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Songs We Sing — ”In the Bleak Midwinter”

Most excellent Song Leaders,

Here’s a gentle final hymn for Advent, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

The sheet music is here:  In-the-bleak-midwinter.

And here’s a lovely online recording that gives you the sense of tempo and mood.

If it’s within your power to make it snow outside as we sing, by all means, do.  :-)


Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — “For the Beauty of the Earth”

Hello, Song Leaders!

Here’s a lovely hymn of thanks and praise, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Here’s the sheet music.  For the Beauty of the Earth

And here’s a video of it performed by organ and choir.

Remember that it helps those who are less familiar with the hymn to sing the first verse on melody only before breaking into parts.

Enjoy this beautiful hymn, and thanks for your leadership!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — ”Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”

Hello, Song Leaders!

Here’s a final hymn for Advent, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

We’ve set the words to a to a tune you might have sung with the text “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling . . . ”

Here’s the sheet music.  Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.

And here’s a practice recording — Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus — with a piano playing all four parts.  Because it’s so short, only two verses, we might break our usual custom of waiting until verse 2 to add harmony.  Depending on your sense of the group’s ability to find their way through it, you can invite people to break into parts right away.  If you do that, make sure that you or some other strong singers are going to hold down the melody to guide less familiar people through the hymn.

Thank you for leading!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — “Amen Siakudumisa” / “Amen, We Praise Your Name, O God”

Hello, Song Leaders!

“Amen Siakudumisa” is a hymn by Stephen Cuthbert Molefe, a South African composer and choir master.  The original words are in Xhosa, and we sing it in both Xhosa and English.

Xhosa lyrics:
Amen siyakudumisa (masithi)
Amen siyakudumisa (masithi)
Amen, Bawo; Amen Bawo;
Amen siyakudumisa. (masithi)

English lyrics:

Amen, we praise your name, O God. (sing ‘amen’)
Amen, we praise your name, O God. (sing ‘amen’)
Amen, amen
Amen, amen
Amen, we praise your name, O God. (sing ‘amen’)

Here’s a recording so you can learn the melody and get a sense of the tempo at which we’ll sing it.  Amen Siyakudumisa


It’s a great song, and a great way to honor the musical influence and freedom struggle of the South African church.

Sing Amen!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — “Creator of the Stars of Night”

Hello, Song Leaders!

“Creator of the Stars of Night” is a centuries old hymn we’ll be singing as a lamp lighting song during Advent.

We’ll be singing it in unison using call and echo.

You have two options.

Method #1:

This is the simplest approach.  You, the song leader, sing a line and invite the congregation to echo it back.

Song Leader: Creator of the stars of night,
Congregation: Creator of the stars of night,
Song Leader: Your people’s everlasting light
Congregation: Your people’s everlasting light

Method #2:

You could teach the congregation how to sing the entire first verse.

Creator of the stars of night,
your people’s everlasting light,
O Christ, Redeemer of us all,
we pray you hear us when we call.

Then, you sing verse two, solo, cuing them to repeat the first verse as you finish.  You continue this alternation between you as soloist, singing through the other verses, and the congregation refraining with verse one.

To give you a sense of the melody, listen to this recording, which is performed in Latin.

And here is the sheet music.  Creator of the Stars of Night

It’s a beautiful and meditative hymn, and one of the rare chances we get to sing plainchant together.



Posted in: Songs We Sing

Music for All Saints’ Day Observances 2016

Hello Song Leaders,

Here’s the music will be using for All Saints’ Day, 2016, which we will observe on Sunday, October 30 and Monday, October 31.  All Saints’ Day is a time when we remember those who have died, and the service music reflects this theme of remembrance and the strange mixture of wonder, sadness, and joy that we feel when remembering those we’ve lost.

Gathering song: “There Are Angels Hovering Round”  (This is a traditional song but may be new to many at Saint Lydia’s)

Lamp Lighting song: “Come Light of Lights

Table Acclamation: “Fall Acclamation

Prayer Song: Song Leader’s choice

Post-cleanup Gathering Song: “Zimbabwe  Alleluia

Final Hymn: “For All the Saints

It’s a special day for the congregation, and your song leading provides a great invitation for people to take part in this celebration of remembrance.  Thank you for that!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — ”For All The Saints”

Hello Song Leaders,

“For All The Saints” is a hymn we sing in observance of All Saints Day (which falls on November 1).

Here’s a video that will give you a sense of the melody line.

Here’s the sheet music we’ll use (you’ll note that it omits some of the verses found in most hymnals and tweaks some of the language).  For All the Saints

It’s a beautiful hymn, especially when the harmony parts are added.  Remember that we always sing the first verses of our hymns in unison so that everyone can learn the melody.

Happy All Saints Day!








Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — “Zimbabwe Alleluia”

Hello, Song Leaders!

Here’s a joyful Alleluia refrain from Zimbabwe.  We sometimes use it as we are regathering folks as cleanup wraps up.  It’s a melody of four short phrases, all using the same word.


We loop it over and over.  You can also invite hand claps.

Here’s a recording from of the Alleluias plus some psalm refrains from Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.  Note that we generally omit the psalm refrains and keep looping the alleluias.


Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs We Sing — ”There Are Angels Hovering Round”

Hello song leaders,

“There Are Angels Hovering Round” is a traditional song that dates at least as far back as the mid-1800s.  The mood of the song is gentle and invocational.

Watch this video of it being sung at Saint Gregory’s Church in San Francisco to see how the verse lines are cued by the song leader.

Note that the song leader always sings the first line of each verse, and then cues the congregation to follow.

One way you can teach the congregation how to do this:

Sing the whole first verse on your own.

“There are angels hovering round.  There are angels hovering round.  There are a-a-a-a-a-a-angels hovering round.”

Then invite the congregation to sing join you singing that same first verse.

“There are angels hovering round.  There are angels hovering round.  There are a-a-a-a-a-a-angels hovering round.”

Then invite them to repeat again, this time adding harmony.

Now that they are singing in harmony, as they reach the end of that first verse line, say/sing “I’ll sing the next line and you join in.”  Then continue . . .

Here is the sheet music:  There Are Angels Hovering Round

[Note: you may be familiar with a slightly different version, where instead of drawing out "angels" / "carry" / "new" etc, they repeat these words.  We draw out the words so that the congregation won't have to guess where to begin the repeated word.]

Okay, let the angels hover round!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Fall Music — Cornucopia of Lydian Awesomeness!

Hello most excellent Song Leaders,

A new season is upon us and we are celebrating in style, with new songs, including some written for us by some of our awesome Lydian songwriter/composers, Angela Morris, Debbie Holloway, and Meave Shelton.

Because so many of these songs are new, I recommend that you begin learning them as soon as possible, so that by the time you arrive at church for rehearsal, you’ll feel comfortable with them.  Even if you’re not on the schedule, it would be great for you to learn these, because . . .

1.  Having a few strong voices who know the material in the congregation helps other singers feel more confident.

2.  If a scheduled Song Leader needs to cancel, you can step in knowing you’re already familiar with the material.

Okay, behold the awesomeness of our musical selections:For gathering hymns, we have three new songs from which to choose, and each of them has a justice theme:
“The Mighty Will Fall” 

“Lament for Zion” 

“Till the Moon Is No More”

For lamp lighting songs, we have two options:

“The Lord Is My Light” — Note: this is the Taizé version (not the version we’ve sung during Eastertide)

“This Path I Do Not Know”

We’ll be singing the Fall Table Acclamation, another new addition.

Our prayer song selections remain the same as always

The song we’ll sing as we regather after cleanup and pass the collection plates will be “Amen,” an old favorite.

Our final hymns are . . .

Spirit, I Have Heard You Calling,” which we’ll sing through Monday, October 3, and . . .

Come, Come Ye Saints,” which will sing starting on Sunday, October 9.

Thank you for being a part of making Saint Lydia’s a place where we celebrate each other’s voices and creative energy.  Let the autumnal splendor begin!

Posted in: Songs We Sing