STLT#156, Oh, Freedom

When I started this practice, I intended to talk about what was on my mind, what the song brought up for me. As it has evolved, I have incorporated a lot of history, literary criticism, and musicology, along with my thoughts and feelings. My thought today is that this song, thought to be a response to …

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STLT#153, Oh, I Woke Up This Morning

Oh the things you learn when you challenge your assumptions… In late January, I co-led an interfaith service focused on resistance, which featured the support of the local AME Zion choir; thus, while music came from several sources, we did lean heavily on the gospel genre, and we chose this song as our sending call. …

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STLT#150, All Whose Boast It Is

Oof. This is a complex lyric – three verses of a complex poem, “Stanzas on Freedom,” written by James Russell Lowell (one of the 19th century American Fireside Poets). It’s not even a terribly good poem – technically, his writing was good, but as Margaret Fuller wrote, “”his verse is stereotyped; his thought sounds no depth, …

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The Next Big Thing

There are those who know right from the start what their path in life is meant to be. And there are those, like me, who have tried a number of different paths, some successful until they weren’t, some interrupted by crisis or tragedy or failure. I personally got to the point where I stopped thinking …

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STLT#146, Soon the Day Will Arrive

I was hoping Jacqui James would bail me out today. I was really hoping there would be some long explanation of the origins of this song – that the lyricist, Ehud Manor, had written this in response to a particular moment/tragedy/event that I could expand upon, or that the composer, Nurit Hirsch, had discovered an …

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STLT#145, As Tranquil Streams

The Matriarch hates this hymn. Every time I sing this hymn, I think of the Matriarch of the congregation I serve, a woman who is a seventh generation Universalist, whose family has served the congregation I now serve in lay and ministerial positions for nearly the entire life of the church. In fact, the Matriarch …

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