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Installation Preview: What About the Music?

These are notes from the order of service. At this time I am not sure which song we’ll sing as the recessional. But it’s only Friday!


Notes about Music in this Service

Preludes:  “Sarabande” is by Clif Hardin, the music director at River Road Unitarian Church (Bethesda, MD) since 1983.  “The Maiden’s Prayer” is by Tekla Badarzewska (1834-1861), a Polish composer. She had five children and died at age 27.

Processional:  “Siyahamba” comes out of the South African Freedom Struggle in the late 20th century.   Often it is sung with percussion from the sound of marching and stamping feet on dirt roads.  It appears as #1030 in the UUA’s Singin the Journey supplement.


Chalice Lighting:  “Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing” is sung to John Wyeth’s tune “Nettleton,” from his Repository of Sacred Music, 1813.  Verse 1 is by Robert Robinson (1735-1790), a Dissenting (Baptist) then Methodist in England, written when he was 22; the added verses 2 & 3 are by minister of religious education Eugene B. Navias, who was born to Unitarian parents in 1928.  It appears as #126 in the UUA’s Singing the Living Tradition.


Music for Reflection:  The tune for “Ashokan Farewell” was written by American composer and folk-music camp organizer Jay Ungar in 1982.  It was used in the 1990 PBS miniseries The Civil War. 


Offertory Medley:  >The Sanskrit chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” translates as:The jewel is in the lotus” or “Praise to the jewel in the lotus.” According to His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, this means that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

>“Simple Gifts” is recognized that this traditional “dancing” tune was written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) who first joined the Shakers community at Gorham, Maine.

>“Amazing Grace”is considered to be “the best known hymn in the English language” with lyrics written by English clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779, but written to illustrate a New Year’s Day sermon in 1773.  It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses’ it may have been chanted by the congregation without music. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to the tune “New Britain,” to which it is most frequently sung today.


Recessional:  Music for “The Fire of Commitment” was written in 2001 by the Rev. Jason Shelton, music minister at First UU Church of Nashville to accompany words by him and the Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, senior minister at the UU Congregation of Fairfax in Oakton, VA.  It appears at #1028 in the UUA’s Singing the Journey.   “This Little Light of Mine” (circa 1750-1875) is an African American spiritual.  It appears as hymn #118 in the UUA’s Singing the Living Tradition.


1 Comment so far
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Thanks for all the information, Roger. Looking forward to it.

Comment by Lauren Davis-Todd

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