Music is an integral part of worship at UUAA, whether the mood is joyous, or contemplative. It is as varied as the cultures, beliefs and walks of life that make up our congregation. Come add your voice to the community of voices that comprise our UUAA voice.
Music at UUAA provides spiritually fulfilling musical experiences for all - musicians, congregants, worship leaders, and community members. As a large congregation, UUAA has multiple ensembles that contribute to worship on a regular basis: the Chalice Singers, the Chalice Sparks, and the Chalice Bells.
The Chalice Singers
The Chalice Singers, our congregation’s adult choir with more than 60 members, bring music from myriad religions and cultures to Sunday morning worship twice a month. The ensemble’s leadership role in worship is evident as it provides a foundation for congregational singing and offers a variety of anthems that enhance the overall worship experience for all involved.
Rehearsals: Thursdays from 7:30 - 9:15 in the Fahs Chapel, late August - May
Open Enrollment: August and January (as space allows)
The Chalice Sparks
The Chalice Sparks is the choir for 3rd – 8th graders at UUAA. The group, under the direction of Brianne Boyd, meets weekly to develop musicianship and performance skills, build lasting friendships, and prepare musical offerings for Sunday worship services. As an active member of UUAA, Brianne has enjoyed using her experience as a music teacher and her passion for choral music to help build the music program.
Rehearsals: Sunday mornings between services (10:40 - 11:20 am), September - May
Open enrollment: Contact Brianne Boyd or Rick Witten if interested
The Chalice Bells
The Chalice Bells, UUAA’s handbell choir, brings an added dimension to the musical experiences of the congregation in worship. The Chalice Bells prepare repertoire for special or holiday services, and also collaborates with the Chalice Singers and Chalice Sparks.
Rehearsals: Sunday evenings, 6 – 7:30 pm in the Jackson Chapel, October – May, with a short break in January.
Open enrollment: Contact theresa rohlck if interested; new handbell ringers, from high school age on up, are welcome to join in September or January, as space allows. No prior handbell experience is necessary but ringers must be able to read music (preferably both treble and bass clefs) and feel rhythmically secure. Because of the collaborative nature of handbell playing, a commitment to weekly attendance at rehearsals is required.
Chalice Singers, Chalice Sparks, and Chalice Bells photos by Steve Kuzma
In addition to these ensembles, worship is enhanced by the talents of our Director of Music, our Pianist-in-Residence, our Chalice Sparks director, our Chalice Bells director, our volunteer percussionists, and by invited guest musicians from the community as well as from within our congregation.
About Our Director of Music
A native of Baltimore, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout holds a bachelor’s degree in voice from Vanderbilt University, a master’s and a doctoral degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His conducting mentors include Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Mr. Philip Olsen, Dr. Jamie Washington, Mr. Robin Fountain, Dr. Eugene Cardell Rogers, and Dr. Paul Rardin. He has been coached by Dr. Craig Arnold, Dr. Jeffrey Douma, Mr. Theo Morrison, Dr. Carole Ott, Mr. David Wordsworth. He has studied voice and vocal pedagogy with Dr. Gayle Shay, Dr. Jonathan Retzlaff, Dr. Dean Southern and Mr. Stephen West.
Glen Thomas is the winner of the 2013 National Student Conducting Competition, a contest of the American Choral Directors Association. He has conducted the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club and the Manhattan Chorale—a professional ensemble of New York City. Glen Thomas has prepared choruses for Jerry Blackstone (University of Michigan Symphony Band and Choirs), Kenneth Kiesler (University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra), Antonia Joy Wilson (Midland Symphony Orchestra) and Brett Mitchell (Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra). He served as assistant conductor for the University of Michigan Chamber Choir in the Grammy-nominated recording of Darius Milhaud’s opera trilogy, L'Orestie d'Eschyle.
His recent international conducting schedule has included engagements in Perú, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Andorra and France. In July, Glen Thomas served the University of Michigan Chamber Choir as assistant conductor during its 2014 tour of New Zealand and Australia.
Glen Thomas has served First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor as Director of Music since August, 2007. His essay Prodigal Songs: Reclaiming Our Voice has been published by the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Unitarian Universalist Association's largest congregation. His work building musical communities in Unitarian Universalist worship has been featured in the blog of Sue Schade (Chief Information Officer for the University of Michigan Health System).
Glen Thomas has served the Saginaw Choral Society as its sixteenth Artistic Director and Conductor since 2011. His work with Saginaw Choral Society has earned two National Endowment for the Arts grant awards, funding the Adopt-a-Choir Collaborative with Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy and White Pine Middle School and the Saginaw Sings Project (an itinerant city-wide community singing festival). Each year now, the Society sends over twenty of its members to area schools to lead music education learning at the grade school level. In support of this vision, the Society’s Board of Trustees have endowed the Glen Thomas Rideout Vocal Scholarship for promising high-school singers to attend the University of Michigan’s MPulse Summer Institute.
Glen Thomas's work as a singer includes engagements with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, University of Michigan, the University Musical Society, and the Star-Spangled Music Project. In June, Glen Thomas served as guest vocalist for the investiture of United States federal court judge Judith E. Levy.
Glen Thomas is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network, Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
About our Pianist-in-Residence
Allison Halerz has been attending UUAA since 2003, and became a member in 2007. She was drawn to the congregation partly because of its already excellent music program, and quickly became an active participant both as a member of the Chalice Singers and as a substitute pianist. She became the UUAA’s Pianist-in-Residence in 2007 and is excited to be a part of the continued musical experiences and growth of this congregation.
About our Chalice Sparks director
Brianne Boyd has been performing since she was three years old, and grew up as a church cantor, choir singer, and piano player. After studying with G. Kevin Dewey at Henry Ford College, she developed a passion for choral conducting. She received an Associate's Degree in Fine Arts from Henry Ford, followed by a Bachelor's and Master's in Music Education from Eastern Michigan University. Brianne has taught music at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college level, as well as private lessons. In addition to her work with our Chalice Sparks, Brianne directs the choral program at Ypsilanti Community High School and is the assistant conductor of Vanguard Voices in Dearborn. She, her husband Jon, and their three young daughters love everything about UUAA!
About our Chalice Bells director
Theresa Rohlck holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, where, as a violist, she had extensive orchestral and chamber music ensemble experience. However, it was during that time she first heard a Javanese Gamelan and began learning how to play many of the instruments in the ensemble. This led to further musical studies in Indonesia after graduating. A Fulbright grant supported her study there, and she spent three and a half years becoming an accomplished gamelan musician and dancer. Returning to the U.S. she began work at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute, which led to a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Theresa has been a member of UUAA since 2011; she is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN) and Handbell Musicians of America.
Instrumentalists and Vocalists
In addition to the larger ensembles at UUAA, we are always looking for instrumentalists and vocalists who are interested in contributing to worship as soloists or in small ensembles. We benefit from the rich talent of local world-class guest musicians, as well from those within the congregation with musical gifts to offer.
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