Singability: Complex but Worth It
STJ#1060, As We Sing of Hope and Joy
I am torn this morning between heartbreak and duty: my duty to myself to follow through on this spiritual practice and write something – anything – in response to the day’s singing; my heartbreak over yesterday’s death of one of my cats, a 15 year old black cat named Chelsea who was found dumpster diving… Continue reading
STJ#1044, Eli, Eli
Happy New Year! In the words of Colonel Sherman Potter (M*A*S*H), “may it be a damn sight better than the old one.” If today’s hymn is any indication, it will be full of beautiful reminders that there is a love holding us. This haunting song, composed by David Zehavi, is based on a poem by an… Continue reading
STJ#1035, Freedom Is Coming
I think I first learned this song in high school, about the same time I heard about apartheid in South Africa. Yet I am pretty sure I never related the two – I know our music teachers didn’t do that, and at that age I wasn’t in a religious education program that helped me understand… Continue reading
STJ#1019, Everything Possible
Things I wonder: Do some congregations sing this together fairly regularly? Do some music directors and ministers flip past it because it is somewhat complex if you don’t know it already? Do others flip past it because in 13 years we’ve learned that binary language is too restrictive? Does composer and colleague Fred Small have… Continue reading
STLT#336, All My Memories of Love
It’s a Hymn by Hymn miracle! Today is September 1st, and the hymn today mentions September! The hymnal is right on schedule, pretending it hasn’t had me sing Christmas songs in spring and summer songs in winter and Easter songs at General Assembly. I hardly know what to make of it. What I do know is that… Continue reading
STLT#332, Perfect Singer
True fact: context matters. I mean, I know you know this, but in this case it’s not just the context of where the lyrics come from or when they were written or how they were used. In this case, it’s about the accompaniment – in other words, the context in which the melody sits. And… Continue reading
STLT#325, Love Makes a Bridge
Another list song – must be Brian Wren. And so it is. Now this is not to say his list is bad, necessarily, but It can get tiring pretty quickly. And when it comes to Wren, there is always something – even in songs I like, like this one – that make me go “hmm” … Love… Continue reading
STLT#316, Tradition Held Fast
The last thing I want to do is write a blog post about a song entitled “tradition held fast” on the morning after a spontaneous alt-right march encircled a church where friends and colleagues were praying in preparation for today’s hate-filled rally in Charlottesville. The march – complete with torches (but no hoods – hate is… Continue reading
STLT#242, In the Lonely Midnight
It’s been all about the tune for me this morning. I know this lyric as a choral piece by composer and music director Michael Harrison – a beautiful setting of these lyrics that evoke the hope of the lyrics (the cascading voice thing that happens on “peace, good will” is gorgeous and the intricacies of… Continue reading
STLT#202, Come Sunday
I wonder how many denominations have Duke Ellington in their hymnals? A hat tip to our hymnal commission for finding a place for this piece. And, as I’ve talked about before, this fits in the ‘not every song in the hymnal is meant for the congregation to sing’ category – although I would love to… Continue reading
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