Music Sundays

Why Music is Important

We believe that the ability to create and appreciate art is part of what makes us human. Our tradition of special Music Sundays celebrates that core humanist value. Music can express feelings, experiences and emotions as language alone never can. The simple act of singing together in Sunday Assemblies is one means of sharing in community. Bringing skilled musicians together to perform high-quality music is a further affirmation of our beliefs.


The Tradition

For more than sixty years, the Society has maintained its own chamber orchestra and skilled chorus which present three-four Sunday morning programs a year. Music Sundays are more than artistically-crafted performances. Each is carefully organized around a meaningful theme and often includes other readings or reflections.


Each season includes a variety of themes—some playful, some touching the darkest corners of the human experience. A few examples include:

  • Migration, Metamorphosis, and Miracle. This program opened with the Cantus Arcticus of Finnish composer Rautavara which combines chamber orchestra and the “found sounds” of arctic birdcalls. It moved on to Conte’s powerful Elegy for Matthew, recalling the brutal and senseless murder of Matthew Shepard.
  • Angels and Demons–The Mythology of Heaven and Hell and the Human Dilemma explored the role music played in forming our visions of heaven and hell (Mozart, Fauré, Paulus).
  • Nordic, North and Night. From the sounds of fiddlers, to the vision of Northern lights, to the peacefulness of the season, to the austerity of the winter, there is music and beauty to hear and experience. The music evoked haunting images of the North and its wintery landscapes. Composers included Tarik O’Regan, Stephen Chatman, Ola Gjeilo, and Pehr Nordgren.
  • Tango, featured work by the great Argentinean composer Ástor Piazzolla specially arranged by Oscar Escalada for our chorus and orchestra—complete with dancers and bandoneón players.

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent
–Victor Hugo