Music and Arts
UUCM has long been a focal point for arts in the town of Marblehead, esp. music. The building includes a pipe organ—a tracker organ meaning the keys and pedals rely entirely on mechanical linkages to the pipes. As such, it requires regular, costly professional maintenance to keep it in playable condition. It has not been maintained because of the cost and thus has been seldom played in recent years. A piano has proven to be more appropriate for our needs.
For church services, UUCM has relied on a fine Falcone grand piano, at 7.5 feet sized to fit our space. The piano has even received letters of appreciation from visiting professional pianists. And you can read about our church choir here.
The piano was featured in classical piano recitals and many other musical performances. The Cambridge Chamber Players often used it for performances in a summer chamber music classical concert series. This series became so popular they eventually moved to larger venues.
Marblehead Summer Jazz made good use of the piano and sanctuary acoustics, presenting a summer series for many years.
UUCM is best known for the Me & Thee, aka the Me & Thee Coffeehouse. The Me & Thee began as a folk music venue over 50 years ago. The Me & Thee started in the smaller Stetson Hall room, now an art gallery, that has a small, permanent stage. Occasionally, a large auditorium was rented, for shows like Pete Seeger. In time, the sanctuary became its consistent, permanent home. A portable stage is used with installed professional lighting and a professional state-of-the art sound system (which the Church also uses). When the audience is large enough, folding doors are opened and the adjoining Stetson hall is filled with folding chairs. The all-volunteer Me & Thee operates as a semi-autonomous part of UUCM.
In addition to hosting the Stetson Gallery, arts gallery which changes the featured local artist once a month, UUCM provides a gallery exhibit, usually Senior Art, as part of the Marblehead Festival of Arts that occurs around the 4th of July each year. During this festival staged readings of short plays are provided in the sanctuary, and writing entries are available for review in the Holyoke room. The congregation includes many gifted artists working in a range of media.
The UUCM sanctuary was the original home of the Mugford Street Players. This local amateur group occasionally staged short runs of plays complete with a stage, lighting, set, and costumes. The shows were enjoyed by all but it was disruptive to the normal use of the church so the Players moved to other facilities.
In addition to our place as the home for written arts during the Marblehead Arts Festival, UUCM has an annual summer service that is entirely poems offered by the Church members, many of which are original. Also, a number of church members are published authors.
Various dance classes and dances have been held here, from Contras and Square to ballet. Most recently Argentine Tango classes taught by one of the members.