Dear Friends and Members of First Unitarian Portland,
Your Music Transition Committee has been hard work, and we are very pleased to provide you with this exciting update, summarizing our process, presenting our 3 finalists and outlining next steps.
Our process: Beginning last May, we advertised and sought applications for the position of Music Director. By the deadline of September 15, we had received nearly 30 applications from very qualified musicians. Based on evaluation of resumes, references and available online music performances, we narrowed the pool to 8 applications. We then did a deep dive on these 8 candidates, viewing additional music videos, talking with 2-3 references for each and conducting video-assisted interviews, finally narrowing our pool to 3 amazing candidates.
DeReau Farrar, currently acting music director for our church. Until he left the Los Angeles area to join us, DeReau served in many roles: as choir director for First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and as Music Director for the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica. He was high school chorus and voice teacher for the New Roads School of Santa Monica and the Artistic Director for Selah Gospel Choir in Pasadena. He has over 10 years of experience in music ministry and leadership in community choirs, as well as experience in choral/vocal arranging, vocal coaching, and theatrical productions.
A second candidate (who wishes not to be named) has served as the Director of Music at a large Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2008. He has also served as the Founder and Artistic Director of an ensemble of professional and advanced amateur singers as well as artistic director for a Choral Guild and Children’s Choir. He is a private voice instructor with students aged 10-70+, working with students in all genres.
Joel Sindelar served as the Music Director for First Unitarian Universalist Church in Malden, Massachusetts. Joel has also been the founder, conductor, arranger and/or artistic director for numerous community choirs in Boston area, currently including: Sing Positive, a 50-100 member intergenerational choir, (ages 2 months-81 years), with a wide ranging repertoire; Voices of MetroWest, a 35 member adult ensemble, and The Merry Christmas Caroling Mob in Boston.
Next Steps: Needless to say, each Sunday DeReau has shown us his ability to put together a music program that supports the worship service. During weeklong visits in January and February, our two out-of-town candidates will work with the Unitarian choir and our ministers to prepare worship services offered on January 29 and February 26. Each finalist will also rehearse with the Chalice and Chamber choirs (observed by the Music Transition Committee), meet the singers in the women’s choir and the ringers in the children and adult bell choirs, and have interviews with the music staff, ministers and music transition committee.
We will invite comments on each of the candidates from the choirs and congregants. The Music Transition Committee will review all commentary and make its recommendation to the Senior Minister, hopefully by mid-March.
If you have comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the members of the Music Transition Advisory Committee or click here*
Chris Tanner, Chair