Music at First Parish – 2018 Pledge Testimonial – Jane Barnes

I‘d like to share a bit about one of the many things that makes this church special for me.  The Music.  Music has always been the most important part of worship for me.  Some of you know that I took a long and winding path to get here, exploring one religion after another, trying to find what I was looking for.

In all of the many churches I’ve attended through the years, music was always at the center of my experience.

  • I sang in the youth choir in the congregational church where I grew up in Mystic, Connecticut.
  • I played guitar for folk masses at my Catholic high school.
  • I went to an evangelical Christian college and toured the north-east with a band called Kinship
  • And after college I joined the choir in an Episcopal church.

I never stayed in a church longer than a couple of years.  Music always drew me in and filled me up for a little while, but I eventually I always felt the need to move on.

After many starts and stops, I stopped going to church all together.   But after Jay and I had our kids, we wanted to join a faith community.  A friend told us about First Parish.  I walked in and heard this wonderful choir and was mesmerized!  We began coming regularly.

When our kids grew up and became a little more independent, I took the step to join the choir.  And wow.  Choir is amazing.  Beth, of course, is a wonderful musician and director.  But she is truly a minister as well.  Beth always explains to us the historical context and message of each piece we sing.  And because of that we feel connected to the music and to the theme of the service.

Jay and I also sing in Gail’s Contemporary Vocal Ensemble.  CVE is a smaller group and we sing in a circle, so we can connect and really hear each other.  Gail, like Beth, reminds us that we are not “performing” in the Sunday service.  It’s not about us as singers…it’s about ministry and connection.  Connecting with each other, and with all of you in the congregation.

I am so blessed to be here.  It is such a huge gift to be able to participate in the music programs here at First Parish.  Beside the fact that I’m basically getting free voice lessons, the music feeds my soul.

Jay and I are increasing our annual pledge this year.   This community is important to us and we have made our pledge a priority.  When we come here we are refreshed.  We are challenged.  We breathe deeply when we sing.  We are home.