As we mark the end of Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment to let you know how the music ministry at First United Church is working to promote music with history in the Black community, not just during the month of February, but beyond. In January, we were very fortunate to have Sam Troxal present his arrangement of the traditional spiritual “Take Me to the Water ” in addition to his performance of “There is Joy in God’s Work” with music by Jeffrey LaValley. For hymn selections, we had the pleasure of utilizing the traditional spiritual “This Little Light of Mine” as our children’s hymn throughout the season of Epiphany in addition to singing “Let Us Break Bread Together on Our Knees” on communion Sunday. The Bell Choir also played the Al Fisk arrangement of this spiritual in the same service. We were also proud to sing the Black National Anthem on the penultimate Sunday in Black History Month, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” to close our service. Finally, we look forward to presenting the music of composers Nathaniel Dett and Moses Hogan in March and April. 

It is important to keep in mind that the whole reason behind Black History Month is diminished if we forget about it the other eleven months of the year. As communicators of the liturgy and by extension the values of First United Church, we in the music ministry have a responsibility to ensure all voices within the community are heard, and to promote equity and justice through our repertoire selections. I look forward to continuing to fully represent the gambit of composers and artists in the community throughout my tenure at First United, and I welcome suggestions from you on how we can continue to diversify sacred music.

Eric Meincke

Director of Music