Music that Makes Community grew out of the liturgical work being done in at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, founded by Rev. Donald Schell and Rev. Rick Fabian in San Francisco, California. During the summer of 2005, Donald, Rick and Emily Scott (then an Intern at St. Gregory's, now a Lutheran pastor and founder of St. Lydia's in Brooklyn, NY) found they had a desire to create music for worship that would leave congregants free to move around, use their hands, and be fully present to one another in worship. They started collecting and composing music and working on ways to use it in worship.
In 2006, All Saints Company, an organization dedicated to renewing church life through the liturgy, also founded by Donald and Rick (All Saints Company’s offices are across the street from St. Gregory’s on Potrero Hill) hosted a Composer’s Retreat at St. Dorothy’s Rest in northern California. The music composed at that retreat was published in the book Music By Heart. The first Music That Makes Community event in 2007 was organized because of a desire to teach and explore techniques for leading the music in Music By Heart, as well as from the immense repetoire of songs worldwide that lend themselves to the practice of teaching and singing orally.
There have been more than 40 MMC events to date, you can see a full list of past MMC events here. The MMC community now extends to the more than 900 musicians, pastors and lay people who have participated in these events.
In June of 2014, All Saints Company made a generous grant to allow us to incorporate Music that Makes Community as an independent not-for-profit 501c3 corporation. Today, Music that Makes Community, Inc. is based in New York City and produces events through financial partnerships with churches, seminaries and community organizations. We also invite our network of practitioners and others who believe in our work to contribute to Music that Makes Community and help or organization grow and thrive.
Rev. Donald Schell leading a small group at an MMC event in New York City
Rev. Rick Fabian engaged in an improvisation exercise with participants
A Eucharist service at an MMC event at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City
Emily Scott with host Kaji Spellman and collaborator Clay Morris, and MMC Presenters Scott Weidler and Paul Vasile at an MMC event at St. Peter's in New York City