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UCUCC youth provides music video for worship

Carter Schafer with his dog Winston.  Photo of his musical video is below.                                                      Photo courtesy of Carter Schafer

Carter Schafer, a member of University Congregational UCC in Seattle, plays “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” on banjo, fiddle, piano, mandolin and guitar for music video he created.

For University Congregational UCC in Seattle, where he grew up, Carter Schafer edited a video of himself playing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” on five instruments and shared it for the virtual Annual Meeting service on April 25.

He started playing fiddle when he was seven and added guitar at age 10.  When he was 12, he started playing banjo and started classical piano lessons. 

By then, bluegrass folk was his preferred music style.

At age 15, he began playing mandolin.

He learned with a teacher outside school, but at the Bush School, a private school in the Madison Valley area of Seattle, there were about five or six students in music, not enough for a band or orchestra, so their program centered around composition.

Carter has also been active in the Northwest Folk Life Festival, which is usually held on Memorial Day weekend.  He has played with a band at it for several years.

At University Congregational UCC, Carter said, his musical development was nurtured by the music director Heidi Blythe.  He has played preludes and postludes.

He has also played with the youth group and for the annual youth services.  He would accompany others singing.

With the COVID-19 shutdown, she asked him to contribute some music videos for the virtual services.

Carter, who is 18 and just graduated June 5 in a class of 71 from the Bush School, plans to attend St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minn. 

Carter Schafer put together a video with him playing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" on banjo, fiddle, piano, mandolin and guitar.

While it is known for its music, Carter will be majoring in computer science.

His technology skills were what made it possible for him to create the video playing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

Carter explained how he did the video.

He set up a camera in one corner of the living room to record.  For reference, he set a phone on the couch to record the sound.

He started playing the banjo, which plays through the whole video.  Then he added the guitar, playing the banjo track on the phone behind his head.

“I thought it would be cleaner to record without an earbud or headphone,” he said.

Then Carter added the layers with the piano, mandolin and guitar.

He wound up with five videos of varying lengths and worked on Premier Pro, a video editing software.

The banjo runs the full length, with the others staggered lengths.

“I did a mask around my head and body to place the second, third, fourth and fifth me,” he said.

“I had not done this before, but I like spending time working on technology,” Carter said. “This is the most intensive editing project I have done.”

He sent links for that and for another recent video music project he has done.

Carter has been active with the youth at University Congregational UCC, going to camps and retreats at Pilgrim Firs, and joining in several mission trips.

In 2018, he went with the church’s youth to the Western Regional Youth Event (WRYE) in Hawaii, helping with a mission project helping at a thrift store, doing remodeling and helping at a homeless shelter in Hawaii before WRYE.

Two years ago, he joined a mission trip to Yakima remodeling houses, painting and doing yardwork for families.

“Mission trips have helped me think about best ways to help meaningfully, without a white savior mentality,” Carter said.

For information, call 206-302-9823 or email


Pacific NW Conference United Church News - Copyright © Summer 2020



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