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 of $150 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 works.  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 ($75) 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 musician, 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 Mark Pedersen, Congregational Administrator, at 607-273-7521 ext. 21 or email him 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 Mark Pedersen and Loretta Heimbuch 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 Mark or Loretta 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.


2017-18 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)
 9/10/2017  Welcome  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU (Unitarian Universalist Ukelele Union)
 9/17/2017  Welcome  Stephanie Ortolano  Stephanie Ortolano
 9/24/2017  Welcome  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 10/01/2017  Welcome  Stephanie Ortolano  Stephanie Ortolano and friends
 10/08/2017  Courage  Stephanie Ortolano  Elisa Sciscoli, vocalist
 10/15/2017  Courage  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 10/22/2017  Courage  Stephanie Ortolano  Stephanie Ortolano
 10/29/2017  Courage  Stephanie Ortolano  Matt White
 11/05/2017  Abundance  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and friends
 11/12/2017  Abundance  Stephanie Ortolano  Burns & Kristy
 11/19/2017  Abundance  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 11/26/2017  Abundance  Stephanie Ortolano  Elizabeth Nelson, oboe
 12/03/2017  Hope  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and friends
 12/10/2017  Hope  Stephanie Ortolano  Judy Stock, folk music
 12/17/2017  Hope  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 12/24/2017  Hope  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and friends
 12/31/2017  Hope  Stephanie Ortolano  Kurt Lichtman, vocalist
 1/7/2018  Intention  Stephanie Ortolano  Charlotte Greenspan and Jerrold Meinwald
 1/14/2018  Intention  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir/Pick-Up Choir
 1/21/2018  Intention  Stephanie Ortolano  Xak Bjerken, piano
 1/28/2018  Intention  Stephanie Ortolano  Roberta Crawford, viola
 2/04/2018  Perseverance  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 2/11/2018  Perseverance  Stephanie Ortolano  VOICES Multicultural Choir
 2/18/2018  Perseverance  Stephanie Ortolano  Sharon Costianes, vocalist
 2/25/2018  Perseverance  Stephanie Ortolano  Oboe students of Emily DiAngelo
 3/04/2018  Balance  Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 3/11/2018  Balance  Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 3/18/2018  Balance  Stephanie Ortolano  Voice students of Sharon Costianes
 3/25/2018  Balance  Stephanie Ortolano  Russell Posegate, piano
 4/01/2018  Emergence   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 4/08/2018  Emergence   Stephanie Ortolano  VOICES Multicultural Choir
 4/15/2018  Emergence   Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 4/22/2018  Emergence   Stephanie Ortolano  Burns and Kristy
 4/29/2018  Emergence   Stephanie Ortolano  Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt
 5/06/2018  Creativity   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 5/13/2018  Creativity   Stephanie Ortolano  Judy Stock, folk music
 5/20/2018  Creativity   Stephanie Ortolano  FUSIT Choir
 5/27/2018  Creativity   Stephanie Ortolano  Fingerlakes Flutes
 6/03/2018  Blessing   Stephanie Ortolano  UUUU and Friends
 6/10/2018  Blessing   Stephanie Ortolano  Stewart Park