UUS Welcomes Our New Music Staff

We are delighted to announce that after an exhaustive search, which included listening sessions to hear about hopes and discern our visions for the future of the music program, UUS has hired two new music staff to help transition our music program out of the pandemic and lead it into the future.
Alex Heetland will be our new Director of Congregational Music. He will be responsible for overall leadership of the music program, including helping us develop our approach to music for multi-platform (in-person and online) worship services. This will include helping us develop our approach to singing in accordance with pandemic guidance from experts. He will direct the choir when it resumes. Alex will join us starting July 26th. You can read more about him below.
Hsin-Hui Liu will be our new Staff Pianist and Music Outreach Coordinator. She will help with planning and providing music for worship services; developing opportunities for ensembles, children, and youth to participate more fully in the music program; and will develop musical events beyond Sunday services to welcome and outreach to the wider community. Hsin-Hui (pronounced shing-hway) will begin September 1st. You can read more about her below.
The Music Director Search Team, which includes Bonnie Penno, Carmen Griggs, Carol Adamson, Ian Cawley, Peggy Garrigues, and Rev. Diana Smith, is delighted to have found two such creative, warm, talented music staff for our congregation.
Later in the summer we’ll be announcing ways to welcome Alex and Hsin-Hui when they each begin. Our goodbye for our Online Music Leader Dave Rowe will be August 8th. In the meantime, please let the members of the Music Director Search Team know if you have questions. And please extend your profound thanks to the search team members, who gave considerable time to making this search a success.

More About Alex

Alex Heetland is a church musician and choir conductor with experience working in a wide variety of church settings. He is passionate about communal singing and excited to help groups and individuals find their voices.

He grew up in DeWitt, Iowa and completed his Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Minnesota. Most recently, Alex was teaching at an international boarding school in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, where he taught choirs, singing, and music theory. Alex enjoys musical theater and has worked with various theatre companies in the Twin Cities, including conducting shows at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. He will be taking classes at University of Iowa starting this Fall to complete the requirements for his teaching license in Iowa.

Alex got started with baking sourdough bread during the pandemic and will happily share more pictures of his bread designs than you care to see. He is looking forward to getting started at Coralville UUS and making music together with this community.

What some search team members had to say about Alex:
“Alex’s wide range of musical skills, his vision and creativity, and his love of all kinds of music will broaden and strengthen our music program.” – Carmen Griggs
“Alex’s positive energy and vast amount of cultural and musical skills will truly enrich our UUS Music Ministry! “ – Bonnie Penno
“Alex will bring a lot of experience and energy to our UUS Music Program and I can’t wait for him to get started.” – Ian Cawley
“Alex’s cross-cultural teaching and conducting experience in the Indian Himalayas, his previous church music experience, his extensive musical theater background, and his passion for bringing joy through music will bring vision and energy to our UUS music program.” – Peggy Garrigues

More About Hsin-Hui

Hsin-Hui Liu is passionate about sharing music in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, and contemporary. She holds a Master of Music from the University of British Columbia and is a Doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa School of Music. She is an active solo and collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and piano teacher currently based in Iowa City, IA.

Her performance experience includes solo and chamber recitals in the United States, Taiwan, Canada, Austria, and China. Hsin-Hui performs frequently in a wide variety of local community settings, which include churches, retirement centers, hospitals, and museums.

What some search team members had to say about Hsin-Hui:

“Hsin-Hui’s beautiful and moving playing, her deep commitment and great interpersonal skills, and her ties to the greater community will enrich our services and broaden our music program.” – Carmen Griggs
“Hsin-Hui is an incredibly gifted musician and a wonderful person. She has so much to offer in this new role and we’ll be lucky to have her on the staff.” – Ian Cawley
“Hsin-Hui’s warm personality and ability to beautifully express an appropriate mood through her piano playing will enrich our Sunday service experiences and expand our connections in the community.” – Peggy Garrigues
“Hsin-Hui has outstanding piano performance skills and has a wide network of musical connections in our community to enhance our UUS music programs.” – Bonnie Penno

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