This buoyant, rhythmic setting of verses from Psalm 134 was written by Ana Hernández in 2007.
The 7/8 meter is best felt in the body, first through tapping or clapping the larger rhythmic groups (2+2+3). Ana often invites the group to sing the tune on "la" until they've gained familiarity with the melody and rhythm. Then text can be added.
"Yours the day also the night, you made the moon and the sun.
La la la la...
God has bless'd us. God has bless'd us. God has bless'd us."
A shruti box or another drone instrument can help the group stay on pitch; percussion instruments can add rhythmic support.
Sheet music can be found in Music By Heart, the original collection of paperless songs that gave birth to MMC's workshops.
I learned this song from Sierra Leone (transcribed by Greg Scheer) at a congregational song symposium at the Chandler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA. Because each section of the song repeats, it's easiest to have folks echo after you. In the second section the word changes from bread to wine on the repeat so you have to think about how to prompt that. A few beats before the repeat I'll often say the new text and make sure that folks notice the change in that moment.
Song Form: Simple melody with SATB harmony
Place of Origin: Sierra Leone
Copyright Holder Name: Arr. © 2008 Greg Scheer
Print Source: Published in Global Songs for Worship. Purchase this book from Amazon here.
Publisher Name: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Faith Alive Christian Resources
Year of Publication: 2010
Here's a video of a group sight reading We Are Coming Lord to the Table with drumming and shakers.
This South African Song in Xhosa is roughly translated “Go with us, our Savior” and comes from the repertoire of anti-Apartheid Freedom Songs written in the 1970's and 80's. It was shared with the MMC community by Paul Vasile, who learned it from Pamela Warrick Smith. In the spirit of music from many African contexts, the song invites opportunities for improvisation and adding actions/themes specific to the community's needs or experiences.
We have seen leaders share it as zipper/pocket song (i.e. Go with us, Lord, and give us your love/joy/peace) or deepen its communal spirit by crafting new verses (i.e. Come walk with us and share in our bread/...and join in the song). It makes a powerful sending song.
"Hamba nathi Mkhululi wethu"
There are several poetic translations of the song into English, not all faithful to the original Xhosa:
1. You Are Holy, You Show Us the Way
2. God With Us, Lord, and Set Us All Free
3. Come Walk With Us, the Journey Is Long (Anders Nyberg)
Teaching note from Paul Vasile: When you lead Hamba nathi, make sure that you keep a steady beat so the group feels the syncopated rhythm of the tune. I teach the tune first and once that's set offer the bass line. If folks don't intuitively add harmony (almost every group I've taught this to has), outline parts.
Here is a recording of the song by the Drakensberg Boy's Choir in South Africa.
This song was composed by Kerri Meyer in San Francisco, CA. This video of 'There Is Enough' is taught by AnnaMarie Hoos, who learned it from Kerri Meyer. The melody was adapated from a Peter Mayer refrain, and Kerri Meyer composed the descant.
The lyrics are:
There is enough!
There is enough!
There is enough, oh,
Enough and some to share!
Sheet music can be found in Singing In Community, our latest songbook published by Augsburg Fortress.
Here's an audio clip of Kerri leading this song at the Musical Text Kitchen in San Francisco in October of 2014.
Here's a video of AnnaMarie Hoos leading this song at MMC at The Bishop's Ranch in January, 2015.
This lively call and response song composed by Marilyn Haskel was originally written for a weekly paperless Eucharist at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City that welcomed visitors from around the world.
Begin by teaching the 'Hallelujah!" responses, then sing the call and invite the group right in. Before you know it, the group will be singing the whole song. In Marilyn's context, a quartet of singers filled out the harmony parts in the printed score.
"Listen to the Word of God.
Hear the living Word.
Rachel Kroh composed this song at a Music that Makes Community workshop in 2012. The text is from Burnt Norton in T. S. Eliot's The Four Quartets.
"In my end is my beginning, in my beginning is my end."
Here's a video of Rachel leading the song at The Bishop's Ranch:
Ana Hernández has written two contrasting settings of If In Your Heart, a short text by 17th century mystic and poet Angelus Silesius. The first is a rhythmic setting that creates a sense of joyous anticipation. It is wonderfully suited to the Advent and Christmas seasons and could be effective as a gathering or processional song, for candle lighting, or as a Gospel acclamation.
Ana suggests a syncopated clapping rhythm that suggests a heartbeat, adding another dimension to our singing of the text.
"If in your heart you make a manger for his birth,
then God will once again become a child on earth."
Teaching note: Teach the melody until secure, repeating phrases and breaking them down as necessary. Try assigning the handclap pattern to a small group (or even a percussion instrument), but encourage them to stay soft until the group’s confidence grows and it ‘locks in’ rhythmically.
Sheet music can be found in Music By Heart, MMC's first collection of paperless songs.
Here's a video of Marilyn Haskel teaching this setting:
I Will Supply Your Need is a call and response song by Ben Allaway, inspired by Philippians 4:19 and the devotional book God Calling by Two Listeners, edited by A. J. Russell. Easily learned and well-suited to many liturgical contexts, the song can deepen into a place of spacious prayer. Improvised harmonies can be invited and additional calls can be written or extemporized to name specific needs within the community.
Additionally, the song leader can shift the language of the response from 'I will...' to 'You will...' as well as offer dynamic instructions that shape the energy and flow of the song.
"Jesus said to me, "I will supply your need."
The weak need my strength...
The strong need my tenderness...
The fallen need my salvation...
The righteous need my pity for sinners...
The lonely need my friendship...
The fighters need my leading...
No one of this world can be all these to another...
Sing it over...
Believe him/Christ when he says...
Thank you, Lord..."
Teaching note: Perhaps the biggest challenge is the shift from teaching the response (which we model through call and echo) to the call and response structure. Most groups need a gentle reminder (either spoken or sung) that they keep singing the response and don't echo the call.
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."
This setting of Psalm 47 was written by Pascal Jordan, a Benedictine brother from Trinidad. We learned it from Hilary Seraph-Donaldson in her wonderful series of instructional videos, Break into Song.
A solo or cantor line carries the psalm text, while the community responds with “Alleluia,” and rhythmic leg-slapping and clapping. The rhythmic underpinning is reminiscent of a child’s clapping game or the ubiquitous accompaniment of drum kit, congas, and other percussion that drives a steel drum band. This infuses the song with the strong sense that the whole community is drawn into the act of worship.
Sheet music can be found in Andrew Donaldson's With Many Voices Songbook.
Here's the episode of Break into Song that features All Peoples, Clap Your Hands: