Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua reflects the diversity of our congregation, community, and our world. We want music to play an important part in our religious experience.
The music program consists of the Youth Choir, the Adult Choir, accompaniment of hymns on organ and piano, invited regional and community groups, and providing opportunities to share the musical talents of our congregational members.
The music program is organized by our Music Director, Jed Holland, and our music committee. We work with our Minister to tailor music to the topic of the sermon and the service as a whole.
Youth Choir - The Youth Choir is open to youths of all ages. Consistent attendance and love of singing are the only requirements to join. Newcomers are always welcome. The Youth Choir rehearses in the Chapel on Sunday mornings from 11:30 to 12:15. (A Youth Choir rehearsal is not held on a Sunday that is a "Teachers' Day Off" on the RE calendar.) The Youth Choir sings during the regular church service about once a month throughout the church year. For more information see the Youth Choir schedule posted outside the Music Office, and speak with our music director, Jed Holland.
Adult Choir - The Adult Choir is for adults and high school students. The music spans many styles from Renaissance to contemporary, sacred to secular, serious to light-hearted. There are no auditions, but participation does require the commitment of time. The Adult Choir rehearses from 7:30 to 9:00pm in the Chapel on Wednesday evenings during the church year. A rehearsal is also held on Sunday mornings at 9:00am in the Sanctuary, on the Sundays that the choir is scheduled to sing during the service. Newcomers are always welcome! For more information speak with our music director, Jed Holland.
Greater Choir - The Greater Choir is for members of the congregation who would like, on occasion, to sing with the Adult Choir during a Sunday morning service. Greater Choir singing opportunities are scheduled about every other month. To participate in the Greater Choir, one need only come to the Sanctuary at approximately 9:15am on the Sunday morning that the Greater Choir is scheduled to sing. The anthems selected for the Greater Choir are appropriate to this limited rehearsal time. Announcements of Greater Choir singing opportunities are sent out to the UU e-mail list and also may appear in the church newsletter and the weekly Order of Service bulletin. For more information speak with our music director, Jed Holland.
Other Musical Opportunities
Soloists - If you're a vocal or instrumental soloist that would like to offer a gift of music to the congregation on a Sunday morning, please let Jed know, so that he can hear you and get you into the schedule. Thank you!
Ensembles - If you're part of an existing group that would be interested in playing for us, please let us know. On the other hand, if you are an instrumentalist interested in participating in an ensemble that does not yet exist, let us know about that too - if we can find a likely fit, we will play "musical matchmaker" for you.
Music Selection - "Any requests?" Jed and the Music Committee are working to continue to offer a great variety in musical programming in the church, including works from various musical styles. Please feel free to request your favorite musical styles, moods, subjects, themes, or specific pieces at any time. This goes for congregational hymns, choir anthems, or organ/piano preludes and postludes. We cannot promise to act immediately on your every suggestion, but assure you that your thoughts are important and that we will try to respond, in some way and at some point, to your thoughtful suggestions. Thank you!
New Works - If you are a composer and interested in having your music performed here, please let Jed know. Alternatively, if you are a poet or writer and have some words in search of music, he would be interested in seeing what he can do with them (or, finding someone else who might do that job). Even a short, simple statement might find its way into our repertoire someday... look at what came out of just 15 easy words in "Go now in peace. May the spirit of love surround you everywhere you may go."
From Our Music Director, Jed Holland
Greetings! My full name's Jared Holland, but I also answer to Jed. I was born in Nashua in 1964 and have lived here all my life, now with my lovely wife Martha and our five great kids. I'm honored to serve as Music Director at the UU Church of Nashua since January of 2007. Aside from musical activities, my professional life has been as a software engineer.
I believe that music is a great space in which we can find beauty, wonder, joy, comfort and strength. I believe that everyone can make music, and probably should.
My introduction to music was an accidental consequence of a local church fire in 1968 (an electrical fire that started in the organ, of all things) after which some damaged equipment was sold off and my family received a hand-me-down piano. In the 40+ years since, I've played pianos from Nashua to Beijing, organs from Nashua to New York, and French horn from Nashua to, well, the south part of Nashua.
Although my own playing is centered mostly on keyboard instruments, my favorite musical instrument is the human voice. It's easy-to-use, highly expressive, and quite versatile. And, it's easy to carry around (a factor that we piano players never overlook). I love accompanying groups of singers, and the wonderful choir that was already in place at this church is one of the main factors that drew me here.
My goal in church is to make sure that every person here finds an opportunity for meaningful musical expression in the context of the church. Toward that end, I want to invite all of you to sing in the adult or youth choir. These groups are open to all singers without regard to experience or training. If you are able to come to the rehearsals, we want you!
I want to reach out specifically to anyone who was ever told that they couldn't sing well or shouldn't sing. I've met too many people who were told these things in childhood. If a parent, sibling, child or friend has told you that you can't sing, then I'm sad that they limited your outlook, even if they meant well. If a teacher told you not to sing, then I hold that you're the victim of a crime. If you view yourself as a non-singer, I hope that you will give me and the choir the opportunity to help you find your voice. Recognizing that our conceptions of our own limitations come to be deeply held over time, I promise to be patient as you explore new territory.
Your suggestions, questions, and comments are important to me. I hope you'll share them in person (wherever and whenever you might catch up to me in church) or by email . Thank you!
These are photos from the musical production HONK! that enthusiastic and talented church members performed in 2009. The sanctuary was transformed into a barnyard full of ducks, frogs, a cat, a turkey, geese, and some swans!