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
Come, Lord, come thou Being.
Ruth has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.
Sheet music can be found in Singing In Community, our latest songbook published by Augsburg Fortress. It also appeared in Music By Heart, MMC's first collection of paperless music.
Ruth and Ana Hernández recorded the song on Blessed By Light. Here's a link to a recording of Emily Scott teaching the song, then offering suggestions for how to lead it without paper.
Watch Rachel Kroh lead Tar a thighearna at Union Seminary in September 2015:
This is a gorgeous setting of an Orthodox funeral liturgy, written by Daniel Schwandt at our MMC Composers' Gathering in Brattleboro, VT in 2013.
Here's an audio recording of Dan teaching the song in Vermont right after he wrote it.
Here's the sheet music for this song.
Here's a work of art inspired by this song by Rachel Kroh.
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.
I call out to you Come and hear me
Give ear to my voice, my God, and quickly. Refrain
Watch the door of my mouth for integrity
Guard my lips and keep my heart from turning. Refrain
Let the elders guide and correct my way
Keep my words and actions true I pray. Refrain
Watch the farmer's plow turn the blessed earth
Bones of death and signs of rising birth. Refrain
You are the earth, I am a seed
Hide me, grow me, love and never leave me. Refrain
Richard's music is licensed via CCLI, OneLicense.net and Worldmaking.net. Be sure report use of the piece if you print the text or music for your community.
Sheet music and a recording are available on Richard's website.
This layered chant commonly used for the service of Compline was written by tunesmith Ana Hernández. Here's a description of the piece from her website:
Guide Us Waking, Guard Us Sleeping is an eight-part circular chant with optional piano accompaniment you may improvise in almost any musical style, from early music to gospel. It's also beautiful with unaccompanied voices. You may also use as few as three parts and still create something beautiful, which makes it perfect as an anthem for small choirs, chanting groups, and improvisors. My friend Julia taught it to her choir and they sang it at the end of rehearsal every Thursday night for years while they put away their books and put on their coats.
"Guide us waking, guard us sleeping,
that awake we walk in love/watch with Christ;
and asleep we may rest in peace."
Find sheet music for purchase on Ana's website. The chant is also published in Voices Found, a supplement to the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal featuring texts and music by, for, and about women.
Hear a performance of Guide Us Waking, Guide Us Sleeping by The Virginia Girls Choir.
This expressive prayer song from the Iona Community is especially effective for Advent and can be taught through call and echo patterns. It has been used as a Gathering Song, for lighting Advent Candles, Prayers of the People, and Passing of the Peace. It's a zipper/pocket song and you can easily insert themes of the Advent season (hope, joy, and love).
The piece is effective as a simple melody but a beautiful choral harmonization and descant can also be added once the congregation part is secure. Listen to a setting from the Iona Community here.
"Come, O Lord, and set us free.
Give your people peace.
Come, O Lord, and set us free.
Come, Lord Jesus, come."
Give your people hope...
Give your people joy...
Give your people love...
Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.
The song was composed by John Bell and published in We Walk His Way from Wild Goose Publications.
Here's a video of AnnaMarie Hoos sharing the song at the Bishop's Ranch in January of 2015:
Here is a teaching track from St. Lydia's in Brooklyn, which uses it as a candle lighting during the Advent season.