Music Director, David Blazer, collaborates with the minister to create a liturgy in which the music and spoken words become connected and bring about a service as a whole. Congregational singing is solid and strong. Our singing draws upon music from various cultures along with hymns from the UU hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, and Singing the Journey.
The music program is enhanced by the choirs of West Shore.
At the heart of the choral program is the West Shore Adult Choir. The choir has been widely known throughout the Cleveland area as a choir of extreme excellence. Many of the great larger choral works are in the repertoire of this choir. The West Shore Adult Choir sings regularly on Sunday mornings. We rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:00 p.m. and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
For more information in joining the choir, please contact the Director of Music, David Blazer, at 440-333-2255 ext. 114.
Once a month the Free Spirit Band adds a different tone for the Sunday morning service. This high energy group maintains an eclectic array of repertoire from classic rock, blues, folk tradition and some hot jazz. They occasionally join forces with the West Shore Adult Choir for a spirit filled experience. Sometimes the Dave Blazer Trio adds an element of jazz to the occasion. It’s not unusual to have church goers dancing in the aisles during some of their songs in the service. The band consists of keyboard, guitar, bass, saxophone, drums and lead vocals. The Free Spirit Band (video) has also played many times off site for fundraising and special events.
Contact Dave Blazer for more information about the group.
West Shore is also very proud of the musical instruments which provide strength and support to our choral program. At the heart of our musical tradition are the instruments housed in the Sanctuary: a 1963, 3 manual, 33 rank Holtkamp pipe organ installed in the choir loft. Also located on the chancel floor there is a 7’ Steinway grand piano. A single manual harpsichord in the Italian style by Zuckermann Harpsichord of New York is also located in the Sanctuary. Our Chapel houses another Steinway grand piano and Baker Hall houses a Yamaha grand piano. A full set of drums and percussion instruments are used by the Free Spirit Band.
The Junior Choir welcomes those from kindergarten into high school. Our wide age range helps to create a family atmosphere for choir members. The only requirement of membership is to care about each other. Junior Choir meets on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. from September to May. The practices emphasize having fun with music, celebrating our Unitarian Universalist values through song, and enjoying donut munchkins and cookies at the end of each practice! The choir sings periodically for worship services, other special events, and as part of our All Ages Choir. Once or twice a year the Junior Choir, Adult Choir, and other youth and adult singers combine to form an All Ages Choir. This choir usually numbers close to 50 singers. It provides a unique intergenerational musical experience for all involved.
Joe Schafer has directed the Junior Choir for over 30 years. He composes some of the music for the choir. Some of his songs are published by the church in three songbooks: Celebrating Unitarian Universalism (1995), Making Music (2000) and Time for Singing (2006).
Joe’s songs are used by other UU churches as well as by other faith communities. Each songbook and recording of the music is available for $20 as a set, or $15 for the songbook alone. Churches are welcome to copy any of the music in a songbook after purchasing one. To place an order, contact Meghan Ross, Acting Director of Lifespan Faith Development: firstname.lastname@example.org or the church by phone – 440 333-2255.
The 2006-2007 church year was the final year for B. Neil Davis to be leading the choral program at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church. Being widely known for his choral activities throughout his career, it was very fitting to honor his last year with a concert series of exceptional choral music. With its overwhelming success, West Shore decided to continue this tradition and name the series in Neil’s honor.
Each year, the B. Neil Davis Artist Series presents a number of musical events dedicated to exceptional choral and instrumental music involving not only own West Shore Choir but many other guest musicians from the Cleveland Metropolitan area and throughout the country. We invite you to experience these musical events throughout the year that strive to offer a most diverse series of programs which should provide entertainment and enjoyment to people of all ages. All concerts are free and open to the public. A free will offering is taken to help offset some of the expenses so we can continue to bring you the finest music.
The generous support of members of the Musical Arts Society form the financial foundation of the B. Neil Davis Artist Series. This is an annual leveled giving program of its members. For more information, contact David Blazer at 440-333-2255 ext. 114.
Since 1958, the Rocky River Chamber Music Society (RRCMS) has been presenting concerts featuring professional musicians from around the world. In recent years RRCMS has hosted the Moscow String Quartet from Russia, the Vienna Piano Trio from Austria, the Penderecki String Quartet from Poland, Cuarteto Quiroga from Spain, the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, and the Bennewitz Quartet from Prague. Of course the Society also presents many ensembles from Ohio and the United States as well. These musical pioneers emphasized the importance of commissioning new works, cooperating with other cultural organizations, and urging artists to choose their own repertoire in order to ensure a wide diversity of styles–all of which are still among our goals today. During its early years RRCMS presented its concerts in several different venues in Lakewood and Rocky River. Its final home, since October 1964, has been the acoustically excellent sanctuary of West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church on Hilliard Road in Rocky River. The renovation of the church’s sanctuary, completed in November 2017, has only improved the acoustics to the delight of audiences and musicians alike. For more information and photos please see the Society’s website, www.rrcms.org.
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