Musical Musings

MUSICAL MUSINGS: Words Matter (continued…)

By Scott Rieker Choir Director, Emerson Choir On Sunday, June 25, 2017, I had the privilege of giving the sermon at Emerson. I spoke of the power of words, and how words carry the meanings and the frames through which we see the world. Because I had time constraints in delivering my sermon, I … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: The Harmony of Community

By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir   On Sunday, June 25, the worship service at Emerson will center on choral music. The choir will sing about nine musical pieces that highlight the role of music in the human experience. As I plan the service, I consider many factors, such as “What pieces does the … Continued


 By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir As I write this column, I am sitting at the other church I work at, as my choir prepares to celebrate the Christian feast of Good Friday. This event tends to focus the mind on the reality of suffering. It is blatantly obviously that the world is beset … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: What’s Your Swap Meet?

By Scott Rieker Choir Director, Emerson Choir   Growing up, we called them “flea markets.” Out here, I hear people speak of “swap meets.” Either way, the concept is the same. People bring things that have become commonplace to them, and—amongst those items—others find unexpected value and interpersonal connection. These two components are what … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: Four Lessons About Silence, From Grad School

By Scott Rieker Choir Director, Emerson Choir It’s a privilege to be attending a graduate program where every class presents something valuable to learn. Often, those lessons are curricular, but sometimes they also generalize to larger realities. With that in mind, I offer these four lessons that I’ve learned recently.   Lesson One In … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: This Is Humiliating!

By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir Public humiliation has been considered an effective means of punishing people since time immemorial, and most forms of punishment include an element of shame. Society has created constructs that make it easier to shame some groups of people—usually based on gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status—and we will … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: A New Year’s Revelation

By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir I’ve debated for weeks over whether I should pen this column, because to some folks the subject matter is offensive, or at least controversial. After speaking with several gay kids over the past month, especially about their desire for positive role models, I’ve decided to go to print in … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: Justice and Harmony

  By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir   As a middle school teacher, I often heard my students say, “It’s not fair!” when someone received something they did not have. This may have been a solo, a partner on a project, or a reward for a good grade, but the result was always the … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: Vote. Sing. Make the world better.

By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir Last month, I wrote about the experience of collaborative music-making’s being greater than the sum of its parts. In the month since, I have had the privilege of conducting two excellent special ensembles: a church festival choir in Iowa and the choir for my first doctoral recital. In … Continued

MUSICAL MUSINGS: Sum Of Its Parts > Weakest Link

By Scott Rieker Director, Emerson Choir  402-202-8435 Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Paul of Tarsus expanded upon that, explaining that all those parts are interconnected, interdependent, and equally essential for the success of the whole. Then, some “motivational speaker” concocted the aphorism, “a chain is only … Continued