Music is an important part of the services at First Universalist Parish (FUP). A typical service may include Gathering Music, Prelude, Hymns, Offertory, Meditation Music, and Postlude. I use a variety of keyboard instruments in a typical service, including the pipe organ, piano, and electric keyboard. The musical selections are typically chosen to reflect the theme of the service, and may incorporate various musical styles.
I play the bulk of the music for a typical service on FUP’s historic pipe organ, built and installed around 1892 by E.W. Lane of Waltham, MA. This organ has five hundred pipes, and is a tracker organ, meaning it is all mechanical. The only part of the organ which has been electrified over the years is the air pump which fills the bellows. The mechanical nature of the organ gives it its beautiful sound and unique tonal qualities. It is truly a charming and wonderful instrument!
FUP owns two pianos, one in the church’s Sanctuary, and one in the Fellowship Hall. The Fellowship Hall houses a Hallet and Davis baby grand piano, acquired in 2019, lovingly restored by John Young of Young’s Piano Shop. It has been an excellent addition to the hall, making it a concert-worthy location. The Sanctuary houses a nice Poole upright piano.
I also use my Roland stage piano regularly, particularly for the Meditation music. I enjoy creating and using peaceful, ambient voicings with the intention of creating a relaxing, meditative atmosphere for this part of the service.
Classically trained as a pianist, I began playing intermittently for FUP in 2010-2011, and by 2012 was playing regularly as the primary musician. I also play for many special events in the area, and accompany various instrumentalists and vocalists. I am a musician member of the MAC Center for the Arts, former music director/conductor for QNEK Productions, and pianist with the former Newport Area Community Orchestra. My husband Ben and I write, perform, and record our own music.
Also, we always seek out and welcome guest musicians at FUP. Our congregation has been a wonderful source of amazing musicians. And now that FUP is collaborating with St Johnsbury’s Universalist Unitarian Congregation (STUUC), we have had some wonderful cooperative musical collaborations and look forward to many more!