral presentations (including a marvelous Nick Page arrangement of an English Quaker womens round entitled Building Bridges) and a powerful homily by The Reverend Victoria Safford, I led out three songs. My choices were Bill Staines Crossing the Water, Lorre Wyatts Somos El Barco and Bob Killians Therell Come a Day. Ive sung these songs with some wonderful audiences before, but hearing five thousand voices on those choruses was something else again. I hope they were as moved as I was.
The upshot of the whole experience was a sense of needing to recommit to all the hard work that needs doing to hopefully see this world through the very trying times that seem to persist. If music can help people learn how to live together rather than apart, with tolerance and respect and understanding becoming the watchwords of a new era, I hope my music can play a part.

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