Music Transition Search Committee

Three Finalists for Music Director Postion

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.
Our finalists:
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.
Donald Milton III has served as the Director of Music at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta since 2008. Don has also served as the Founder and Artistic Director of Lux Atlanta, an ensemble of professional and advanced amateur singers as well as artistic director for DeKalb Choral Guild and Royal Oak 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, Don and Joel will work with the Unitarian choir and our ministers to prepare a worship service offered on January 29 (Don) and February 26 (Joel). 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
Greg Belisle
Dottie Chidester
Theo Harper
Marilyn Scott


Update from Music Transition Advisory Committee

430 congregants responded to the survey by the end of March 2016, and over 200 weighed in with your comments about the Music Transition, preferred qualities of the new Music Director and the direction of the music program.  Here is the analysis of your responses to the two "ranking" questions and to the open-ended comments.
We've completed the position announcement and it will be posted very soon.


Congregant Input Meeting Results

We've had very informative meetings with congregants and have summarized the results on our Church Website page.  

As we work on the position announcement, to be posted by early May, we are now meeting with Music staff, ministers and program heads to learn about their hopes and dreams for the music program.

And we have over 400 responses to the Church survey to analyze.  

View the results and summary of the sessions.

We'll keep you posted.  

-Chris Tanner, Marilyn Scott, Theo Harper, Dottie Chidester, Greg Belisle


Acting Director of Music Named

interim music directorWith the retirement of Mark Slegers, our music program will be undergoing a major transition in the coming months. I’m pleased to announce that DeReau Farrar has been appointed to fill the role of Acting Director of Music for the coming year. DeReau has been serving the UU Congregations in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, CA as well as directing a community chorus and providing leadership for many music and arts events. His experience is extensive and I find him to be a grounded person who will support the quality of community that our choirs appreciate so much. His love of music and of music-in-community will be easy to see on Sunday morning. DeReau will be able to apply for the permanent position … along with many other candidates. He’ll be in Portland next month to meet with music staff and choirs and making his move to the Northwest this summer. Check out his website.