The Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist
Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, Illinois has
appointed a new interim Music Director to aid the congregation in
providing quality musical programing while it continues to conduct Sunday
morning services via Zoom due to the continued of the Coronavirus
pandemic. Although the congregation
hopes to return to in-person services as soon as it is safe and possible,
that is weeks or months away.
Dr. Jie Yi is currently the Music Director
of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, New York
and will continue in that position as well.
Jie holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree
in conducting from Manhattan School of Music. He is the author
of Chinese for Singers, the first comprehensive guide for Western
singers to use in singing Chinese texts. Jie conducted Messe
de Minuit by Charpentier, Musikalische Exequien by
Schütz, and Missa O quam gloriosum by Victoria at
the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 2018 and 2019. He also conducted
Handel’s coronation anthem Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened at Riverside
Church in 2018. In 2015, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, conducting
Xian Xinghai’s Yellow River Cantata. He was Chorus Master
and Assistant Conductor at the Shanghai Opera from 2008 to 2013.
Jie is a recipient of the Asian
Culture Council Fellowship (2011) and the U.S. China Cultural Institute
Fellowship for Young Conductors (2006). As pianist and vocal
coach, he performed at La Lingua della Lirica Festival in Italy
(2015–16) and performed Bellini’s opera I Capuletti e i Montecchi
at Manhattan School of Music (2013).
Jie will be able to work remotely from
Huntington because he is especially adept at the technical aspects
of creating videos blending the voices of many individual singers
recording their parts from their homes. He has already begun work with members
of the Tree of Life Choir and together they expect to create music for
services two times a month and prepare a Christmas/Yule/Solstice/Winter
holiday music service in December.
He will work closely in planning services with Tree of Life’s Interim
Minister, the Rev. Jenn Gracen.
The congregation’s choir is one of the most
highly regarded in McHenry County and is known for its wide repertoire
including not only hymns and other traditional worship music but also jazz,
pop, folk, Broadway, international music, and classical.
They toured internationally to Romania (Transylvania) in
2016 and have performed in both McHenry County choral music programs and
with regional Unitarian Universalist choirs. The ensemble includes several
outstanding soloists as well.
Tree of Life is also still conducting a search
for a permanent Music Director who will be able to lead the choir and
coordinate other music as the congregation returns to live, in-person worship.
Tree of Life Sunday services are currently held via Zoom at 10:45 am. Visit the congregation at https://treeoflifeuu.org/ for links to the services.