Keepers of the Flame
This is the sixth and last article of 2017 in a series where I, Lee Elliott Carnes, Retired President-Board of Trustees, ask questions to the leaders of our gatherings. This month, Perry Babcock, long time member of the choir, shares his thoughts about his faith and music. Perry also serves on the Finance Committee.
Lee Elliott Carnes: What was your first experience with Unitarian Universalism?
Perry Babcock: My aunt on my mother’s side was Ruth Teeter, one of the founders of the first Charlotte Unitarian church. So that was my first exposure. She was somewhat eccentric and was into Zen Buddhism and calligraphy. Right before I came to Piedmont UU Church I was attending the Unity church down the street and would occasionally visit Piedmont UU Church.
Lee: What are a few of the memorable experiences that you have with the Choir?
Perry: Singing under Dr. Carl has been a great overall experience with the choir. He has a doctorate in vocal pedagogy and really knows how to get a singer to sound good. My vocal production has really improved since he became music director. We have done some very difficult and rewarding music under his direction and actually done it well! Under Cindy Hammond, I remember singing “Seasons of Love” and really enjoying it. It was very difficult compared to what we usually sang. Under Wally, we put on the Broadway musical Cats and that was very memorable!
Lee: What has made you so passionate about Unitarian Universalism?
Perry: Unitarian Universalism has so much more respect for the individual’s intellect than other religions. It recognizes that we are all on our own path to Truth and that the best thing religion can do is to support us and facilitate our journey. I enjoy the way it draws from all the religions without trying to shove doctrine down our throat.
Lee: What was the question you had hoped that I would have asked?
Perry: I do have an extensive musical background, so I would have liked a question on that. I started taking piano lessons from my father in the first grade and eventually took lessons from the wife of the director of the Charlotte Symphony. We had a state piano competition that I won one year. That was a real highlight for me! I also played the trumpet and the string bass in high school band and orchestra. I had some vocal lessons from my aunt on my father’s side in junior high and high school. Both my mother and father were charter members of the Charlotte Symphony, so I got a lot of exposure to classical music. I always try to be involved in music in some way.