Music & performance

St. Augustine is credited with saying, "The one who sings, prays twice." At United Church, we believe that music sets the tone for our worship--literally. For many, listening to beautiful music is a spiritual experience. It's like the Apostle Paul said: When we don't know how to pray, "the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26).

Our Director of Music, Caesar Storlazzi, ministers to the congregation in a wide variety of musical styles, from Handel's Messiah to Barnett's recent bluegrass mass. In addition, guest musicians broaden our musical horizons with jazz, blues, and gospel sounds. But listening to music is only part of the story. As in every facet of our faith life, we believe we are called to be not only consumers, but working partners. And so congregational singing grounds our worship life. In partnership with God and sisters and brothers around the world, we lift our voices not only in standard 4-part hymns (drawn from the Hymns of Truth and Light hymnal, as well as a library of other resources), but also songs of prayer and praise from many cultures. We don't worry about sounding good so much as feeling good, pouring out our hearts to God with the voices God gave us. After all, isn't that what every Parent wants to hear? 

Caesar has a creative gift and each Sunday directs our choirs and plays the Organ, piano, harpsicord and/or the oboe. We often have guest musicians and jazz offerings, and other varieties of music. In non-pandemic times, our United Church Choir rehearses Thursdays at 7:30pm at the meeting house (corner of Temple & Elm). Come on down and give singing a try!

Music news

We send a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to Kerry Snyder! Kerry(Prof. Kerala J. Snyder) received the Royal College of Organists (RCO) Medal for 2022 in recognition of distinguished achievement in scholarship relating to organ and church music. The RCO has presented diplomas and certificates to members of the College, and awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists to distinguished practitioners and scholars from the fields of organ and choral music


Kerry Snyder is Professor Emerita of Musicology and Affiliate Faculty of Organ, Sacred Music, & Historical Keyboards at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. She has also taught at Yale University and the Hartt School of Music, worked as Senior Researcher at the Göteborg Organ Art Center, and served as organist at a number of churches. She studied at Wellesley College, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale University, where she received the Ph.D. in Music History. She is widely acknowledged as a leading expert in German baroque music, particularly the music of Dieterich Buxtehude. For her work in this area she received the Buxtehude Prize from the city of Lübeck, Germany, in 1990, was made an honorary member of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music in 2007, and received an honorary doctorate from Gothenburg University in Sweden in 2010. Among her publications are the books Dieterich Buxtehude: Organist in Lübeck (its second edition translated into German as Dieterich Buxtehude: Leben, Werk, Aufführungspraxis); The Organ as a Mirror of its Time: North European Reflections, 1610-2000; and The Organist as Scholar: Essays in Memory of Russell Saunders; as well as numerous articles in journals and in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Leaping from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, she served as founding Editor-in-Chief of the on-line Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music from 1995 to 2003, is co-editor of the on-line Düben Collection Database Catalogue at Uppsala University, and recently published The Choir Library of St. Mary’s in Lübeck, 1546-1674: A Database Catalogue on the Gothenburg University website.


Little known fact: Kerala Snyder was one of Caesar’s first music professors at Yale when he began his studies in the Music Early Concentration Program in 1970-71.