• Advent is around the corner and this year Music that Makes Community is excited to offer musical resources to share in your community. As we prepare for and celebrate the arrival of the Word who ‘became flesh and lived among us’ we can’t imagine a better experience of embodied faith than singing with others!

    We’ve organized musical material around Revised Common Lectionary texts (Year A) and themes for each week. There are links to with links to videos, recordings, and scores. We offer teaching suggestions and they are just that…suggestions. You're welcome to adapt them to your space and worship context.

    A few considerations to keep in mind:

    If you are introducing paperless music for the first time we suggest you find a time in your service less freighted by expectations or habit. Rather than replace existing music, consider sharing a prayer song or acclamation in place of spoken response. Notice places where singing can strengthen the energy or flow of the gathering, or offer opportunity for meaningful, face-to-face connection. 

    Consistent, inviting experiences encourage and reinforce the practice, and weekly practice helps this style of singing gradually embed in the community. Don't give up after a time or two!

    Teach at moments when intergenerational community is gathered. The experience of paperless singing is enriched when folks of all ages learn side-by-side. Our experience is that children and young people intuitively participate in mirroring and imitative singing, and they can help encourage the participation of more reluctant adults.

    Finally, prepare well. Develop a relationship with the words and melody you will teach. Commit your song(s) to memory and share first with those you love, with a small leadership team, or your choir before you share in worship.

    Music that Makes Community is excited to serve as a resource to you during this Advent season and beyond. Contact us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help you think through how you can incorporate paperless singing into your community's life.


    Advent Songs:


    Come, O Lord, and Set Us Free
    - John Bell

    This expressive prayer song from the Iona Community can be taught through call and echo patterns. It's effective as a Gathering Song, before or after Prayers of the People, and before the Passing of the Peace.

    It is satisfying as a simple melody but a choral harmonization and descant can also be added once the congregation part is secure. Hear a harmonized setting from the Iona Community here.

     Tip: Because this is a longer melody, it can be helpful to teach in smaller chunks, depending on your community’s experience with oral/aural tradition learning.

    Come, O Lord, and set us free… (Assembly echoes)
    Give your people peace. (Assembly echoes)
    Come, O Lord, and set us free… (Assembly echoes)
    Come, Lord Jesus, come. (Assembly echoes)


    He/Christ Came Down - Cameroon traditional

    He/Christ Came Down is a joyous melody from Cameroon that invites movement and embodiment, and the words can be changed each Sunday of Advent (i.e. hope, peace, joy, love, light). We often shift the text to ‘Christ came down…’ to be more gender inclusive. More Voices of the United Church of Canada translates the text Jesus Came Bringing Us Hope. Find a score here.

    Tip: When introducing a piece to a congregation, take time to sing the whole piece through. This helps impart a clearer sense of style and shape but research shows our brains map what we hear better when we first experience the whole followed by parts.


    Who Will Set Us Free? - Francisco Feliciano (Philippines)

    We learned this powerful song from Debbie Lou Ludolph and it is included in Sing the Circle Wide, an excellent resource published by her choir Inshallah. The text is personal and urgent, posing questions and demands in expressive musical phrases that hang in the air.

    We have experienced this song as a powerful Advent gathering song or introit, as well as a prayer song. A shruti box or organ drone on D-A helps provide a supportive foundation.


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Music that Makes Community
paul@musicthatmakescommunity.org
(929) 266-4662
131 Odell Clark Place, Apt. 3A
New York, NY 10030