Tree of Life Hosts Peter Mayer

Saturday, October 20, 2018 7:00pm Concert at First Congregational Church 461 Pierson St, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Tickets are $20 in advance  on Brown Paper Tickets click here 
or pay $25 at the door.
Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:45am Worship Service at Tree of Life UU Congregation 5603 Bull Valley Rd., McHenry, IL 60050

Peter Mayer writes songs for a small planet—songs about interconnectedness and the human journey; about the beauty and mystery of the world. Whimsical, humorous, and profound, his music breaks the boundaries of “folk”, and transcends to a realm beyond the everyday love song, to a place of wonder at the very fact of life itself.

Peter began playing the guitar and writing songs when he was in high school. In college he studied theology and music, and then spent two years in seminary. Afterward he took a part-time job as a church music director while performing at clubs and colleges, and writing and recording his music. In 1995, he quit his job and started performing full-time. Since then, Peter has gradually gained a dedicated, word-of-mouth following, playing shows from Minnesota to Texas, New England to California. He has ten albums to his credit, and has sold over 80 thousand of them independently.

To sample Peter’s music

“Peter Mayer is a magician…(his) universe is full of metaphor and meaning, story and symbol — everything contains more than meets the eye.”
— Bill Reed, music editor, Colorado Springs Gazette

“His guitar work is breath-taking, his lyrics mind-spinning, his singing soul-soothing and his feet-on-the-ground optimism nothing short of healing.”
–Marilyn Rea-Beyer, music director, WUMB Radio, Boston

“Peter Mayer makes it look easy – beautifully crafted songs that pose eternal questions — his arrangements make it sound like there is certainly more than one man and his guitar in the XM Satellite Radio studios.”
–Mary Sue Twohy, XM Radio

“He is unafraid of complicated topics and always strives to look beyond the easy sentiment…Peter does nothing less than address the very nature of our existence…Trust me, most songwriters can’t pull this off. Peter Mayer does.”
–Dale Connelly, Morning Show Host, MinnesotaPublic Radio

“Mayer’s songs are crafted like shaker furniture, with no place for superfluous embellishments or throwaway lines… (his) world is bright and hopeful and the transcendent nature of his lyrics…explore the mysteries of life…Mayer’s fluid, clean, and tremendously intriguing guitar playing is topped with warm, rich vocals. This is music for the soul.”
–Acoustic Guitar Magazine

There are at least a dozen Peter Mayer songs that I would love to learn myself, but I could never play them as well as he does.”
–David Wilcox, Singer/Songwriter

“I’m a huge Peter Mayer fan, but only when I don’t feel like killing him for being so good. I love Peter’s work, though it irritates me that he plays so much better than I do. If I rocked half as hard as Peter does, I’d own the world by now.”
–Janis Ian, Singer/Songwriter

“Peter delivers contemporary folk music in it’s highest form: Intelligent without being bombastic–empathetic, always fresh and with wit and fantastic melodies. And his guitar playing is top tier.”
–Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, Dallas, TX

“Mayer’s appealing guitar style (is) alternately percussive, rhythmic, melodic, or all of the above. In Mayer’s capable hands the instrument sounds like a calliope one moment, an orchestra the next and then a cleanly picked guitar ala Dave Van Ronk… Mayer is a performer at the top of his game who knows that the secret to living in a world of perplexing questions is enjoying the search for answers.”
–David Kleiner, Minor Seventh Reviews

“Mayer offers up everything you could ever want from a singer/songwriter.”
–Dirty Linen Magazine

“This native of Minnesota is a master storyteller.”
–Folk Roots Magazine

Guitar Duo at Tree of Life

Celebrating Life through Music: Wisdom of Spirit

Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:45am

It is a summer of music at Tree of Life. Classical guitarists Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino will present a program of music from their album “Long Ago” during the worship service at Tree of Life on Sunday, July 22nd as M.E. Tanabe weaves a message of community and wisdom. The songs on “Long Ago” were composed by G.I. Gurdjieff and Thomas De Hartmann, and arranged for two steel-string acoustic guitars by Bert and Fabio.

Fabio is from Italy, and began his study of classical guitar at age 13. In 1998, he attended a Guitar Craft course presented by renowned English guitarist Robert Fripp. Since then, he has continued studying and playing with the Guitar Craft technique.

Bert is originally from Belgium. In 1984, he graduated with honors from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, where he studied classical guitar. Shortly after that, he became involved with Robert Fripp and his Guitar Craft school, which is how he and Fabio eventually met. More information about the guitar duo and a sample of their beautiful music can be found at

Gurdjieff was a philosopher of Russian/Armenian descent who had the remarkable gift of remembering music he had heard during his travels in Asia and the Middle East: Armenian songs, Hindu melodies, Kurdish melodies, an Orthodox Hymn, Sayyid dances, and others. Many years later he sang and played the melodies to Russian composer Thomas De Hartmann; together they created over 300 pieces between 1918 and 1927.

A major part of Gurdjieff’s teachings stemmed from his belief in movement as a form of meditation; as a result, much of his music was originally intended as accompaniment for choreographed, meditative group dances. But these compositions are not “dance music” as we generally think of it— the mood they create is one of quiet, calm, and contemplation. The music may seem simple, with short pieces that lack any pretension to elaborate formal construction, yet it often turns in unexpected directions, revealing itself as powerful, fascinating and deeply affecting. De Hartmann described it thusly: “Listening to this music, one was touched to the depth of his being.”


Cookie Walk in July


  • Is it too early to make cookies?   YES     
  • Well then, what can I do?

*Mark your calendar for DECEMBER 8, 2018

*Go through your old holiday decor and box up the “must-goes”

*Contact the office to get on the guest list of helpers/bakers

*Start looking at recipes – even practice!


*This year we are adding a special shopping experience which will highlight the artists of TOLUCC.  If you knit, crochet, throw pots, fuse glass, quilt, woodwork, make purses, bead……  we would love a sample of your work; one nice piece with a good fair price on it.  Items will be sold in a special gift shop and priced in the $10 and up range.

Please help make this event a FUNdraiser and join in!

Karen and Randy Meyer

Green Sanctuary Movie Night Presents Straws

The Green Sanctuary committee of TOLUUC invites you for a viewing of the currently relevant film “Straws,” by Linda Booker, Friday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. A 32 minute documentary, this acclaimed film highlights the impact our use of plastics, particularly straws, has on our environment.   A discussion and Q&A will follow the viewing with invited guests Cynthia Kanner, Executive Director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and board member Joe Starzynski. We will be providing popcorn, water and soft drinks and welcome you to bring adult beverages and snacks.

Cancelled -Pressure Cooking 101

This class was cancelled due to low registration.



Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Tree of Life Social Justice Team is proud to sponsor this event by Food Shed Co-op in the Tree of Life kitchen.

In this class, you will learn why pressure cooking is one of the hottest kitchen trends right now – and why it’s not going away! All skill levels are welcome – from experienced, to those who are thinking about buying a pressure cooker – the class will use both electric (such as Instant Pot) and stove top cookers to cook a complete meal. The meal includes beef short ribs, butternut squash risotto, sweet and sour cabbage, and mini fudge cakes. Recipes and class notes will be provided to all class participants.
If you have a pressure cooker that you’d like to bring to class and learn how to use, please note this with registration. We will try to use your cooker in class, if possible.
This class is taught by Andrea Pracht of My Kitchen Clatter. Andrea lives in Crystal Lake and teaches all sorts of real food cooking classes in the northwest Chicago suburbs. She has been teaching pressure cooking for five years and loves sharing her pressure cooking skills with her students.
Registration is required and is $30 per attendee.

Folk Musician and Activist Jim Scott Returns to Tree of Life UU Congregation

Jim Scott, folk singer, composer and musical activist, returns to the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, on Saturday June 2 at 7 pm with a new program, “Gather the Spirit—A Raising of Voices.”

Scott, who last performed at Tree of Life in 2016 with his tribute to his inspiration and mentor Pete Seeger, has made it his business for three decades to create and perform music that celebrates the earth. His songs and poetry have inspired and educated audiences around the world. He has developed presentations for every age group and crafted songs that sensitize his listeners to the beauty of the earth, teaching principles of ecology in memorable verses.

“Jim brings a warmth and authenticity that turns any size audience into an intimate gathering,” according to Tree of Life Social Justice Chair Janet Burns.  “His lyrical melodies, well-crafted words, guitar mastery and humorous surprises invite all to get involved with the songs and ideals he raises.  It’s a raising of voices and of spirits as Jim leads songs of earth, peace, community, love and just fun as everyone joins in. A lifelong UU he has visited over 700 UU churches in 3 decades of travels.”

As a member of the Paul Winter Consort and as a solo performer, Scott has recorded 18 albums including the highly acclaimed Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, A Concert for the Earth (Live at the U N), Big and Little Stuff: Songs for Kids, and Body and Soul, a soundtrack for the documentary series on PBS Television.  He is also an active Unitarian Universalist who as co-chair of the Seventh Principle Project helped to create the Green Sanctuary program and accompanying handbook for building an ecological/spiritual awareness in church congregations.

Scott has performed or toured with John Denver, Tracy Chapman, Joan Baez, 10,000 Maniacs, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Holy Near, Dan Fogelberg, Odetta, and Tom Chapin.

His Eco-anthems and modern hymns like Gather in Spirit have been included in the UUA hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition,and a regular part of many Sunday services.

Tickets are $20 but all are welcome for a donation they can afford and are available at the door.

Scott’s CDs will be available for sale after the concert.

For more information call the Tree of Life at 815 322-2464, e-mail

Barn Service 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:45am

Our Barn Service will be held on Sunday, June 10, at the Tinklers’ barn – 11314 McConnell Road, Woodstock. The service originated in the 70s at the barn of member Helen Wright, hence the name! The tradition underwent many transformations until the Tinklers’ barn became available. It has always been one of the highlights of the church year. Music will be provided by Ken Johnson. All are welcome. A special collection will be taken to benefit Black Lives UU.

The service will begin at 10:45 as usual and we ask you to bring a flower or two for our traditional flower wheel. We suggest you carpool if possible. Lastly, after the service we will have a potluck. Please bring a dish to pass. We will furnish water, iced tea, and lemonade. Help is needed setting up the tables as well as dismantling them.

Rummage Sale 2018 Bargains

Woodstock Manual Typewriting $100

Thursday, May 3, 2018, 9am-2pm

Friday, May 4, 2018, 9am-2pm

Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9am-Noon

Furniture, clothing, tools, electronics, books, records, toys, jewelry, luggage, linens, office, holiday, pet supplies, and much, much more! Clean and organized!

Saturday clothing is $2/bag (we supply bag) and everything else is 1/2 off!

No early birds!

Rolltop Desk – great condition

Glassware and household items galore!

Clothing in all sizes, beautifully organized

Hutch in excellent condition

Solid wood coffee table with storage and built-in tv table

Lots of solid wood furniture

Two couches

Lots of electronics and sporting goods

Pet Supplies

Kitchen for your little one

Lots of puzzles and games!

Pub height table with 8 chairs, solid wood


Mother’s Day Service Filled with Music

Mother Earth

Sunday, May 13, 2018, 10:45 am

AMP ensemble is the performing arm of the non-profit Art Music Project, the organization also responsible for the Rattle the Walls fundraising series. AMP ensemble is a flexible instrumentation ensemble comprised of some of the most exciting and compelling performers of new music in and around Chicago today. Dedicated to music on the cutting edge, AMP concerts feature works by some of the most vibrant voices of our generation as well as iconic works of the modernist canon. AMP embraces experimentation and exploration. Come to an AMP concert to discover new music, new friends, and maybe even a new adventure!

The service-based program AMP will present at Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Mother’s Day, May 13th is titled “Mother Earth” and will feature works dedicated to the planet and its preservation. These works will range from an intimate setting for alto flute and guitar to experimental electronic work, to a beautiful piece of modernism that has at this point become almost classic! Come out to take this adventure around Mother Earth with us.

From Forrest Ransburg, Music Director at Tree of Life: “AMP ensemble is, I have to say, the project of mine whose future I am most excited about. The chemistry of the players and the magical nature of the rep we’re tackling is honestly the start of something great. We are still in our first season together, and I can’t wait to see where we will go!”