UCF's minister of music and worship retires

Ending on a high note

One of Alice Hatt's favorite composers is J.S. Bach because most of his fugues begin small yet build momentum throughout the piece. The finish, if it's one of his great fugues, Hatt said, will always end large, likely comparable to a fireworks display, ultimately bursting with sound and color during its grand finale.

Hatt, who served 18 years as the minister of music and worship for the United Church of Fayetteville, likens Bach's music to her own image of the church -- people working together.

"You bring in one voice here, and another voice softly," she said, describing a typical fugue. "And you hear the melody coming up through the pedals. Everything combines together to make this intricate piece of music that I think can be very moving."

On Sept. 13, her correlation between Bach's work and the church community was evident when faithful friends carried out a long-planned send-off to highlight her last day with UCF. The entire congregation honored her during its Sunday morning service leading with choirs and a brass quartet followed by an after-church affair billed as "Alice in the Looking Glass."

"I've been passionate about music since I was a child," Hatt said during a recent interview. She was packing almost two decades worth of work in boxes from her office when she sat down for a short break. She talked about her love for choral music, contemporary music, jazz, global and gospel.

"I've been just so pleased to have worked in churches that have allowed me to have the freedom to do many kinds of music," she said.

Hatt, who studied church music at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, plays the organ, piano and sometimes a bit of the harpsichord and flute. She supervised six choirs at UCF, and was solely responsible for three of them. She said choosing music for weekly services were always of a complex nature. Various criteria were involved in finding the appropriate musical fits for scripture, she said, and she couldn't have done it alone. Hatt named Pastor Linda Even and the Worship and Spiritual Life Committee as key sources that helped stir souls musically.

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