News – May 20, 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

When I finally became a professional vocalist over 20 years ago, I was told I needed a slogan for my website. After much consideration I decided upon “Sharing the Gift of Song.” What is it about music that makes it a gift? Perhaps you may have experienced moments when music was comforting or even healing to your circumstance.  The power of music to move us through an array of emotions can sometimes be overwhelming. Have you ever found yourself stumped when someone asks, “What is your favorite song?”  How can one choose from millions of songs from a wide option of eras, genres, and styles?  Most people I know have varying tastes and opinions about music – what they love, what they dislike, what they tolerate, or abhor. It is a gift to have the ability to choose or to experience the unexpected. It is a gift to explore music without having to decide about whether you like it or not. 


There is a profound cognitive process involved in the genius of music and how we create, present, perceive, and receive. The beauty of this gift that stimulates our intellect, emotion, and physicality has an incredible way of uniting us when we experience music together. Researchers of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that when choirs sing it has a calming effect on the heart and heart rates become synchronized. I hope that encourages you all to join in the singing of hymns each Sunday or even become a member of the choir. Of course, I can’t leave out our instrumentalists – please let me know when you are ready to synchronize with the choir or offer a special selection during service. 


The gift of music is meant to share. There is in exchange between music makers and the audience that I believe transcends our understanding. What we undeniably understand is that music is an essential part of life and something we want to experience over and over again.  One thing you can count on each Sunday is that we will share and experience the gift of music at First Houston. May you find depth in each musical encounter we provide.


Dr. Jolie Rocke
Director of Music
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston