Role at UCP?
My role is to lead the Contemporary Christian Music aspects of our Worship Services. As Director of UCPraise!, I carefully select relevant music to accompany the Scriptures, the Sermon themes and current events. We are constantly expanding our repertoire, and have explored many genres of Christian music, from folk to rock to country to pop. It is my challenge to introduce and stretch our congregation to this variety, much of it from current Christian radio hits. I run our weekly practices, preparing for our appearances about once a month and for concerts and special occasions. I deliberately push the limits of what is considered "church music," in the spirit of UCP's commitment to diversity, justice and personal spirituality. We "pray twice" when we sing, and our role is to lead each congregant to a new way of praising God.
Favorite thing about working here?
Much of my work is behind the scenes, researching song selection possibilities, listening to a lot of music, and scrutinizing the lyrics. After I select songs, I create the song sheets we will play from, with varying arrangements to adapt to our UCPraise! group. My favorite part of this is introducing the songs to our group, and watching them become aware of the meaning and intensity of the artists' intentions. I enjoy seeing each group member internalize their role in the song, and bringing this to life in their performance. I occasionally invite guests to join us, particularly when songs require solo instruments, and enjoy how their musicality energizes our group. Ultimately, it is the smiles and expressions of the congregation as they listen to us and participate by clapping, smiling, and even dancing, that makes it all worthwhile.
What is your passion?
Throughout my life I have been committed to incorporating sustainability into different aspects of what I am engaged in. This has been a thread in both my personal and professional lives, through Scouting, international standards development and social activism. Most recently I have been innovating and promoting technology systems in intelligent buildings to increase architectural sustainability, to help reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment. My efforts have been through associations and conferences, along with building design projects. Much of this work is in educational environments, expanding my foundation in educational technology. This is a relatively new and expanding arena, and I hope to continue this work for many years to come.