Music Staff and Committee
Director of Music Ministry Anne Watson Born is also the music director of the Nashoba Valley Chorale. For several years she was an adjunct professor at Roxbury Community College in Boston, and before that was an assistant professor at Bristol Community College. She was also the music director of the Brookline Chorus and the founding artistic director of the Women’s Chorus of Boston and the Avenue of the Arts Chorale. She is a Credentialed UU Music Leader. Ms. Watson Born holds a BA degree in music from University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in choral conducting from New England Conservatory. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and two obstreperous dogs, and visits her daughter in New York as often as possible.
Organist: Carson Cooman is an American composer with a catalogue of works in many forms: ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. He is in continual demand for new commissions, and his music has been performed on all six inhabited continents. As an active concert organist, Cooman specializes exclusively in the performance of new music. Over 130 new works have been composed for him by composers from around the world, and his performances of the work of contemporary composers can be heard on a number of CD recordings. For more information, visit www.carsoncooman.com.
Former Music Director Roberta Berry Humez
Esteemed and exuberant choral director and music educator, Roberta Berry Humez, died quietly in her sleep in her home, Sunday morning, October 2, 2022 – two months shy of her 100th birthday. She recognized the presence of music in everyone, the potential of development, the contribution of the individual to an ensemble endeavor, the ensemble married to a composition, the composition prepared for presentation, the elevation of performance. Her generous spirit, humor and informed leadership aligned with a native practicality and curiosity which left a unique imprint on a generation of singers and musicians.
Born in Detroit, MI, the daughter of Natalie Daboll Berry (a pianist and organist) and Charles Harold Berry (engineering professor at Harvard and Northeastern Universities), Roberta and her sisters, Carolyn (Jacobs) and Ruth (Hilton), were raised with music in their Belmont MA home. Roberta attended lower schools in Belmont and continued her studies at Wells College, NY (piano with Nikolas Nabokov); Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY (piano, music theory, choral conducting); and courses at Longy School of Music, Cambridge and New England Conservatory, Boston MA.
In 1949, Roberta and her husband Ronald (a fine and, when required – loud, tenor) became charter members of ChorusProMusica, just developing under Alfred Nash Patterson’s exciting direction; Roberta supervised auditions for 15 years.
Roberta’s interest in developing young voices led to the 1970 creation of YouthProMusica within ChorusProMusica. Under her direction, in 1973 YouthProMusica premiered “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”, the song cycle based on poems by children interned at the Terezín Concentration Camp. In 1979, YouthProMusic became incorporated as an independent chorus. For over 25 years as Director, Roberta Humez challenged children with compositions and songs in many languages and collaborated with the Boston Symphony, American Repertory Theatre, Cantata Singers, Opera Company of Boston, Revels, and many more. She commissioned works from Daniel Pinkham and Peter Child. She retired from YpM in 1995 … “imitation of pure tone is so important working with kids, so I made the move in time.”
While raising three daughters, Roberta worked as a music teacher at all levels of the public school systems in Natick and Wayland. In her Natick home, she taught piano and coached voice. She served as music consultant for the Girl Scouts of America for 13 years, while leading her own beloved Natick Troop 465 for 12 years.
Roberta and Ronald had been paid soloists (alto and tenor) with the choir at First Unitarian Society of Newton when Roberta was appointed Music Director in 1962. Over her 35 years of service, she often involved guest musicians from the Boston area for holidays and other special occasions. She was Director of workshops for the American Guild of Organists and conducted workshops for choir directors, judged vocal and choral competitions, and conducted choral festivals for young people and adults throughout New England. She retired in 2007
She also had affiliations with Chorus America, American Choral Directors Assoc. and Unitarian-Universalist Musicians Network. In 2002, she was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Choral Arts New England for “exceptional contributions to choral singing and its culture within New England”.
She loved her hometown, was a member of the Natick Shakespeare Club, and served on the board of TCAN (The Center for Arts in Natick) in its formative years.
She loved nature and hiking and was a member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Sierra Club. After a guided tramp across New Hampshire’s Presidential Range, Roberta led her Girl Scouts (Troop 465) on the same adventure, earning them their Trailblazer Mountaineer status. Roberta was an excellent swimmer and a passionate (and award-winning) tennis player, an active member of the Natick Racquet Club until she retired at 80. She was a skilled knitter and editorial typist. A crafter of word and syntax, she loved prose and verse, classical and nonsense, games and cribbage. And she deeply loved family, the Natick home a gathering place on any occasion. Family property in Norwich Vt brought refuge and respite, and it is there she will rest.
Roberta Humez was predeceased by her two sisters, her husband Paul Ronald Humez (1996) and daughter Ellen Humez (Quincy MA, 2017). She is survived by her other daughters Phyllis Humez (Stuart Edson, Brookfield VT) and Martha Sidahmed (Sid, Atlanta GA); grandchildren Anya Jackson (Niall, Portland OR), Stefan Sidahmed (Kay, Alexandria, VA), and Genevieve Humez-Rousseau (Jonathan Hickey, Quincy MA); great-grandchildren Luka and Milo Jackson, Gaia and Bruno Sidahmed; nephews and nieces Jon Hilton (Tina, Ithaca NY), Deborah Jacobs (Bob Evert, Takoma Park MD), Michael Jacobs (Groton MA), Alex Humez (Jean, Watertown MA), Nick Humez (Leslie, Painesville OH), Cecily Pilzer (Charlie,Takoma Park MD).
Memorial donations may be made to the First Unitarian-Universalist Society of Newton, 1326 Washington St, Newton, MA 02465, where a celebration for Roberta Humez is being planned for June 10, 2022. at the Newton UU Church.
For updates and information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
RE Music Coordinator and Family Choir Director:
Position is currently open
Music Committee: The Music Committee works with the Music Director in support of the Society’s music programs; sets priorities for the music program; generates support for, and awareness of, music at FUUSN; produces benefit concerts, the FUUSN Musicians concert, and other special events. We welcome newcomers (email email@example.com)!