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 and usually lasts for 60-75 minutes. With the exception of our church choir and organist, special 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 may do two concerts and charge admission, but we will not be able to schedule a full barter for both concerts. This is because each musician or group may only perform the Special Music for one or two Sundays each year.
  • 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 Coordinator, 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 Coordinator will also be in touch with you to discuss the theme of the Sunday which you will be playing so that you can choose your music accordingly.
  4. Call our main office, at 607-273-7521 ext. 21 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 sound coordinator Karl Fitzke.
  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 your own 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 10:00. 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 Coordinator.
  9. Our Music Coordinator, 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.

2018-19 Schedule

The Special Music schedule fills up fast. If more than one person requests the same Sunday, we will schedule the person who emailed us first and offer another date (if one is available) to the other musician.  If your request has a first, second, and third choice, you are more likely to be scheduled.

 Date Theme    Organist  Special Music Performer(s)
 9/9/2018  Kinship  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU (Unitarian Universalist Ukelele Union)
 9/16/2018  Kinship  Stephanie Ortolano  Stephanie Ortolano, organ
 9/23/2018  Kinship  Stephanie Ortolano  Samuel Smith, organ
 9/30/2018  Kinship  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 10/7/2018  Renewal  Stephanie Ortolano  Decho Ensemble, saxophones
 10/14/2018  Renewal  Stephanie Ortolano  VOICES Multicultural Choir
 10/21/2018  Renewal  Stephanie Ortolano  Travis Knapp
 10/28/2018  Renewal  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 11/4/2018  Grace  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and friends
 11/11/2018  Grace  Stephanie Ortolano  Carolyn Grossman, piano
 11/18/2018  Grace  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 11/25/2018  Grace  Stephanie Ortolano  Stephanie Ortolano, organ
 12/2/2018  Wonder  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir and Klezmer Band
 12/9/2018  Wonder  Stephanie Ortolano  Zachary Sweet, cello
 12/16/2018  Wonder  Stephanie Ortolano  Finger Lakes Flutes
 12/24/2018  Wonder  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 12/31/2018  Wonder  Stephanie Ortolano
 1/6/2019  Integrity  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 1/13/2019  Integrity  Stephanie Ortolano
 1/20/2019  Integrity  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir/Justice Choir
 1/27/2019  Integrity  Stephanie Ortolano  Samuel Smith, organ
 2/3/2019  Faith  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 2/10/2019  Faith  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 2/17/2019  Faith  Stephanie Ortolano
 2/24/2019  Faith  Stephanie Ortolano
 3/3/2019  Resilience  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 3/10/2019  Resilience  Stephanie Ortolano
 3/17/2019  Resilience  Stephanie Ortolano
 3/24/2019  Resilience  Stephanie Ortolano
 4/7/2019  Revelation   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 4/14/2019  Revelation   Stephanie Ortolano
 4/21/2019  Revelation   Stephanie Ortolano
 4/28/2019  Revelation   Stephanie Ortolano
 5/5/2019  Tradition   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 5/12/2019  Tradition   Stephanie Ortolano
 5/19/2019  Tradition   Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 5/26/2019  Tradition   Stephanie Ortolano
 6/2/2019  Imagination   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 6/9/2019  Imagination   Stephanie Ortolano