Ukulele Happenings at BFUU
Beginner Ukulele Student Steve Sings “You Are My Sunshine” to His 110-Year-Old Mother Doris
Let your spirit sing and join our choir or play music with us!
We also have practices on Wednesday evenings, which are open to everyone.
BFUU Choir Practice
Wednesdays at 7-8:30 PM in Fellowship Hall – 1924 Cedar St.
We practice songs for the Worship services, learning melodies, and working on musicality. During the first part of the evening, we focus on choir numbers with harmonies. From about 8 pm on, we practice the hymns we'll lead on Sunday. Everyone is welcome to join in for fellowship and to be able to sing more confidently and joyously on Sundays. Please invite your friends and neighbors. There's no pressure to sing in the choir on Sundays. These gatherings are something BFUU offers as a service to build community. Folks are also welcome to come to the meditative tea from 6:30 - 7 pm right before the singing practice.
BFUU Music Videos
Click title to listen to audio. (After it loads, sometimes clicking the play iconon the left is necessary.)
Watch some samples of BFUU Music performances on our YouTube channel:
Jan 25, 2020 “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” at BFUU With Emma’s Revolution and Annie Patterson
Singers from the BFUU Choir and Ukulele Group sing this beautiful Pete Seeger song about ending war, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 with Emma’s Revolution and Annie Patterson in their concert “Songs of Resilience” honoring Pete.
January 5, 2020, “Branching Out”
The BFUU Choir and Congregation sing a John Gorka song about growing up to become a tree during the 1/5/2020 Sunday service on trees, community, and spirituality. The sang “Reach out!” and reached out and swayed like trees as they sang along (which is why the video is rocking a little towards the end—the congregant taking the video started dancing along with everyone else).
December 22, 2019, “I Believe”
The BFUU choir sang the song “I Believe” on Dec. 22, 2019 in honor of Hannukah.
The words were written by a Jew hiding from the Nazis in WWII, and the music is by Mark Miller.
“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
I believe in God even when God is silent.”
The words of a Jew hiding from the Nazis during WWII express the Jew’s deep faith in love and God even when the world seems devoid of any evidence of either. This faith is as unshakable as the person’s faith that the sun exists, even when it is night and the sun can’t be seen, or perhaps because it is dark and windowless in the Jew’s hiding place.
Jan 27, 2019 “Island of Woods” at BFUU
Jason Pollack (flute), Lauren Renée Hotchkiss, and Susan T. Mashiyama perform Liz Carrol's air, “Island of Woods” at the Sunday service on Jan. 27, 2019.
Jan 27, 2019 “You Raise Me Up” at BFUU
The BFUU Choir performs the uplifting “You Raise Me Up” at BFUU's Sunday service on Jan. 27, 2019. The song features James Blanchard as soloist, and Jason Pollack on flute. Andy Jamieson is our wonderful pianist.
November 25, 2018: The Sharp Five Jazz Band
Our guest musicians, The Sharp Five Jazz Band headed by Guy Gash played smooth and peaceful jazz music for the Sunday service. You can find more about them at their website (www.sharpfivejazz.com).
November 25, 2018: “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”
The BFUU Choir sings "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" at the Sunday service on "Gratitude." Lovely piano accompaniment is by Andy Jamieson and we're joined by drummer Glen Iowaka from the Sharp Five Jazz Band. Watch for the big finish at the end.
July 15, 2018: “Blues Improvisation”
The guest worship leader Clovice Lewis (cello) and Brett Torres (piano) played a little blues improvisation on July 15, 2018 at the Sunday service, and Dolores Helman got up and danced a few steps.
The BFUU Ukulele players and Choir sang this song about a vision of a peaceful world by John Lennon at the Sunday service on July 15, 2018.
On July 8, 2018, the BFUU presented their spirited rendition of “Baba Yetu,” the Lord’s Prayer translated into Swahili. Music by Christopher Tin. This was a wonderful group project to put together this challenging piece.
July 1, 2018: All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir
The BFUU Choir and Ukulele Players led this song at the Sunday service on July 1, 2018 connecting the theme about diversity and the Flower Communion, where each individual has unique gifts and talents, just like different flowers, we all have a place in the choir!
Virginia performs a moving tribute to the struggles that African Americans have endured in her rendition of “Strange Fruit” accompanied by Andy at the Sunday service on April 29, 2018. The song was written by Abel Meeropol under the pseudonym Lewis Allan to protest racism against African Americans and is about the lynchings that had a peak around the turn of the century. Performed at the BFUU Sunday service on April 29, 2018.
Guest musicians C’est La Vie performs a lively Cajun song called “High Point Two Step” for the Sunday service on April 22, 2018 (Earth Day) at BFUU.
Our guest musician Cory Davis performs the Prelude from Bach Cello Suite #1 by J.S. Bach at the BFUU Sunday service on April 1, 2018. Cory Davis is a Bay Area musician who plays in a variety of styles.
March 25, 2018: "Freight Train"
The BFUU Choir sings "Freight Train" at the BFUU Sunday service on March 25, 2018. The song was written by African-American songwriter Elizabeth Cotten in the early 1900’s when she was a teenager and it was inspired by the sound of trains rolling in on the tracks near her home in North Carolina. Cotten had a hard life and began working as a maid at the age of 13 and later was a nanny for Ruth and Charles Seeger whose musical family included Pete Seeger. Unfortunately, the “Freight Train” song was misappropriated by British musicians as their own, but the influential Seeger family eventually helped restore the copyright to Cotten.
March 25, 2018: "Simple Gifts" on the Theremin and Piano
At the March 25, 2018 Sunday service, Doug (theremin) and Andy (piano) perform “Simple Gifts.”
March 25, 2018: The Curious Theremin
This intriguing musical instrument is explained by Doug during the “Time for All Ages at the March 25, 2018 Sunday service.
December 14, 2017: "What About Islam?"
(Event co-sponsored by the Music and Social Justice Committees)
“Middle Eastern Music at “What About Islam?”
Gary Haggerty (oud) and Faisal Zedan (drum) play a composition by Gary Haggerty before the talk on Islam with Egyptian activist Ahmed Salah at BFUU on December 14, 2017. The event was co-sponsored by the BFUU Music and Social Justice Committees.
“What About Islam?”: Activist Ahmed Salah
At the "What About Islam?" event at BFUU on December 14, 2017, Egyptian activist Ahmed Salah speaks about his understanding of Islam and the experiences that led him from being an atheist to becoming Muslim. At first he was more interested in music than religion, but during mandatory military training in Egypt, he went on a hunger strike that resulted in a near-death experience. This caused him to deeply explore multiple religions, including Islam, the religion of his native land. The event was co-sponsored by the BFUU Music and Social Justice Committees and the evening began with live Middle Eastern music.
November 19: Creating Beloved Community
The BFUU Choir sings "Seasons of Love" at the Ingathering Service at BFUU on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.
September 17: Spiritual Sentience
To open the Sunday service at BFUU on September 17, 2017, the BFUU Choir sings hymn #395 in four parts, “Sing and Rejoice” from Singing the Living Tradition.
September 10: Helpers and Heroes: the Sept. 11th Legacy
At the Sunday service at BFUU on September 10, 2017, our lively BFUU Choir leads the congregation in hymn #100, “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” from Singing the Living Tradition.
September 3: Water Communion
At the Sunday service at BFUU on September 3, 2017, the BFUU Choir did a great job singing a traditional chant about the elements to open our water communion service.
At the “Water Communion” Sunday service on September 3, 2017, the BFUU Choir leads the congregation in hymn #136, “Where Gentle Tides Go Rolling By.”
August 13: Black Life Energy: Honoring Ancestral Wisdom
At the Sunday service at BFUU on August 13, 2017, Doug and Brett lead a moving song “Glory” from the movie Selma about the struggle for equal voting rights. The BFUU Choir sings the backup vocals along with Andy on piano and Susan on violin. The theme for the Sunday service was focused on Black Lives Matter.
August 6: The Revolution Begins At Home
At the Sunday service at BFUU on August 6, 2017, the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra performed for the congregation on their Appalachian dulcimers. Directors Steve Eulberg and Deborah Hamouris played a traditional Chinese song called “Jasmine Flower” and the group led the congregation in singing the Shaker song “’Tis a Gift to Be Simple.”
July 30: Music and Dance: Our Common Language
At the Sunday service at BFUU on July 30, 2017, our mostly music, but also dance, service featured our beloved congregant Dolores showing some fancy footwork to the agile tickling of the ivories by of one of our favorite pianists, Brett.
July 9: Resist and Rejoice
At the Sunday service on July 9, 2017, the BFUU Choir leads the congregation in singing a lively rendition of the African American spiritual “Wade in the Water.”
At the Sunday service on July 9, 2017, BFUU musicians perform "Blowin’ in the Wind" by Bob Dylan; "Heliotrope Bouquet" by Scott Joplin and Louis Chauvin; and "If I Had a Hammer" by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays.
July 2: In Dependence Day
Our young guest musician performs “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” the harp at BFUU’s Sunday service.
At the Sunday service on July 2, 2017, “In Dependence Day!” Brett performs all-American music on the piano: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a Sousa march, “The Washington Post March”; and the BFUU Choir leads the congregation in singing “Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield” and “A Firemist and a Planet.”
June 25: How the US Supreme Court Stood Up on the Side of Love
The BFUU Choir leads the congregation in singing “Guide My Feet,” “Everything Possible,” and “How Could Anyone” at the Pride Sunday service on June 25, 2017.
June 18: Fathers Are Men, Too
The BFUU Choir sings “California Dreamin’” with their ukuleles at the Sunday service on June 18, 2017. This is a favorite song of Jeff Palmer, a member of the Board and a great dad to his son. His wife Margaret Hurlbert is helping lead the song on ukulele.
June 11: Brecht, Bacteria, and the Biosphere
On Sunday, June 11, 2017, BFUU congregants were fortunate to experience the beautiful a capella singing of the all-women’s ensemble “The Conspiracy of Venus,” under the direction of Joyce Todd McBride. Here is an excerpt of them singing “The Buddha’s Parable of the Burning House,” text by Bertolt Brecht, music by Joyce Todd McBride.
June 4: Make ’Em Laugh
For our Sunday Service on June 4, 2017, with “humor” as the theme, we had funny songs, jokes, and entertaining musical numbers. The guest musicians were “Mary Lou’s Apartment,” an all-women’s jazz ensemble. Rev. Elena told funny jokes but also mixed in serious messages about the power of humor to speak the truth and help create social change.
The guest musicians at our Sunday Service on June 4, 2017 were members of “Mary Lou’s Apartment,” an all-women’s jazz ensemble. This group features the compositions and arrangements of the African American musical geniuses Mary Lou Williams and Melba Liston. A compact-yet-mighty big band, Mary Lou’s Apartment is dedicated to performing great American music in an atmosphere of kindness, joy, support and political action. “Act of Contrition” is a piece by Mary Lou Williams, a prolific composer who whose career began in the 1920s and who had roots in Christian jazz.
May 21: Someone Else’s Child
The BFUU Choir sings a traditional Zambian spiritual at last Sunday’s service. Our ukulele group added some ukuleles to the number, and we thought it sounded nice so we performed it that way on Sunday!
May 6, 2017: BFUU's Annual Pledge Drive Dinner
The annual BFUU Pledge Drive Dinner held on May 6, 2017 included humorous moments, messages from our three ministers, and music and dancing! Here are a few excerpts.
April 29, 2017: Irish Dance Benefit for Standing Rock at BFUU
Lively dancing at "Rock & Reel," an Irish Dance to Benefit Standing Rock, held at BFUU on April 29, 2017. The successful event was made possible by everyone who came together and helped make it happen-- 30 volunteers from BFUU and the Irish music and dance community. Food donated from local stores supplemented the wonderful potluck. Thank you also to all the members and friends of the Fellowship who support BFUU and make it possible for us to have the very buildings where it was held! The event was sponsored by BFUU’s Social Justice Committee. Almost $1,200 was raised for Standing Rock's legal defense fund.
At BFUU’s recent event, “Rock & Reel,” an Irish Dance to Benefit Standing Rock, attendees experienced a special treat-- a performance of Native American dance and music.
At BFUU’s recent event on April 29, 2017, “Rock & Reel,” an Irish Dance to Benefit Standing Rock, Wally Ogi Johnson performed meditative music on Native American flute.
April 23: The Myths We Live: The Fairy Tale Guide to Ever After
For BFUU’s Sunday service on April 23, 2017, Wally Ogi Johnson performed some beautiful music on an unusual instrument—the Mayan dual-chambered flute.
April 2: Shields Up!
At BFUU’s Sunday service on April 2, 2017, pianist Andy Jamieson performs an excerpt from Gustav Mahler’s reflective “Adagietto.”
At BFUU’s Sunday service on April 2, 2017, the BFUU kids performed a wonderful skit about how St. Brigit of Ireland got lands for the poor from the greedy landlord. Such talent!
March 26: Burning the Bridges to Hope: the Assault on Moslem Refugees and Truth
We sometimes sing songs from other cultures and countries at our services to experience and appreciate beautiful music and art from places outside mainstream America. At BFUU’s Sunday service on March 26, 2017, guest musicians “In Harmony’s Way” are joined by the BFUU Choir in a traditional African song called “Jongo.” The song is about overcoming hardship and celebrating together. BFUU’s custodian Richard Sandling is playing along on the drumming.
At BFUU’s Sunday service on March 26, 2017, guest musicians “In Harmony’s Way” lead the congregation in the chorus song “Rolling Home.”
March 19: “Creating a New Paradigm at BFUU”
The BFUU Choir sings a traditional Irish blessing, “May the Road Rise to Meet You” with Andy Jamieson on piano at the Sunday service on March 19, 2017.
Guest musician Ben Saylor plays a beautiful slow air on the Irish flute at BFUU’s Sunday service on March 19, 2017.
At BFUU’s Sunday service on March 19, 2017, guest musicians Erik Newman (guitar) and Ben Saylor (flute) are joined by Susan T. Mashiyama (fiddle) on an Irish reel called “Maggie’s Pancakes.” BFUU’s custodian Richard Sandling is playing along on the African drum and that’s our Board President Doug Chambers playing along on bones.
March 12: The Truth About Trees
BFUU’s wonderful pianist Andy Jamieson performs “I Heard a Forest Praying” at the Sunday service on March 12, 2017.
Susan T. Mashiyama performs a elvish harp number called “Arwen’s Song” from the Lord of the Rings movie after a reading of a poem by Wallace Stevens called “Of Mere Being.”
The BFUU Choir sings “Blue Boat Home” with the congregation at the Sunday service on March 12, 2017.
March 5: Bread and Roses
The BFUU Choir performs “We Shall Overcome” joined by the congregation at the Sunday service on March 5, 2017. Andy Jamieson is the pianist.
February 26: In Search of Miracles
Guest musician Kevin Kihara plays his composition “Contemplation” on a mystical-sounding Swiss percussion instrument called the Hang.
Guest musician Kevin Kihara on Hang is joined by Susan T. Mashiyama on harp on a piece of theirs called “Autumn Wind.”
Brett plays his improvisational version of “Amazing Grace” on the piano.
February 12: Complaint
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Elinor Roberts performs “If It’s Magic” by Stevie Wonder accompanied by Susan on harp.
Guest musician Erik Newman performs on the accordion “Bella Notte” from the famous spaghetti dinner scene of the Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp.”
February 5: The Games We Play
The BFUU Choir singing “Games People Play” by Joe South with Doug on lead vocals and djembe.
January 29: Poetry Service
At the Sunday service, congregants heard “Nearer, My God to Thee,” arranged and performed by guest musician Steve Baughman on guitar.
January 22: Sanctuary Churches: A Haven of Refuge for Immigrants under Threat
BFUU member Doertlis Schultze-Allen sings John Lennon’s “Imagine” accompanied by Yoichi Hariguchi at the Sunday service on January 22, 2017.
Guest musician Laurel North sings “The Rose” with Susan T. Mashiyama, accompanied by Andy Jamieson at the Sunday service.
Guest musician Laurel North performs with Susan T. Mashiyama in a harp duet composed by Susan called “Mist on the River.”
January 15: Universalism: A Weaving of Forgiveness and Justice
This is a song from the movie "Selma" about the struggle for equal voting rights.
Performed by Doug and his family with Andy (piano) and Susan (violin)
January 1: Be It Resolved
Brett performs his interpretation of “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” at the Sunday service.