Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

No Poaching

Here’s an article that will be published in The Chronicle, the weekly newsletter of the church wherein I gig.

I try not to be seen as a poacher.

What’s he talking about?

Weirdly, I’m talking about the first thing the choir sang, this past Sunday, to open our program year – the anthem that started out as ‘How Firm a Foundation’, suddenly became ‘Amazing Grace’, and then became a hybrid of both. Even if you’ve been an SUMC-goer for many years … you’ve not heard that anthem ever before. There’s a reason for that.

You’ll recall that this past spring, Maynard UMC closed its doors for good. You may also know that Ernie and Sherry Stonebraker were Maynard members for many, many years, and Sherry was the music director there. (Therefore, Sudbury’s music ‘bench’ just got even deeper!) Sherry suggested that the cabinets full of choir sheet music at Maynard might contain some items that we here in the SUMC music world might be interested in or be able to put to good use, and thought in any case it would be a shame to see all that music just thrown away. Wouldn’t we like to come go and assess?

‘Yes!!’, screamed my musical self … but another portion of my brain whispered (screamed) the word SCAVENGER. As in, in a world where Perception Is Reality, wouldn’t it look bad if SUMC music people descended upon the Maynard church in its final moments like pirates raiding a cargo ship? And therefore BE bad?

We conducted a conversation or two with Pastor Joel – always wise to alert the fellow who might have taken the heat for our youthful exuberance! Other similar conversations happened, involving stakeholders from SUMC and Maynard, as well. And we came to the conclusion that, indeed, it would be okay to go ahead and, perhaps we should put it this way, rescue a bit of that sheet music.

In fact, we rescued quite a lot of it. Sherry and Kevin and I went through each folder of music and determined its inclusion in one of three categories: [1] Great New (to SUMC) Thing, [2] SUMC Has It And It’s Good To Have More Copies, and [3] We Can Leave This Here. And we found a nice amount of Category 1 items. Over the years, Kevin and I have tended to add items to the SUMC music library via writing new arrangements, and not so much via SUMC’s purchasing power … and this reminded us that indeed, there are other fine musical items out there.

So, over the course of the foreseeable future, you can look forward to hearing more anthems that are ‘rescue puppies’ … and not scavenger items. They’ll be brand-new to you, and they’re brand-new to us. Well … all but two of us.”


September 8, 2014 - Posted by | choir, music, SUMC | , , , , , , , , ,

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