The first Music Sunday of the year will be on December 9 and will contemplate immigration and what immigrants have meant to our country. The centerpiece of the worship service will be a presentation of the cantata The Immigrant Experience, by Winchester UU Music Director John Kramer. The Sanctuary Choir and three vocal soloists will sing this work, accompanied by piano, cello, violin and clarinet.
John Kramer writes: ”I was inspired to write this work by the words of George Washington found in the second movement baritone solo. “The Bosom of America is open to receive…” I was motivated to write this work by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that seems to be on the rise. I do believe in the United States as a place of freedom and opportunity for all, and a country that has benefited tremendously from all immigrants.
“While the overall concept is one of welcome and openness to the immigrant, the work speaks to a number of important themes. Movement four, The Immigrant Struggle, speaks to the difficulties incurred by the Irish in their migration during the potato famine and also the Chinese, whose immigration was restricted by the 1892 Chinese exclusion act.
“The story of movement is another central theme to the immigrant experience. All immigrant families travel, some in comfort, and some under duress. Reading many stories of migration from south of our border, especially Honduras and Guatemala inspired me to write the fifth movement Journey from the South. This movement attempts to tell of the heroic efforts many immigrants make to reach this country; it also stands, in a way, for all immigrant journeys.
So many of us in this country are immigrants, but not all; certainly we have to contend with the fact that native populations were displaced make room for the new arrivals. And, not all immigrants came here by their own free will. The sixth movement is a kind of requiem that deals with the over- whelming sadness I feel when deeply contemplating the enormity of this situation. Sometimes, all we can do is, “remember and cry.”
“The story of immigration is the story of this country, and a story of the freedoms, freedom of opportunity, freedom from oppression, and freedom of religion, that we enjoy. The Immigrant Experience is the telling of that story, yours and mine, through music. “
The service will also feature the FUUSN Flute Choir and our liturgical dance company, CreationDance. The Offering in the service will go to support the families of refugees (asylum seekers) that FUUSN is sponsoring with four other churches and synagogues in Newton and Brookline. The umbrella organization is the Newton-Brookline Asylum Resettlement Committee (NBARC). -Anne Watson Born