Melanie has served as accompanist at UUFoM since October 2002, with a two-year hiatus in 2016 and 2017. In 2011 Melanie received a call to music ministry and returned to school to study music (piano performance, organ study, music ministry). She received her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Saginaw Valley State University in 2014.
Melanie was the recipient of the SVSU Distinctive Music Program, UUA Musicians Network, and the Saginaw Valley Organist Guild scholarships, and completed one year of the Unitarian Universalist Music Leadership Certification Program (2015).
Melanie loves music ministry and embraces her gifts and talents to enrich worship using diverse musical genres and instrumentation. Mindful of the power of messages in music and the transformational power of sound, Melanie draws from her extensive music library and online music resources to support and enhance worship services with music selections that are moving and thought provoking; insightful and profound; passionate and inspirational; joyful and light-hearted; simple and clear; tender and loving; and humorous and playful.
Melanie attended UUFoM as a child in the 1960s and returned with her two daughters, Charley Ellen and Julia Frances, in 1994. As a UUFoM member, before and while acting as accompanist, she served as RE Team chair, member and teacher. She served on membership, memorial garden, and aesthetics teams and the communication task force. She also wrote two endowment grants and served on two ministerial transition teams.
Melanie has studied Unitarian Universalism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism and Yoga, and completed her 200-hour Yoga Teachers Training certificate in 2019. Melanie has a daily spiritual practice of reading, meditation and prayer, and a regular yoga practice, which foster her spiritual growth and contribute to the strength of her music ministry.
Melanie’s decades of experience in children’s and teenage musicals and theater, and years of volunteer work in local community television and community music groups, have provided valuable knowledge and skill for her work in music ministry, worship coordination, and her contributions to developing virtual and multi-platform services.
Melanie serves in her position as a paid professional in selecting music, performing for Sunday services, practicing her music, developing her musicianship and accompanying the choir when they are actively performing. She also collaborates and meets regularly with the minister and staff regarding worship and administrative matters. In addition, she devotes many hours each week as a volunteer in serving as ex officio staff member of the Worship Team, coordinating and rehearsing for services, collaborating with other musicians as head of the newly formed Music Team, and working with the Tech, Worship and Music Teams to continue to draw vision and work on long term planning for multiplatform worship services.
Melanie works full time as a legal assistant at Poznak Dyer Kanar Schefsky Thompson in Midland. Her career in the legal field spans over 35 years. An outdoor enthusiast and naturalist, Melanie loves gardening and hiking and spending time outdoors. She is devoted to her daughters and spends time with them and son-in-law Gurhari when she can in their respective homes in Ithaca, New York; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Orlando, Florida.