There Are Angels Hovering Round is a song that has come to the MMC network through multiple channels. St. Gregory of Nyssa congregants have been singing this song at funerals for many years. Peter and Mary Alice Amidon have a lovely arrangement of it on their website amidonmusic.com, where you can listen to an mp3 and purchase sheet music.
Here's a recording of the Morningstar Singers, a hospice choir in Minnesota, singing There Are Angels Hovering Round:
This South African traditional song from the singing of the Mooiplaas congregation was transcribed and arranged by John Bell of the Iona Community.
To lead it, sing through it once or twice, perhaps reinforcing the shape of the melody with your hand. It's easy enough that folks will start singing with you quickly. Encourage harmony and add the leader part once the group is confident.
"Woza nomthwalo wakho,
Woza nomthwalo wakho,
Woza nomthwalo wakho,
English singing translation:
"Come, bring your burdens to God,
come, bring your burdens to God,
Come, bring your burdens to God
for Jesus will never say no."
Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.
This contemplative, layered setting of Psalm 65 by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan is a dialogue between two phrases in different languages.
Tibi silens laus
For you, silence is praise
Richard's music is licensed through 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 for the song is available in the "Our Roots are In You" collection on the PsalmImmersion website.
Here's a recording of the song by Richard:
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.
This new musical setting of a Shaker text is by organist and composer Daniel Schwandt. It was written at a Music that Makes Community Composers Retreat in Brattleboro, VT in 2013. It has been used in many different contexts: as a call to prayer, for Ash Wednesday and during the Lenten season, for services of healing and reconciliation, and even at funerals or graveside services.
The melody has strong call and echo features, and some leaders teach the song this way. Others line it out line by line, adding simple movements to help the group better remember the text.
"Lay me low, where the Lord can find me.
Lay me low, where the Lord can *own me.
Lay me low, where the Lord can bless me.
Lay me low, oh, lay me low."
*MMC leaders frequently substitute 'hold' for 'own.' We find the original word carries baggage painful to many, especially communities of color with direct connection to the American history of chattel slavery. We honor the Shaker tradition from which the song emerges while also seeking to name and heal painful legacies of oppression.
Sheet music can be found in Singing In Community, published by Augsburg Fortress. Here's an audio recording Dan teaching the song for the very first time.
Below is a teaching video made by Paul Vasile. Notice he substitutes the word 'God' for 'the Lord' to invite a more broadly inclusive spirit. You could also substitute the word 'Love.'