Music at Summer Institute: A Symphony of Shared Experience
Music at Summer Institute: A Symphony of Shared Experience

This week's blog is written by guest writer Jared Hammond.

“There’s a lot of opportunities for music at SI. I think you’d really love it.”

I heard a few variations on that theme from members of the choir at my church. I was new to Unitarian Universalism and I was ready to dive into just about anything head first so I took the plunge and went to my first SI in 2017. I was not disappointed.

I sang in the choir at morning worship every day, practicing in the afternoon. I participated in the morning drumming workshop. I played my trombone in a trombone quartet at the evening talent show at the end of the week. I played my guitar and ukulele in my room when I needed a break from all the action. I played my guitar at Young Adult Vespers during my first SI and I led the group in song during my second. I sang sacred songs in a circle at the science building in the early evening and folk songs in circle at the pub in the late evening. There are so many opportunities for music that, even after a second SI experience, I still haven’t done it all.

Music has always been my gateway to social relationships and SI was no exception. Music got me up with the sun to get a quick breakfast each morning before meeting up with the choir for worship. Tired as we all were, I had some incredible conversations with a diverse variety of people over breakfast. And I absolutely cherish the relationships I’ve formed with my fellow Tenors in the choir. Music drew me into the pub in the evening for that evening’s activities over a drink. I came for the singing, but I left with extra fun facts from trivia (Did you know that 69% of firefighters in the US are volunteers?) and a lot of new friends.

There’s a lot more to the week of SI than just the music. There are so many experiences to have in such a short week that you really can’t do it all. Music gave me the courage to give it a try and sent me all across the Oberlin campus. But I did so much more, received so much more, every day of the week. I look forward to returning for my third SI and giving back. With music and beyond.

Learn more about the CER Summer Institute.

For more information contact cer@uua.org.

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