Posts by Susanne Maziarz

Our Music: On Inviting Musicians to Neighbourhood

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood I invite musicians to Neighbourhood regularly. And I love to. I am proud of our congregation. It is a special, warm place for musicians to share their gifts. Musicians by trade are asked to open themselves up and be made vulnerable to their audience. The supporting, loving, and…

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Our Music: Love And Beauty In The Face Of Hate

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Over five years ago, I heard about Threshold Choirs at the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN) conference. A seed had been planted and now the Comfort Choir is in our fifth year singing at the Michael Garron (formerly Toronto East General) Hospital. Thinking of how music can both…

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Our Music: Make Time To Listen To Music

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood I used to listen to music a lot. Daily. When I was in school, I was so turned on by all of the new kinds of music and new sounds that I was hearing that sitting and listening to music in my headphones without any other distractions was…

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Our Music: Sectional Healing

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Each year, the Spirit Choir participates in an exercise called Sectional Healing. Each of the four sections (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) meet privately to plan the presentation of a song (of their choice) to the rest of the choir. Everyone must have at least one line of…

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Our Music: Sharing of Soul and Spirit is What Matters

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood My role at Neighbourhood is one of both teaching and learning, shining and reflecting, supporting and standing tall. Because of my years of musical discipline, I’ve pushed myself to improve my skills in a way that a hobby musician may not. So I expect to hear music from…

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Our Music: Visiting Choir and Trio

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Musicking fosters compassion. We hear our own stories in song lyrics and our emotions give us a direct line to the composer’s soul. There are many opportunities to participate in music-making at Neighbourhood this month and feel the interconnectedness between us. . Friday, March 3rd, 7:30 pm: Talent…

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Our Music: Let Love Continue Long!

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Love … the inspiration for so much great music! At Neighbourhood this month we will have the chance to hear and sing some of our favourites. The Spirit Band will be featuring some beautiful love songs by Paul McCartney and The Beach Boys. Our Spirit Choir will sing…

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Our Music: I Am Looking For You!

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Written by Ghanaian drummer Sol Amarifio, Woyaya is the title song of a 1971 album by Oisibisa, a musical group of Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians. It was frequently heard in work camps throughout central West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. The arrangement in Singing the Journey comes…

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Our Music: A Month For Singing!

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Our hymn of the month is the same as last December, Shelley Jackson Denham’s (1950-2013) Dark of Winter, #55. It is a beautiful four-part hymn, beautiful in both text and music and so profoundly appropriate for this time of year. The lyrics are as follows: Dark of winter,…

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Our Music: Collaborative Music

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Our hymn of the month for the theme of Gratitude is the product of a collaborative effort between Neighbourhood member and poet Peter Marmorek, and myself. I invited members of the congregation to submit their original poetry to me to be set to music. I received many entries…

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Our Music: Debate on a Hymn

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood For this month of Hope, our hymn of the month will be the African-American spiritual, #95 – There is More Love Somewhere. The lyrics are: There is more love somewhere. (2x) I’m gonna keep on, ‘til I find it. There is more love somewhere. The word “love” is…

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Our Music: Come and Join Us

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Are you hiding your inner rocker? There is a chance for you to come out and be part of the music made at our Sunday service. Neighbourhood’s Spirit Band is always looking for instrumentalists and vocalists to join us in preparing for one of our Sunday services. The…

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Our Music: Finding Discipline in Chanting

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Have You Tried It? Since attending my first Singing Meditation service in Texas in 2013, I have made co-leading a public interfaith chant circle (along with Fred Maycock) one of my monthly spiritual practices. Last year we began a short version of our Sunday evening chant/meditation circle to…

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Our Music: Visits With the Hamilton First UU Choir

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood In our weekly staff meetings, Wayne always asks that a piece of pop music be included in the service. Whether it is a prelude or congregational song, I try to fill this request. Having secular music in a religious service is considered sacrilegious in other faith traditions. I…

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Our Music: The Drum Circle Is Back

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood How can we musically “be”? For some it’s through practicing, for others it’s through improvisation, or the thrill of an embodied performance. Music demands our full attention. It brings together heart, and soul, and spirit. Meditation teaches us how to be still, be aware, be in the moment,…

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Our Music: Music, A Tool For Education In African Culture

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood To launch Black History Month on Sunday, February 7th, Tiki Mercury-Clarke performed at Neighbourhood as the first artist in our 2016 Concert Series. But this wasn’t an ordinary hour of entertainment; this was education disguised as entertainment. Through storytelling, song, and ‘herstory’, she shared with us the experience…

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Our Music: Practicing, Performing, Creating

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood This month we are launching our 2016 Concert Series. Music is always about doing: practicing, performing, creating, active listening. At Neighbourhood, we want to honour and showcase this art form with three different performances falling on the first Sunday of the next three months. I hope you will…

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Our Music: Opening Hearts

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Music can help us through our challenges. For performers and their audiences, music can be a healing and life-changing experience. Music heals us by creating a space of feeling and beauty. In the congregation, and in singing with the Comfort Choir (see below), I have seen the opening…

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Our Music: Listen To The Soul Of The Music

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood What do you hear when you listen to music? It is a very different experience to sit back and listen to music than it is to be actively involved in making it. Can you hear the musician’s breath, the sound of their body in relation to their instrument?…

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