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In God Alone (Psalm 62)

This short but versatile refrain by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan can be sung as a simple melody or as a canon. Based on words from Psalm 62, it can be used as a psalm refrain, a prayer song, or in moments of challenge and crisis.

With or without accompaniment, the tune quickly finds harmony. 

"In God alone my soul is at rest.
Be at rest, my soul."

Richard's music is licensed through CCLI, and Be sure report use of the piece if you print the text or music for your community.

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What We Need Is Here

This song was composed by Amy McCreath, who now serves as the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, MA. It has become a sort of Music that Makes Community anthem because of its simple but powerful lyrics and easily taught (and harmonized) melody. 

Based on a the final line of the poem The Wild Geese by Wendell Berry, it can be shared in a variety of contexts, within and outside faith communities. 

"What we need is here."

The Rev. McCreath has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without restrictions. She simply asks you properly acknowledge the author of the tune and text. 

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To the Bath and the Table

To the Bath and the Table is a three-part canon composed by Mark Howe, the Director of Music and Canon Precentor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington, VT. It's a quotation shared by liturgical scholar Gordon Lathrop and a powerful invitation into central symbols and ritual actions of the Christian faith.

The piece can be lined out in two chunks, using call and echo to reinforce the melody and text. When the community's singing is confident, you can divide them into parts and invite a canon. 

Mark also composed a cantor part using Sylvia Dunstan's hymn text, Crashing Waters at Creation, which can be sung over the canon. 

"To the bath and the table, to the prayers and the word,
come, every seeking soul."

Mark has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without restrictions. Copyright for Sylvia Dunstan's hymn text is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text should you use it.

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The Light of Christ

The Light of Christ is a simple melody by Donald Fishel with a leader/cantor descant. It could also be taught as a two-part layered song. 

Teach the piece phrase by phrase through call and echo. Then invite the community to sing it through, adding the leader part when the group is confident. 

The song can be used for Vespers, for candle lighting, and as a response during the Christmas and Epiphany seasons. An accompanying instrument like a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ can help support the congregation and sustain the energy of the song. 

"The light of Christ has come into the world." 

Copyright for the piece is held by Church Publishing, Inc. You will need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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The Gifts of God

This Eucharistic response by psalmist and singer-songwriter Richard Bruxvoort Colligan invites the community to partake in the bread and wine. It's a straightforward melody that can be taught phrase by phrase through call and echo patterns. 

"The gifts of God for the people of God, 
Come now for all is prepared. 
The gifts of God for the people of God,
The Gospel is among us.

Richard's music is licensed via CCLI, and Be sure report use of the piece if you plan to print the text or music for your community.

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The Bread Which We Break

This buoyant call and response song by composer and retired church musician Marilyn Haskel is an invitation to joyful unity found in the sharing of the Eucharistic meal.

Marilyn begins by speaking the rhythm of the "Hallu, hallelujah!" response in rhythm, then asks the community to echo. Once the rhythm is clear she teach the responses, using her hands to remind the group of the melodic shape. Finally, she adds the cantor part and cues the response with a rhythmic gesture and an encouraging smile. 

While it may take time to learn, a song like this can be life-giving and empowering when the community is able to practice it before worship, as well as repeat it over several weeks.

You can help support the community's participation by teaching the responses to the choir. And model shared leadership by assigning the cantor part to choir members or other song leaders.

The piece can be sung unaccompanied. A drum can be helpful, but be careful it doesn't muddy the rhythm.

Cantor: The bread which we break
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
Cantor: is the sharing of the body of Christ. 
Response II: Hallu, hallelujah!
We being many are one bread.
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
We being many are one body.
Response II: Hallu, hallelujah!
For we all share in one bread.
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
For we all share in one bread.
Response III: Hallu, hallelujah!

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

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Hold My Hope/Teach Me To Be Love

This powerful, multi-part layered song was composed by Ana Hernández. It has often been used as a prayer song, holding space for fears and challenges to be named, held, and blessed by our collective voices.

Ana often begins with two lower voices (the ostinato, "Hold my hope... and the response, "Hold my trembling...") and lets the rhythm settle before lining out the melody. Further harmonies can then be lined out or improvised by the group.

"Hold my hope. 
Hold my trembling.
Hold my heart, teach me to be love."

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Tar a thighearna

Tar a thighearna is a beautiful Gaelic chant by singer and composer Ruth Cunningham. Translated "Come, Lord, come thou Being," the piece is a powerful invocation and useful for centering/gathering, prayers, and times when a gentle, focused energy is needed. 

The text and the melody can be learned through call and echo. Take your time and repeat passages that need extra care, especially those with ornamentation. Invite improvised harmony when the community is ready.

Tar a thighearna.

Pronunciation: tahr ah hear-nah, tahr-ah-hee

English translation:
Come, Lord, come thou Being.

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

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Send Now Your Servants

This joyful sending song was composed by Pastor Chad McKenna at a Music That Makes Community workshop in Chicago. The text is based on the Canticle of Simeon from Luke 2 and invites us to name the ways we have experienced God's salvation with all our senses.

The piece can be taught phrase by phrase using call and echo patterns. Notice the third line changes for each verse. Some leaders sing that alone, then invite the group to respond affirmatively with the final phrase. A more advanced technique is calling out the upcoming text (singing or speaking several beats ahead), essentially feeding the group the new words while they sing. 

"Send now your servants, send now your servants,
Send now your servants, Lord.
Our eyes have seen salvation here.
Send now your servants, Lord."

Additional verses:
"Our tongues have tasted salvation here...
Our ears have heard salvation here...
God has given salvation here..."

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


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Receive, O Earth

This is a gorgeous setting of an Orthodox funeral liturgy, written by Daniel Schwandt at our MMC Composers' Gathering in Brattleboro, VT in 2013. 

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Peace, Salaam, Shalom

Peace, Salaam, Shalom was written by Emma's Revolution (activists and singers Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow) after September 11, 2001 and it quickly became an anthem of the peace movement. It sets the word 'peace' in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, offering a powerful interfaith message that has been shared at protests, religious services, and in other community contexts.

"We were moving from NYC to the Washington DC area over September 11th, 2001. When the only response from the government and the corporate media was “war and retribution,” we wrote “Peace, Salaam, Shalom” and sang it at an impromptu peace march in DC that week. Less than a month later, we led the song at the first peace rally in NYC after 9/11, where over 10,000 people sang with us for the three hour march, all the way from Union Square to Times Square."

Emma's Revolution asks groups, organizations, schools, churches, etc., that use their music to pay a one-time, sliding scale fee of $75-150 for use of the song in perpetuity. See their website for more information.

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Our Breath Is Incense

Psalm 141 is commonly used during Vespers or Evening Prayer. This setting by psalmist and singer-songwriter Richard Bruxvoort Colligan invites the community to sing a refrain which alternates with solo verses.

Use call and echo patterns to teach the refrain phrase by phrase. Weave them together when the community is ready and proceed right into the psalm setting without breaking the flow.

Our breath is incense, sweet smell rising.
Our hands are open, lifted up in the evening. 

Verse 1: 
I call out to you Come and hear me 
Give ear to my voice, my God, and quickly. 

Verse 2
Watch the door of my mouth for integrity 
Guard my lips and keep my heart from turning. 

Verse 3 
Let the elders guide and correct my way 
Keep my words and actions true I pray. 

Verse 4 
Watch the farmer's plow turn the blessed earth 
Bones of death and signs of rising birth. 

Verse 5
You are the earth, I am a seed 
Hide me, grow me, love and never leave me. 

Richard's music is licensed via CCLI, and Be sure report use of the piece if you print the text or music for your community.

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Open My Lips, Oh Lord

This song was composed by Marilyn Haskel. 

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Open My Heart

This beautiful, layered chant by Ana Hernández is one of the best-known pieces in the MMC repertoire. The text is adapted from a Chinese mantra to Guan Shi Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. 

Leaders in the MMC community teach the song differently. Some begin with Part I, then move to Parts II and III. Others reverse the order to great effect. No matter how you teach it, be sure to tend the beautiful dissonance on the word "heart" and keep inviting the community to deeper listening. Additional parts can be improvised and you can also support the voices with guitar or keyboard accompaniment.

Ana suggests using the chant during Communion, in Taize services, underneath prayers, or to shift the energy of a tense situation. It can also be sung in Spanish and French. 

Open my heart.
Abre mi corazón.
Ouevre mon coeur.

You can purchase sheet music or a license to use Ana's music from her website. 

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Mass for Immanuel

This is a mass composed by Daniel Schwandt in honor of Scott Weidler when he left his position as cantor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL in 2014.

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