November 10 brings our fall Music Sunday service, and the offering that day will go to the Newton-Brookline Asylum Resettlement Committee (NBARC). NBARC “is an interfaith group of six congregations working together to provide community-based support to asylum seekers. We began as a “Cluster” working with Refugee Immigration Ministries (RIM) based in Malden, MA. We work closely with RIM and are also developing relationships with other organizations. RIM continues to recommend clients for us to assist, perform CORI checks for our volunteers, and provide insurance. Donations to RIM are held in an account dedicated for NBARC’s use in assisting asylum seekers.
NBARC provides, or helps find, housing, food, clothing, English language instruction, daycare, education, and opportunities for community engagement to asylum-seekers. We work with them from the time they submit their asylum claim until they obtain work authorization, find employment and become self-supporting.” You will hear more about the work of this organization and its connection to FUUSN on November 10.
The music and readings in the service will center around ideas of exile, coming home, what’s over that rainbow, and our dream for the world. We will sing a setting of Psalm 137, the “only one out of 150 psalms to be set in a particular time and place, it relates to the Babylonian Exile—the period between 587-586 B.C. in Israel’s history, when Jews were taken captive in Babylon and the Jerusalem temple was destroyed.” (David Stowe, theconversation.com). The choir will be surprised to learn that Edwin Fissinger, the composer of “By the Waters of Babylon,” a very dramatic, somewhat dissonant work, worked as a jazz bandleader in the late 1930s, and wrote a dissertation on the Baroque composer Antonio Caldara.
Continuing with the exile theme, we will all sing the reggae version of “By the Rivers of Babylon,” and, as part of considering our dream for the world, the Instant Choir song will be Shoshana Jedweb’s “Where You Go.” The choir will also sing works by Adolphus Hailstork, Rosephanye Powell, Stephen Paulus, and Harold Arlen.
We are thrilled to include many of our FUUSN musicians in the service. Lois Shapiro will play folksong settings by Béla Bartók, who in 1907 journeyed to Transylavania, and “among the enormous number of melodies he found in the area, where ethnic Hungarians known as Székelys predominated, were three little tunes played to him in August 1907 by Áron Balog on a peasant flute.” CreationDance, telling a story of exile and a vision of a better world, will dance to music by Robert Schumann, and the Flute Choir will play an arrangement of “Wayfaring Stranger.” We will have Band members involved as well, and Carson Cooman will be playing music by one of my favorite composers, Thomas Åberg. We hope to see you on the 10th, worshipping with your musical friends and in support of NBARC.
–Anne Watson Born