Advent IV: Love
Girl with Hands Lifted (New Orleans, LA); photograph by Paul Vasile
While We Are Waiting, Come - Claire Cloninger and Don Cason (Matthew 1:18-25)
This meditative song by Claire Cloninger and Don Cason can be taught through call and echo patterns. It makes a beautiful prayer song or response during Advent and could also be effective as an acclamation or response with the gospel lesson. While all the verses are beautiful, focus on one so the text can deepen and become a prayer of the heart.
Once the assembly has learned the song well, add harmony parts or keyboard accompaniment.
Tip: Trace the shape of the melody with your hand and notice several large, unexpected leaps. While you teach it, help the assembly remember and anticipate these moments through hand gestures or other non-verbal cues.
Restore Us, Again - David Lee (Psalm 80)
This responsive psalm setting has a rhythmic, bluesy feeling and the refrain can be taught without paper using call and echo. Sing the whole refrain through first to give the assembly a sense of where they’re headed. Have them speak back the text back in chunks, if there is time. Then line it out in phrases:
Restore us, again… (Assembly echoes)
oh Lord God of hosts… (Assembly echoes)
and show us light of your face and your grace, and we shall be saved. (Assembly echoes)
Repeat until the assembly is confident, then add piano with verses sung by a soloist or choir.
Holding Silence - Angela Morris (Matthew 1:18-25)
Angela Morris shared this powerful Advent song at Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center last October. It’s an invitation to a space of silent waiting, living in the ambiguity and tensions of the season and our human lives.
Notice the effective way Angela uses call and echo to teach the song, reinforcing some of the challenging moments in the melody. Be sure to teach it without accompaniment first, so the flexible, speech-like rhythms and melodic turns are in the group's ears.
While Angela taught the song with shruti box drone, sheet music with chords and piano accompaniment are also available.
If in Your Heart - Ana Hernandez (Matthew 1:18-25)
Ana Hernandez has written several beautiful settings of If In Your Heart, a short text by 17th century mystic and poet Angelus Silesius. This one flows like a lullaby-like and welcomes extemporaneous harmony. Try adding guitar or piano accompaniment to give the song a stronger rhythmic flow.
Miss earlier posts? Find more Advent music here: