The Scoop: Multicultural Music Program

Dr. Milton Crotts, Music Director

Dr. Milton Crotts, Music Director

Perhaps you are aware that the UUA has, for years, been noting (shouting, actually) that through our principles, Unitarian Universalists are called to work for racial justice; to nurture religious communities that are inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds; and to dismantle racism and other oppressions at home and in our larger society. There is a staff group in the UUA devoted to Multicultural Growth and Witness and their work is to help congregations create justice-seeking religious communities inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities/expressions, abilities, ages, and economic and educational backgrounds.

JeffRobbins-webMulticulturalism means nurturing a religious community where people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures see their cultural identities reflected and affirmed in every aspect of congregational life—worship, fellowship, leadership, governance, religious education, social justice, etc. Multiculturalism means that we create religious homes where encounters between people of different cultural identities intersect with Unitarian Universalism to create a fully inclusive community where, in the words of a vision statement adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Leadership Council, “all people are welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled.”

On December 28, we offered a worship service where cultural identities surely intersected with Unitarian Universalism as Milt Crotts, our highly creative Music Director, programmed a service of exceptional musical diversity. The service included many traditional and favorite hymns including the opening “Morning Has Broken” and concluded with a ragtime-style version of “This Little Light of Mine,” with many musical diversions along the way:

  • Environmental awareness showed up in a parody of the traditional holiday carol, Angels We Have Heard On High, with the chorus as “So——lar Power, Inexpensive Energy”
  • The musical journey continued with a spiritual, “Willin’ to Try,” which was followed by this cultural tour:
    • India: Kiirtan chant and a powerfully performed traditional Bengali love song
    • Southern Appalachia (Sacred Harp): Am I Born to Die
    • Early Country: Long Gone Daddy by Hank Williams
    • Traditional Navajo Text: Now I Walk in Beauty
  • An Irish parting song and a South African Train Song, Shosholoza, brought the musical sojourn to an end.

And the best thing about it? Despite the broad variety, the service hung together nicely as a piece. And now you know what multicultural congregations sound like.