A Letter From the Incoming Music Director

A Letter From the Incoming Music Director

The term ‘full circle’ has been resonating in my mind in the weeks since Rev. Mary Frances Comer offered me the opportunity to join the congregation as your new Music Director. When, in 2006, a job opportunity for my husband resulted in our relocation from New York to Charlotte, I left behind the Presbyterian church where I had served as a music minister for several years. Fortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to steep in my sadness. Soon after settling in, I discovered a UU congregation near our home — along with the important work they do in our area — and my family and I began attending services there regularly. Coming from a background comprised of Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian religious customs, imagine my surprise (and utter joy) when I found out that UU congregations love – and expect! – a sophisticated amalgam of musical traditions, ranging from folk music to jazz to classical to world music. It was during some UU musical experiences that I met Rev. Mary Frances and we recognized in each other a desire to nurture and support others as they travel on their respective journeys. In 2016, I took a short life-detour* through New Jersey and in 2018 I arrived back in Charlotte looking to share what I learned during my time away. Whether it’s coincidence, fate, providence, or something else entirely, the opportunity to come back to music ministry during this time of unprecedented upheaval in our community – and to do it within a UU congregation of social justice-minded people – simultaneously lifts a weight from my heart while placing it on my shoulders. You’ve been under the musical care of the very gifted Dr. Carl DuPont and I am deeply honored to be taking on the role he so aptly filled. I hope to foster a music program steeped in respect for the musicians who have been there before me.

As we begin this journey together, please know that I welcome and value involvement from each and every one of you. I have visions of the path I’d like to take, including starting a children’s choir, participating musically in community outreach activities, and establishing musical traditions within the church that meet diverse interests among the congregants. As the summer progresses, I’ll look forward to sharing with you all the news about the musical happenings at the Piedmont UU. In the meantime, if you have a musical interest or special ability (instrumental, vocal, etc.) or know someone who does, I’d LOVE to hear from you at kaarin@puuc.org. If you’re interested in knowing more about my professional experience, you can find that information at www.TheRecordStudio.com. Also – please friend me on Facebook so that I can accomplish the most daunting part of starting something new – associating faces with names!

As I’m closing my introduction to you, I find myself reflecting on the thought that our precious UU chalice is circular in design. Of all the things that could represent our respective journeys, this symbol is, in my opinion, the deepest representation of our interconnectedness. I am so very deeply grateful for the blessing of having come full circle and I can’t wait to share music with you.

*a long story for another newsletter. 🙂

With gratitude,
Kaarin Record Leach