Musicians who wish to use the Sanctuary/Auditorium at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca (FUSIT) for a concert performance may pay the standard rental fee or have it waived in exchange for performing the Special Music at a Sunday Celebration, as the schedule allows. The Celebration begins at 10:30 am and usually lasts for 60-75 minutes. Guest musicians may perform no more than two Sundays each year. This practice ensures the variety of music that our congregation enjoys and also enables more musicians from the community to barter for free recital space.

The purpose of the Special Music is to enhance the Sunday Celebration. Special Music is performed at four different times in the service: Prelude, Meditation/Interlude, Offertory, and Postlude. The church organist generally plays the Offertory, and the guest musician offers the other three pieces.  Each musical selection should be approximately 3.5 to 4.5 minutes long.

The Basics of Bartering

  • If no admission is charged for the concert, the barter is one Sunday for one concert date. In other words, musicians who give a free concert perform the Special Music at one FUSIT Sunday Celebration.
  • If admission is charged or a donation requested, the barter is two Sundays for one concert.  Another option is to pay half the rental fee and perform at one Sunday Celebration.
  • Musicians who are bartering must provide their own accompanist (if one is needed) for the Sunday Celebration, although arrangements can also be made ahead of time with our church organist and Music Director, Stephanie Ortolano.
  • The recital date and Sunday barter date don’t need to be near each other. Bartering musicians may perform the Special Music before or after the recital date.

To Do List

  1. Check the Special Music Schedule (below) to see if there is an available Sunday to perform for the church service.
  2. Email our Music Director, Stephanie Ortolano, at to let us know which Sunday you want to perform.  Hint: The calendar fills up fast. If your request has a first, second, and third choice, you are more likely to be scheduled.
  3. If we can reserve the Sunday Celebration date you request, we will send a confirmation email.  Our Music Director will also be in touch with you to discuss the theme of the Sunday that you will be playing so that you can choose your music accordingly.
  4. Call our main office, at 607-273-7521 or email them at, to schedule your concert.
  5. If you need any sort of special amplification/sound system assistance for either your recital or for your Sunday barter performance, please contact our Music Director at
  6. No later than one week before you are scheduled to perform, send the Main Office and Stephanie the titles and composers of your pieces and a short bio. This bio should be a short paragraph, ideally 3 sentences or less.  If you would like to rehearse on Sunday morning, please let Stephanie know. There are a number of elements in our Celebrations (i.e. a family telling a story) and their rehearsals are often planned for 10 am. You may need to coordinate with others who are practicing their part of the service.
  7. On the Sunday morning that you perform the Special Music, arrive at the church around 10 am. Please come earlier if you have requested time to rehearse. Unpack, set up, complete your optional short rehearsal before 10 am, and sit in the front pew near the organ.
  8. Please refrain from making a verbal announcement before any of your pieces unless approved of ahead of time by the Minister or Music Director.
  9. Our Music Director, Stephanie Ortolano, will meet briefly with you to talk through the order of service.
  10. Please accept our appreciation! Our congregation enjoys the rich variety of music that you and the other special musicians share with us on Sunday mornings.


2023-24 Schedule

 DateTheme   Organist Special Music Performer(s)
 9/10/2023Welcome Stephanie OrtolanoStephanie Ortolano
 9/17/2023Welcome  Stephanie OrtolanoStephanie Ortolano
 9/24/2023Welcome  Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 10/1/2023Heritage Russ Posegate
 10/8/2023Heritage  Stephanie OrtolanoStephanie Ortolano
 10/15/2023Heritage  Stephanie OrtolanoWyly Quartet
 10/22/2023Heritage  Stephanie Ortolano Stephanie Ortolano
 10/29/2023Heritage  Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 11/5/2023Generosity Stephanie OrtolanoLloyd Graves & Friends
 11/12/2023Generosity  Stephanie OrtolanoSouthern Tier Singers’ Collective
 11/19/2023Generosity  Stephanie OrtolanoChildren’s Chorus of Ithaca
 11/26/2023Generosity Stephanie OrtolanoJayne Demakos
 12/3/2023Mystery Stephanie OrtolanoVOICES Multicultural Choir
 12/10/2023Mystery  Stephanie OrtolanoAna Florencia
 12/17/2023Mystery  Stephanie OrtolanoFamily Holiday Choir
 12/23/2023Mystery Stephanie Ortolano Sage Chapel Holiday Choir
 12/31/2023Mystery NO SERVICE
 1/7/2024Liberating Love  Stephanie OrtolanoCharlotte Greenspan and Carrie Regenstein, piano four hands
 1/14/2024Liberating Love Stephanie OrtolanoRachel Liao
 1/21/2024Liberating Love  Stephanie OrtolanoBurns & Kristy
 1/28/2024Liberating Love Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 2/4/2024Justice & Equity Stephanie OrtolanoStephanie Ortolano
 2/11/2024Justice & Equity Stephanie OrtolanoCrys Matthews
 2/18/2024Justice & Equity Travis KnappTravis Knapp
 2/25/2024Justice & Equity Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 3/3/2024Transformation Stephanie Ortolano 
 3/10/2024Transformation Stephanie Ortolano Will Tobin, piano
 3/17/2024Transformation Stephanie Ortolano 
 3/24/2024Transformation Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 3/31/2024Transformation Stephanie Ortolano
 4/7/2024Interdependence Charlotte Greenspan Charlotte Greenspan & Carrie Regenstein, 4-hand piano 
 4/14/2024Interdependence Stephanie OrtolanoTim Ball, fiddle
 4/21/2024Interdependence Stephanie OrtolanoDrake’s Violin Studio
 4/28/2024Interdependence Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir
 5/5/2024Pluralism Stephanie OrtolanoVOICES Multicultural Choir
 5/12/2024Pluralism Stephanie OrtolanoAliza Proulx, violin
 5/19/2024Pluralism Stephanie OrtolanoChildren’s Chorus of Ithaca
 6/2/2024Renewal Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT Choir 
 6/9/2024Renewal  Stephanie OrtolanoFUSIT House Band