I sit, eyes closed, taking in the sounds of vocal harmonies produced by a transcendent choral ensemble. Words and wisdom of prophetic leaders, POC, trans, and musicians with disabilities swirl around me. Just two weeks ago, Melissa and I attended the annual Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM) conference held in Denver. Only three weeks into my work at Foothills, such a gathering of music leaders was inspiring and transformative. This year the conference held up a spotlight on folks among us who are often marginalized, and the result was spectacular! I come away with many new songs and skills I hope to share with you in the coming months.
Thank you. I am grateful for the way this congregation has welcomed me as Music Lead, though it has been difficult to say goodbye to Melissa, our wonderful previous Music Lead. You are a vibrant congregation, ready to sing, dance, find joy in the midst of pain, and commit to the work of justice. There is a love holding us, and that truth is palpable on Sunday morning and all throughout the week.
I first got into song leading as a Unitarian Universalist youth at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in North Carolina. At our UU summer camp we would spend a solid 30 minutes each morning singing together at morning circle. There were inevitably multiple song breaks throughout the day in which we would sing joyfully together. Through the years I went from camper to counselor to music & worship coordinator, singing all the way. The constant singing, the joy, and the justice-centered approach at the AUUMM conference took me back to my days at The Mountain.
Growing up in Tennessee, Appalachian folk music and Blues were part of the air I breathed. I have a love for simple, powerful songs that drive home a message. Yet it is in a diversity of music that we find our collective strength. If you have musical gifts that you feel called to share in a Sunday service, please reach out to me! This is a shared ministry. I look forward to getting to know some of you better and some for the first time. You can catch me on Sundays or around Fort Collins as part of the band Crispy Watkins and the Crack Willows.
Some cultures teach us that music is the very fabric of life itself. The land we live on and indeed our very beings are made of song. Through music we have the power to shape the world we live in, to build the Beloved Community we long for. Singing together is a testament to our interconnectedness. I invite you to bring this intention to the music we make together. We create a sound on Sunday that is far more than any one of us could do alone. This resonates throughout the week, throughout our places of work and play, and throughout our lives. Let’s dream big, sing loudly, and let the music lead us onwards!
Christopher Watkins Lamb