Our Music: Musings

Our Music: Restoration and Strength

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood For me, summer is a time for privacy and pleasure. I have more time to focus on my own interests and developing my skills. September marks the return to community, the return to service, a time to be renewed by the intention to focus on what is good…

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Our Music: Offering a Gift

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood “What gift can we bring, what present, what token?” These are the opening words of a United Methodist offering hymn.
 At some point, we have been asked – or have asked ourselves – these all-important questions. While deepening our understanding of ourselves and the world we have felt…

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Our Music: Out of Our Bodies

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Music transforms us. It can wake the sleeping, change our awareness, let us exist in more than one place at a time, heal the sick, bring us into movement and lift our spirits. To create music, our physical bodies create vibrations — we make music out of thin air!…

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Our Music: Strength in Enthusiasm

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood How do I choose music for the Spirit Choir? Is it good music? Does it have educational potential? Will the choir be able to learn it in time? Do the lyrics reflect Unitarian Universalist values and the theme of the month? Does it help to fulfill the choir’s…

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Our Music: The Gift

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood I’m inspired by people who are able to elevate a community simply by doing work that is caring and thorough. As I write this, a piano technician named Jamie Musslewhite is painstakingly restoring an 85-year-old Toronto-made grand piano for our congregation. He is taking it apart to replace,…

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Our Music: Risky Fingers Make Beautiful Music

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood My dear friend Sarah John likens performing classical piano music to waltzing through a mine field. At any moment, with a small slip of the finger, you could end up setting off a big bomb. When she first made this analogy, I laughed until I cried because it…

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Our Music: We All Have A Creative Nature

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Singing is play, exercise, and pleasure for our soul. It is direct and comes from deep within us; it is the very air we breathe coupled with our creative energy and sensitivity. Everyone has their own song to sing. Members of the Spirit Choir have told me that…

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Our Music: An Uncharted Journey

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Before I became your Music Director, I had never served a religious community or been a choir director.  I was entering completely unknown territory. I had a lot of doubts and questions that I continue to ask myself.  Would I be able to do what is expected of…

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Our Music: Seeking Wisdom In Our Hymn-Singing

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Making music together allows our shy souls to come out and play together. There is a wisdom that comes through opening ourselves to allow our souls to become vulnerable. Singing does that; we are literally putting ourselves out there. A bond forms in a community that sings together,…

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Our Music: The Call, Morning Chants and more …

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood My Calling “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner Having a vocation or hearing the call to a particular life originally referred to what God had planned for one. I have been called to…

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Our Music: The Hero’s Journey

by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood I will never forget the first time I listened to Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) by Richard Strauss. It was during my composition undergrad at McGill and I was sitting in my basement apartment lost in the orchestral soundscape created by the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. What…

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Our Music – At The Forefront with Justice Seekers

Music is instrumental to justice. Since music speaks to the soul, it has a way of touching and connecting people deeply.  A songwriter can create a piece of art that strengthens and encourages the feelings of justice in an individual. Songs can cross barriers and connect people in shared feeling of justice and truth. Music has…

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When Compassion is The Last Song

When we are sad and hurting, sometimes we turn to music for solace and understanding. Music is our friend, composers and songwriters have been where we are. That someone is willing to turn their feelings into music to be shared with others is an act of compassion The members of the Comfort Choir practice compassion…

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