Music is an essential element of worship at Countryside Church. At CCUU, it is our hope that congregation members not only hear the music, but also participate in the creation of music during worship. Congregational singing is the core of our worship experience. At Countryside Church, we aim to provide a diverse range of musical styles which are high-quality and inspiring. Music is part of the Worship Ministry at CCUU and also hosts events under the Kinship, Study, and Service Ministries. Our music experience thrives under the leadership of our Director of Music.
Countryside Choir-The main function of the Countryside Choir is to lead music during worship services. Singing in the choir is part of our service to Countryside Church. The choir’s goal is to enhance the meaning and spirituality of the worship service. Through rehearsing and providing music, the choir creates a close sense of community. The choir is an all-volunteer, SATB mixed ensemble – there are no paid “ringers” in this choir. New members are welcome to join by contacting our Director of Music for more information. Traditionally, those interested in choir join in August and January.
- Rehearsals – The Countryside Choir rehearses on Thursday evenings. The current rehearsal time is 7:15-9:15 p.m. in the Choir Rehearsal Room at CCUU.
- Music – The choir sings a diverse range of musical styles and genres from Renaissance to Broadway and everything in-between. Repertoire includes contemporary Unitarian Universalist composers such as Elizabeth Alexander, Jason Shelton, Jim Scott, Ysaye Barnwell, David Glasgow, and Clif Hardin.
- Parties – Choir has fun. In addition to the work that goes into learning music, the choir hosts monthly post-rehearsal get-togethers as well as two member-hosted parties each year.
- Exchanges – Recently the Countryside Choir did an exchange with the choir from First Unitarian of Chicago (Hyde Park). The choir looks forward to doing future exchanges with other congregations and other denominations.
- Inter-congregational services – The choir has participated in other services including an inter-congregational Pride service, an inter-congregational 9/11 Memorial service, and graduation for Meadville Lombard Theological School.
- Smaller Ensembles – Occasionally, choir members form smaller ensemble with support of the Director of Music. These ensembles have included a women’s trio, a men’s barbershop quartet, morning choir, and Chalice Singers (a group that goes to sing hymns for congregation members who are unable to attend services.)
CLICK HERE for more information about the Countryside Choir.
- Professional Pianist – Countryside Church is blessed with beautiful instruments. In our Sanctuary stands a Concert Grand Steinway and a Roland Keyboard. The music room (rehearsal room) has a Yamaha grand. A professional pianist is part of our worship services every Sunday. At most services, the pianist performs the Prelude, Offertory, and Postlude.
- Music Committee – The purpose of the Music Committee at CCUU is to support the music director in providing music for worship services and other CCUU-sponsored activities—music that reflects and promotes our UU principles and values; that encourages diversity of culture, religion, age, gender, and sexual orientation; and that plays an important role in inter-generational cooperation and community outreach. The Music Committee helps the music director plan and implement Countryside’s music program. During monthly meetings we share ideas, plan new programs, monitor progress toward goals, and help with the budgeting process. We believe that music is a tie that binds us to each other, to the worship experience and to our UU heritage and values. This mission guides our development of current and new music programming. Some of the special events and activities that the Music Committee has sponsored or co-sponsored have included Hymn Sings, Resonate Singing Meditations, Christmas Caroling Parties, Music RE, Movies with Meaning , Music with a Mission, and Cultural Outings.
CLICK HERE for more information about Music Committee Events
- Other Music during Worship Services – In addition to the Countryside Choir, CCUU continues to invite talented congregation members and guests to provide meaningful music during worship.
- Guest Musicians and Soloists – The Chicagoland area has a wealth of talented individuals. Our Director of Music recognizes how to incorporate these musicians as guests to perform for worship services or as soloists with the Countryside Choir.
- Countryside Strings – All string players of violin, viola, cello, and bass are invited to participate in our own Countryside String ensemble. This all-ages ensemble has supplied music for worship from string trios to a full-group string orchestra.
- Countryside Band – The Band has gathered to support worship at the request of our Director of Music. The Band has included adult and young adult musicians who play guitar, bass, drum set, mandolin, and piano. The band has played along with hymns as well as supported the choir with the performance of their anthems.
- Other Talent – Our Director of Music often invites talented congregation members and non-members to perform during a service or other event. Do you play an instrument? Contact our Director of Music to inquire how you can be featured during a service sometime in the future or perform during one of the many events at CCUU.
Links: UU Musicians Network (UUMN)