STJ#1023, Building Bridges

There is a moment in the film The Princes Bride, where Westley, who has been mostly dead all day, is trying to figure out how he and his companions Fezzick and Inigo can storm the castle to rescue Westley’s true love, Buttercup. However, having been mostly dead, and having only just taken the miracle pill …

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STJ#1021, Lean on Me

Last night, in a text conversation with Michael Tino, we got to talking about our frustrations with some of the arrangements in Singing the Journey, in part because some of the songs come out of popular music and many members have memories of the originals (or of well-known covers). And thus, when we get to …

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STJ#1018, Come and Go with Me

This might be, as the hymnal suggests, a spiritual from the time of American slavery. This might also be, as some online sources suggest, a traditional blues tune. I hate when the search for information in inconclusive. Because I don’t know whether to talk about the use of 19th century spirituals in our predominantly white …

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STJ#1017, Building a New Way

For all the awfulness of Reddit (a  social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website that recently had to crack down on alt-right and Nazi content/users), there is also some wonderfulness – from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) posts with famous and not so famous people, to the joy of helping others find songs, …

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STJ#1011, Return Again

There’s a wonderful podcast called Song Exploder, where host Hrishikesh Hirway invites songwriters to talk about the origins and construction of their songs; they ‘explode’ the song apart to share insights about the ideas for the song, and about the various parts as it goes from hummed melody and chords on a piano to fully …

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STJ#1006, In My Quiet Sorrow

This song speaks the truth in my heart. This song allows me to cry. This song is a balm to my soul. Composer Jeannie Gagné wrote it to give voice to “those things which are not expressed, kept within the silence of our hearts” (as noted here) – that moment after spoken joys and sorrows, to honor …

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STJ#1004, Busca el Amor

There’s a terrible film from 1999 called The 13th Warrior featuring Antonio Banderas playing a 10th century Arab ambassador to northern Europe; he somehow finds himself included in a group of Vikings setting out to deal with a threat in a distant Viking land.  At the start of this quest, Banderas understands no Norse and …

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STJ#1003, Where Do We Come From?

Throughout this practice, I’ve happened upon many hymns that were inspired by (or were outright settings of) poetry; that makes sense, as lyric forms seek out one another naturally. But this is the first time I’ve encountered one inspired by paintings. As noted on the UUA’s Song Information page, The lyrics of this song come …

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STJ#1002, Comfort Me

Sometimes you have stories you just tell. Othertimes, you have stories that definitely have titles. I call this one “Snoring for God.” Our scene unfolds as my then boyfriend, Carl, and I are driving in New England. We’d started in White Plains (where Carl’s flight landed), drove over to Connecticut and hopped on Route 7, …

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STLT#402, From You I Receive

I was about to write something quick about this quick little song, and then go on with my day. I was going to write something like “how sweet and familiar this is” and something else about how some congregations accept the offering by singing this. And then I was going to add a quick note about …

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STLT#396, I Know This Rose Will Open

Lovely Update Below! Things I don’t know: I don’t know composer and colleague Mary Grigolia, although I feel like I should. I don’t know when I learned this, but it was sometime between the Louisville General Assembly (summer 2013) and the Florida Chapter UUMA retreat (spring 2015). I don’t know why I never heard it or …

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