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Gloria a Dios / Glory to God

Gloria a Dios / Glory to God is from the ecumenical Lima Liturgy and appears in many denominational hymnals and song books. But the structure of the song (combination of call and echo and layered) invites you to teach it to a group without paper.

Try it in place of the Gloria or Gloria Patri, or include it in your Christmas pageant or an intergenerational celebration, with children or youth serving as song leaders.

"¡Gloria a Dios*, gloria a Dios, gloria en los cielos!
¡A Dios la gloria por siempre!
¡Alleluya, amén! ¡Alleluya, amén!

Glory to God, glory to God, Glory in the highest!
To God be glory forever!
Alleluia, amen! Alleluia, amen!"

*Some songbooks include additional Trinitarian verses (glory to Christ Jesus, glory to the Spirit)

Teaching note: The first part of the song is call and echo, which also offers an effective way to introduce short phrases in Spanish. Be sure to offer clear gestures that invite the congregation to listen and sing, especially if the congregation jumps in early as they sometimes do on the first phrase.

The second part of the song ("Alleluya, Amen") builds up layers of rhythm and harmony through repetition. Some song leaders teach this part first. Divide the group into three parts and encourage them to keep singing as the harmony builds. Having members of the choir around the congregation or within the community can offer support.

Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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Freedom, Come

This call-and-response song by Ben Allaway is inspired by South African-style songs of the anti-Apartheid movement. It is effective as a protest song, as a prayer for healing and liberation, and is sung by some congregations at the Easter Vigil. The piece can be sung a cappella or you could add percussion.

"Inside these walls: Freedom, come!
Come, one and all: Freedom, come!
Come with your burdens: Freedom, come!
We will share your burdens: Freedom, come!

Teaching note: Teach the rhythmic “Alleluia” first, making sure to help the community hear the wonderful syncopation. Repeat it until it feels sturdy. Then, teach the response “Freedom, come,” which is consistent throughout.

Ben has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.

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Spirits Rising

Spirits Rising is a powerful prayer for healing by Lisa Levine, a nationally known cantor, composer, recording artist, author and worship artist. The wordless refrain connects this song to the Hasidic Jewish tradition of niggunim, wordless tunes that are sung to enliven the soul and body.

Many leaders begin by teaching the refrain through call and echo, first in unison and then in harmony. Once the refrain is confident, return to the beginning and invite the group to sing the verses through call and echo.

The piece is useful for gathering groups, for services of healing prayer, and in interfaith contexts. 

"Spirits rising,
like the sun;
love within us,
Holy One.
Spirits rising,
like the wind;
winds of healing,
winds of change.

Na, na, na na..".

Additional verses can be found in the printed score.

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Uyai mose / Come, All You People

This short gathering song from Zimbabwe is a wonderful introduction to paperless singing. Composed by Alexander Gondo, it is in Shona, a Bantu language spoken by almost 11 million people in the region. The four-part arrangement that appears in many hymnals and songbooks is by John Bell.

Some leaders speak the text aloud first, inviting the community to echo each phrase. Others dive right into the music, inviting the community to learn the melody through call and echo. Harmony parts can be lined out in succession and, once confident, an upper-voice descant adds to the energy and shape of the song.

The song can be sung unaccompanied. If instruments are added, shekere (dried gourds) or marimbas would be appropriate to the context, not drums.

Uyai mose, tinamate mwari. (x3)

Uyai mose zvino.

Pronunciation tip: Shona's five vowels are pronounced as in Spanish. Each vowel is pronounced separately even if they fall in succession.

Singing translation (I-to Lo):
Come, all you people, come and praise your Maker. (x3)
Come now and worship the Lord.

Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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Santo, santo, Santo (Le lo le lo lai lo)

This joyous setting of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) by Puerto Rican priest and composer William Loperena, O.P. follows an antiphonal (call and echo) structure. Inspired by liturgical and musical reforms following the Second Vatican Council, it reflects the African heritage of Puerto Rico with its use of bomba, a popular, percussion-driven musical style that moves people to dance. 

Each phrase is sung by the cantor and echoed back by the assembly, with one small melodic variation at the end of each section. Leaders often use their hands to cue the group at that moment. 

Originally written in Spanish, an English translation by Jorge Lockward makes it possible for communities to experience the joys of bilingual singing.

*Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Lo le lo le lo lai.

Santo, santo, santo, Dios de gloria y poder. (Santo, santo, santo, Dios de gloria y poder.)
Cielos y tierra proclaman tu gloria. (Cielos y tierra proclaman tu gloria.)
Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos. (Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos.

Bendito aquel que viene en el nombre de Dios. (Bendito aquel que viene en el nombre de Dios.)
Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos. (Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos.)

English singing translation (Jorge Lockward):
*Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Lo le lo le lo lai.

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your 
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.

Blessed in the one who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest. 

*a kind of lyrical “scat” sung by traditional jíbaro singers (rural farmers) 


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From This House

This powerful sending song by Ben Allaway has concluded many Music the Makes Community events. The phrases of the song can be taught through call and echo patterns, then the leader can use the African practice of singing instructions within the song to reverse their roles, invite harmony, and shape the energy song. 

"From this house
to the world
we will go
hand in hand.

The way of peace,
the way of freedom,
the way of hope."

Ben has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.


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