July 9 Sunday Assembly

The Social Origins of Music

Charles Darwin proposed that our inclination for music began with mating rituals. Others contend that music started with the soothing sounds of “motherese" (infant-directed speech-song). Still others argue that the survival of early hunter-gatherers depended on musically induced collective states. Neuroscientists suggest that the release of endorphins and oxytocin, chemicals linked to group cohesion, constitute music’s evolutionary purpose. These and other theories point to the social origins of music. Whether connecting one person to another or uniting communities, music began as—and still remains—a social glue.

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D., is Professor of Jewish Music History at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, Adjunct Professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont School of Theology, Extraordinary Associate Professor of Theology at North-West University (NWU), South Africa, and a Research Fellow at NWU in Musical Arts in South Africa: Resources and Applications. He is also Community Leader and Education Director of Adat Chaverim - Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Los Angeles. Jonathan spends his time writing, professing, serving as a pulpit cantor, and researching the roles of music in human life. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, most recently Jews, Music and the American West: Portraits of Pioneers (Gaon, 2016).


Jonathan Friedmann, his ukelele and the Wonder More Warblers will demonstrate the chemical and social benefits of shared music!


Sharí Alexander and Meredith Henderson host!


Ash Gernak is Doing Their Best!

Join us to find your seat at 11 am, and at 11:30 we will have great talks, live music and secular celebration. Stick around afterward for coffee and, if you're still game, lunch in the neighborhood.

Sunday Assembly is free of charge, and donations are gratefully accepted.

Everyone is welcome. Free childcare provided.

3 hours of free parking is available on a first come basis. The Southwest parking Lot off Santa Monica (closest to Fiesta Hall) and the larger North Parking Lot off Fountain and Vista are both free and open to the public. 

* Please note that our website is no longer accepting plus-ones for RSVPs. We ask that all adults RSVP individually or sign in at the Assembly. This ensures that you and your party can stay together while signing in, and it helps us improve our statistical data so we can keep working to improve the Sunday Assembly community. Thank you for your understanding. 


July 09, 2017 at 11:30am - 12:45pm
Fiesta Hall
1200 N Vista St
West Hollywood, CA 90046
United States
Google map and directions
Jonathan Schwartz Daniel Contreras Marjorie Annapav Daniel Lidar Shabri Forrester Asmat Jennifer Lidar Ken Alexander Deborah Nash Sara McGuire Max Tolkoff Sharí Alexander Adrienne Krunich Noah Wiles Fernanda Trupiano Sam Renderos Helen Burak Michael James Annie Hammond Erica Henrickson RIley Morris Jamie Jarvis Jennifer O'Neal Ken Osborne Mollie Knute Matthew Doc Brashear Marsha Swallow Alex Lyon Ash Gernak Meredith Henderson Christine Jones Yari Schutzer Shawn Shih Jacquie Van Wagner Tina McCrory Amy C Wilmer Rojas Alyson Dykes Todd Giebenhain Amy Boyle James Henderson Rick Teplitz Jeff Sargeant Julie Williams Alan Shinkman Shirley Robertson

Will you come?