Lisa Hannigan brought her signature homespun delicacy to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Montclair, NJ when she performed before a private Artists Den audience on a warm summer night. The quaint church was lit by cream-colored paper lanterns as Hannigan sang and played a variety of unusual instruments before a backdrop that also served as the cover to her first album, Sea Sew – a patchwork quilt of colored dice, sewn by her and her mother.
Lit by cream-colored paper lanterns, Hannigan sang and played a variety of unusual instruments before a backdrop sewn by her and her mother.
Best known for her multiplatinum collaborations with fellow Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan emerged as a performer in her own right with her debut album, Sea Sew, which Entertainment Weekly dubbed “the perfect album for cozying up by the fire on a winter-chilled Sunday afternoon.” Since beginning her solo career in 2007, Hannigan has released three albums, the latest titled At Swim, which was produced in collaboration with Aaron Dressner of The National, and received critical acclaim from The Guardian for her “crystal vocals” and “stunningly pretty songs with quietly powerful undertones.”
In 1902, the UU congregation in Montclair purchased a plot of land on Church Street for $4,000. Two and a half years later, construction had finished and fame would soon find its way to the pulpit. In 1909, the church started the Unity Forum, which brought prominent speakers to Montclair such as William Jennings Bryant, Clarence Darrow, W.E.B. DuBois, Robert Frost, Mother Jones, Margaret Sanger, and Booker T. Washington. Four years later, the church doubled its size only for misfortune to follow. On March 2, 1919, a fire consumed the entire roof of the church and extensive repairs were required. The building was rebuilt in 1920, with several additions. Nearly 90 years later in 2005-2008, the congregation raised just below a million dollars (nearly ten times what the land was bought for taking inflation into account) for a complete renovation of the building. The church stands proudly today, a tried testament of the faith of its members and the enduring spirit of good will. Photography courtesy of Adam Macchia for Artists Den Entertainment.