Music News Archive

Jun 2015

From Our Director of Music:
Summer Music Lineup: Electric and Eclectic

As we transition into the summer months, I thought the congregation would appreciate knowing more about upcoming summer music events.

Our annual HymnSing series will take place for an hour on the following Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. June 25, July 2, July 9, and July 16. We will use this time to continue to journey through our hymnals, both with singing and light discussion. We will meet in Forbes Room #2.

I am very proud of our Summer Guest Musician line up! It is as follows:

June 28 — Ken Herman
Organist and recently retired Director of Music of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego.

July 5 — Zachary Provost
Singer-songwriter and Music Director for Josh Groban.

July 12 — Scott Roewe
Jazz saxophonist and Director of Music of Unitarian Universalists of Santa Clarita.

July 19 — Pete Snell
Classical guitarist and composer.

July 26 — Lynn Angebranndt

August 2 — Mariachi Las Colibri
All-Female stringed mariachi.

August 9 — Ruben Villalobos
Sitarist and songwriter.

August 16 — The Crocker Sisters
Folk Band offshoot from The Evangenitals.

August 23 — Allison Bjorkedal
Harpist, presenting music by our own Rima Snyder.

September 6 — Nevenka
Bulgarian women’s choir.

— DeReau K. Farrar, Director of Music


Dec 2014

Colleen Keene was introduced to the congregation on November 9 as our new Soprano Section Leader. Photo
by Charles Haskell.

Apr 2014

Come, Sing a Song with the Women’s Alliance - April 13

UUs gather for services each week, all of us creating the worship together of many elements, words, music, and customs. All my life I have studied this process, and songs by UU women resonate strongly for me. You are warmly invited to the second in a heartfelt series, “A Year of Living Musically.” For Spring the music is by Grace Lewis-McLaren, whose hymnal gifts include:
“Touch the earth, reach the sky! Walk on shores while spirits fly over the ocean, over the land, our faith a quest to understand.”
“Touch the earth, reach the sky! Hug the laughter, feel the cry.
May we see where we can give, for this is what it means to live.”
While serving as Director of Music/Organist for several UU congregations, Grace wrote a number of anthems, hymns, and chants. She taught me some at district women’s retreats when she was at the San Diego church. She has degrees from Union Seminary School of Sacred Music in New York City and Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara.
Her tunes, harmonies, and lyrics are carefully crafted, reflecting a life fully lived in family, community, and spirit. Here’s a fun one; you can play tambourine on the chorus to make it sound just right:
“The inherent worth of all, value comprehensive, this our UUology, sacrament intensive. ”
“Yah, yah, yes I am, I’m a Unitarian, Yah, yah, yes I am, I’m a Unitarian. You can count on me. Hey!”
“When it comes to questioning, I am in my glory. If you want to preach to me, better know your story.”
“Yah, yah, yes I am, I’m a Unitarian, Yah, yah, yes I am, I’m a Unitarian. You can count on me. Hey!”
Come sample a few Songs of Grace on Sunday, April 13, 10:10 to 10:55 a.m., in the Courtyard. All are welcome, whether you think of yourself as a singer or not.
Joyce Holmen


Jan 2014

Daniel Gledhill is our new Church Organist

Daniel Gledhill began studying the piano at the age of 5 with Dr. Irene-Peery Fox in Provo, Utah. He has become an accomplished pianist, winning first prizes on both national and international stages. At the age of 11, Daniel began to supplement his regular piano lessons with chamber music instruction from accomplished teachers such as cellist Roger Drinkall and Igor and Vesna Gruppman from the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music. These teachers helped him to develop a very deep love for collaboration, and from there he began to work constantly with a string trio that he formed, which performed consistently until he began his college education.
Daniel has worked as a nearly full-time collaborative pianist since the age of 16 and has studied at institutions such as the Idyllwild Arts Academy and Yellow Barn in Vermont. His college career began at Brigham Young University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance. Immediately following that, he was accepted to USC, where he pursued music with an emphasis in composition, receiving instruction on how to create music, greatly increasing his musical sensibilities. Daniel currently works as a recommended accompanist for the University of Southern California and also as a staff accompanist for the Colburn School of Music.
DeReau K. Farrar

Come, Sing a Song with the Women’s Alliance on January 19

UUs gather for services each week, all of us creating the worship together of many elements, words, music, and customs. All my life I have studied this process, and songs by UU women resonate strongly for me. You are warmly invited to the first in a heartfelt series called “A Year of Living Musically.”
Three of Carolyn McDade’s wealth of songs you know from our hymnal: “Spirit of Life,” “Come, Sing a Song with Me,” and “We’ll Build a Land.” At annual women’s retreats across what she has called “a continent in song” she has taught dozens more. These are insightful, healing, empowering works to cherish each soul, build community, honor the earth. Come taste a few of these on Sunday, January 19, 10:10 to 10:55 a.m., in the Courtyard. All are welcome, whether you think of yourself as a singer or not.
Carolyn is leading an annual women’s retreat nearby on Friday and Saturday, February 21 to 22, at the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley. Recordings:
Joyce Holmen

Dec 2013

Ken Alexander (flute) and David Gledhill (piano) performing the “Allegro from a Sonata for flute in E Major” by J. S. Bach during the Sunday service of November 10.
Tom Ahern, bass-baritone (soloist) and Daniel Gledhill, piano, performing “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog at the 9 a.m. service on November 17.

Oct 2013

The choir moved to a new location along the southwest wall for Ingathering Sunday. Choir members present were as follows. Back row from left to right: Edna Bonacich, alto; Debra Penberthy, substitute alto section leader; Rima Snyder, alto; Gabriel Paredes, tenor section leader; Liam Mina, tenor; Brigham Johnson, bass; Babatunde Akinboboye, bass section leader; VanNessa Hulme, soprano section leader; Cindy Kelly, soprano. Front row from left to right: Teri Bond, alto; Sue Bickford, alto; Janet Goodwin, alto; Karen Hsu Patterson, alto; Rob Briner, tenor; Richard Scher, tenor; Larry Howard, bass; Diane Fletcher-Hoppe, soprano; Rebecca Crawford, soprano. Not pictured, alphabetically: Thomas Ahern, bass; Norb Gallery, bass; Jyvonne Haskin, alto section leader; Kim Miller, soprano.
A quintet of choir members sang “Come Home” by Peter Eldridge during Ingathering Sunday. The singers are as follows from left to right: DeReau Farrar, Director of Music; Babatunde Akinboboye, Bass Section Leader; VanNessa Hulme, Soprano Section Leader; Debra Penberthy, Substitute Alto Section Leader; Gabriel Paredes, Tenor Section Leader. 


Aug 2013

The choir presented two wonderful concerts in June, one on  behalf of Dining for Dollars and the other benefitting the  music fund. Photo by Diana Spears.

Jul 2013






Director of Music DeReau K. Farrar and friends singing at the June 16 service. This marked the end of DeReau's first year at UUCCSM as director of music. Photo by Charles Haskell

Jun 2013

Benefit Concert for Homeboy Industries

In March Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries was our guest in the pulpit. As I listened to him  speak, entranced by his stories of compassion and the healing of connection, I thought about my friend John Flynn. 
John has performed at services and concerts here twice in  the last few years. He lives in Delaware where he facilitates a weekly group meeting at a local prison as part of the New Beginning program. I have thought for a long  time that John should hear about Homeboy Industries and  Greg Boyle. When I got home that Sunday, I sat down to send John a message on Facebook. When I opened up his page, what did I find but a post from him talking about “Tattoos On  the Heart,” Father Boyle’s book. I told him that I just seen Father Boyle and as we chatted, I asked him if he would like to  come out here and perform a small benefit for Homeboy at UUCCSM. John quickly became enthusiastic about the idea  and I started talking to Rev. Rebecca, FIA, and the music committee, as well as Jacki Weber, UUCCSM member and Homeboy Industries fund raiser. (See all these serendipitous connections?)
Within a couple of days, John got back to me saying,  “Uh, Sue, this thing has kind of grown.” The person who had  given John the book just happened to be Kris Kristofferson’s  daughter, Kelly. John told her about the concert. She became  enthusiastic and thought to ask her father (also a friend of  John’s) if he wanted to share the stage with John. Well, one  thing led to another and the concert grew larger than UUCCSM  could possibly handle in our sanctuary.
The concert is now set to play on June 23 at the  Smothers Theater on Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus. 
Tickets are on sale at All  the proceeds go to Homeboy Industries. None of the performers are taking pay for this one. Father Boyle will be on hand to  share some stories.
In acknowledgement of the planting of the seed of this  concert, UUCCSM rated a logo on the poster as one of the  “presenters” of the concert. It should be a great concert. It is  my hope that many of UUCCSM’s members will be filling the  seats on June 23.
As a double treat, John Flynn will be our guest in the  pulpit Sunday morning on June 23. He is an experienced guest  with UU congregations. He will be addressing his work in the  prison in Delaware.
Kristofferson, Flynn, and Boyle. It is going to be a fun  night. A powerful outcome of letting serendipity and connection hold sway.
Sue Bickford

Oct 2012

Introducing Our New Director of Music, DeReau K. Farrar

On Ingathering Sunday, September 9, UUCCSM's new Director of Music ("DofM"), DeReau Farrar, was introduced at both services, and our choir sang for the first time in the fall after two Thursday evening rehearsals together.

DeReau introduced himself to the DofM Search Committee last May with this message: "My experience in church and sacred music for the past 10 years has been extremely rich and diverse, and I look forward to expanding that knowledge further." A tryout rehearsal with DeReau and our choir was publicly announced for August 23, and the unanimously positive feedback convinced the Search Committee and Rev. Bijur to offer him the position.

DeReau was born in West Covina and grew up splitting time between parents there and in Pasadena. His early
religious life centered in the generally fundamentalist Church of Christ, and later on he carefully examined Christian and Jewish scriptures in his own journey. As an adult he has spent time at the Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, and most recently All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. At this point he feels entirely compatible with and supportive of Unitarian Universalism as he continues his spiritual development.

In music, DeReau has sung professionally off Broadway and with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles
Opera, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. He has appeared in recitals and
concerts throughout the U.S. and also in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain. Back in California he has been associated with the Verdi Chorus in Santa Monica since 2003 and became their Assistant Conductor in 2005. He was appointed Artistic Director of the Selah Gospel Choir of Pasadena in 2007 and has led local productions of “TheWiz,“ “Ragtime,” “The Laramie Project,” and music projects at many public and private high schools. In addition to conducting, DeReau plays the piano and is a published arranger of music.

DeReau welcomes everyone's input on music at our church and he plans to spend time on Sunday mornings getting to know as many people as possible. As chair of the DofM Search Committee, I want to say this: DeReau is a remarkable individual with maturity, perspective, and presence way beyond his years. His musicianship is stellar,but his style is casual and collaborative. Hiring him was a unique opportunity and I hope everyone will work with him to maximize the possibilities. There are new roads to travel and it's exciting for us to have an impact on DeReau at this stage in his life. UUCCSM's music program was conducted at a very high level for a decade under Steve Wight, followed by a year of seeking and transition under Seth Houston. I'm confident that music at UUCCSM will evolve further under DeReau's leadership, and enrich our lives in new ways.

Rob Briner