From UUCW Member Susan Endes

This past year, participation in the UUCW choir has changed during the pandemic from weekly rehearsals at church, with occasional social times before or after with potluck meals or snacks, and live performances at services once or twice a month to weekly zoom meetings from our homes. We’ve been singing alone to Ruben’s accompaniment online, making videos of ourselves, emailing them to Hayley German Fisher, a choir member with special equipment and knowledge to coordinate the individual videos into composite videos which can be shown on our Facebook LIVE services. During our rehearsals, we also keep up on each others’ news. We agree we actually have become closer friends online since we have more time for socializing online. Some of us have also been learning solfege, a music theory method of reading music that Ruben’s been teaching before our group rehearsals. Another difference is our choir has shrunk to about a dozen members online to perhaps twice that many former members. We are hoping those who’ve left will come back once we meet in person again.

Being a member of two Wellspring groups has definitely helped me keep a positive attitude, by offering opportunities to deepen my spiritual life through readings and other resources, discussions, music, and spiritual practices, such as meditation, journaling, walking, and other ways. One group focuses on spiritual practices and the other has various themes and is a reunion Wellspring group that has been meeting for about four years. We keep in touch with our bi-weekly zoom meetings, with check-ins for personal input and group discussions. Here, as with the choir, these online get-togethers have deepened our friendships and helped all of us to feel socially connected. Another activity I really enjoy on zoom is our writing group, led by Helen Ambuel. Helen has moved to Shorewood but continues to lead our group, and we all benefit through self-expression, sharing our writings by reading them out loud and keeping in touch.

One of my new spiritual practices is walking our dog, Zeus, every morning, unless the weather is really bad or something unexpected comes up. We walk around the neighborhood, to a nearby park. On our walks, we often meet other neighbors and their dogs and have become friends with some. I usually know the dogs’ names, even if I don’t know their owners’ names! This is an unexpected pleasure of the pandemic time since many more people are out walking, with and without pets, especially as the weather warms up.

I am looking forward to singing in our beautiful church with the choir again, as soon as it’s safe. There’s nothing as joyful as singing together!

I’m so happy that UUCW staff continue to be creative in offering the congregation needed services and special events! I didn’t get together with my extended family for the holidays. I also didn’t go camping this year or go on weekend getaways with friends. Everything was canceled. Belonging to two Wellspring groups, the Writing Group and Zoom Yoga helped me keep a positive attitude. I learned that I can be happy by keeping a balance in my life of purpose, social, creative, active, and alone time activities. I found unexpected pleasure from making videos of myself singing to be combined with other choir members’ videos for online performances. I am looking forward to being able to sing with the choir when we are back together.