After our first Interfaith Choir Festival in October 2013, I was approached by Amanda Harberg, a professional composer and friend of our Composer-in-Residence, Tom Parente. She had an idea for organizing a series of chamber music concerts with top-level performers, and she felt that UU Montclair was the perfect place for it.
Amanda had a clear vision and considerable experience with marketing such events. While talking through the project with her, I became convinced that this would be a worthwhile endeavor for us. Next, I brought the proposal to the members of our Music Committee, who discussed it thoroughly and then unanimously voted to go ahead with it. I then presented our venture (including a request for funding) to our Board, and their response was equally positive.
There were, of course, also many personal conversations, phone calls and emails. Sometimes things got held up by one factor or another. The development process took well over a year, and I occasionally felt frustrated about the laborious nature of our democratic structures.
When we finally held the first Music in Montclair concert on the evening of January 11th, our Sanctuary was packed, and the excitement in the room was palpable. The event turned out to be a spectacular success on all levels, including financially. It was easy to recognize the value of a congregational culture that ensures many people get to reflect on and contribute to the project.
This culture permeates our entire community. After seeing the indicators of the thoughtfulness and diligence that are going into preparing for our interim ministry, I think we have good reason to feel very optimistic about the future of our congregation.
P.S. Our next Music in Montclair concert is scheduled for Saturday, May 9th, at 7:00 PM. Mark your calendars!