Music is a beloved and integral part of our congregational life. We strive to provide a music ministry all can enjoy, either as performers or listeners. We offer a wide variety of music with diverse styles and ensembles designed to enhance the worship experience and strengthen our community. All Sunday worship services incorporate live music, either from the Sanctuary Singers Choir or other musicians in our community. Hymns from the UUA Hymn Book, Songs for the Celebration of Life are included in almost every Sunday worship service.

Something For Everybody

Everyone is welcome to join us, regardless of experience, age, or level of commitment available; simply bring your enthusiasm! Musicians who are interested in performing, either occasionally or on a regular basis, can contact our Music Director, Michael Holmes, for information and to schedule a brief audition. Pianists to accompany hymns are always needed and appreciated.

The Sanctuary Singers (Choir) perform a diverse array of styles of music, including contemporary UU, classical, gospel, chant, jazz, and early music, normally two Sundays per month during the regular church year, with the summers off. The choir can be heard a cappella, in collaboration with staff accompanist Phyllis Stanley, or even backing the UUCSS House Band. Past choir and/or other musical experience is helpful but not required. Sight singing and ear training classes can be arranged with the music director to provide individual attention and assistance with the music. The choir is open to all generations, and any middle and high school students who want to supplement their school singing experience with additional singing in the church choir are especially welcome. Rehearsals are Thursday nights 7:30pm- 9:30pm in the UUCSS sanctuary. For more information contact

The UUCSS House Band performs contemporary rock, jazz, and other popular music as needed during the regular church year, and consists of experienced players, and lead and back-up singers. The band was featured prominently at the 2011 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly in Charlotte, NC. Rehearsals are TBA at the band members’ discretion.  For more information contact

The UUCSS A Cappella Group sings mostly contemporary, folk, and popular music one Sunday per month on average during the regular church year. Rehearsals are at singers’ convenience, and aim to be fun, collegial, and collectively creative. The rehearsals are democratic, and all ideas are considered and put into the fold. For more information contact

The Folk Ensemble sings the more intimate folk music repertoire, often accompanied by flute, guitar, piano, and other instruments. Rehearsals are arranged as needed, for performances up to one Sunday per month during the regular church year. Rehearsals are TBA at singers’ discretion.   For more information contact

UUkes (Ukelele Ensemble) gather for an informal strumming circle the 2nd Wednesday of every month 7:30-9:30pm in the sanctuary. All levels of playing ability are welcome. Members have an opportunity to play during church services on occasion.  For more information contact

For the Holiday Intergenerational Service the Orchestra plays favorite holiday carols for the congregation sing-along during. Musicians of all abilities and ages are welcome. This service is usually on the Sunday before Christmas Eve. For more information contact

The Children’s Choir performs during three to four intergenerational services per year; a congregation favorite is the Christmas pageant, where the children’s choir is featured. Child singers of all abilities and ages are welcome.  For more information contact

Jazz@UUCSS is a quarterly concert series presented in collaboration between the UUCSS Music Committee and jazz scholar, Bertrand Uberall. Our vision is to create an affordable, listener-friendly performance venue for jazz in the DC area, create new audiences for outstanding young jazz musicians, and foster connections between UUCSS and the local jazz community. Recent concerts have featured celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Mingus, Lee Morgan, and local composer /singer Irene Jalenti.
The concerts are held on Saturday or Sunday afternoons (generally 4-5:30 pm), with admission by free-will donation.

Music Residencies

Annually, the UUCSS Music Committee sponsors music residencies where nationally or internationally recognized musicians collaborate with UUCSS musicians to organize workshops, concerts, and to lead music during Sunday service. The program is designed to enrich the entire community and all are welcome. Past artists have included celebrated UU songwriter/guitarist Jim Scott, the widely published choral director Dr. Jeffery L. Ames, songwriter Elise Witt, prominent Tulsa-based gospel artist David Smith, the duo Buskin and Batteau, Jennifer Cutting and her Ocean Quartet, and the duo Emma’s Revolution.