Squeezebox is a place for our Song Leaders, as well as congregants, to learn the songs we sing at St. Lydia’s.
At Saint Lydia’s our prayers begin and end with a song that the song-leader chooses from a list of options. Below, you’ll find links to recordings of those songs made by our own Heather Young, who sang them to us all the way from her new home in Seattle. (Thank you, Heather!!!) Note that some of the recordings include helpful notes for performance.
Because the prayers at Saint Lydia’s take place when we are all sitting around small tables, the song leader can’t rely on visual cues to let the rest of the congregation know when to listen, when to begin, and when to end. That means, as you practice these songs, it will be useful to think about how to use your breath and note lengths to guide the congregation. Heather has given useful tips in this regard.
A tune that Emily learned from her pastor, Dr. Brad Braxton, and she’s shared it with the congregation at St. Lydia’s. The piece was recorded in the late 1920’s by Blues and Gospel performer Blind Willie Johnson. You can listen to a snippet of his recording here.
Rachel brought us this piece, often sung by her friends the Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, folk singers in Vermont. You can hear Peter’s choral arrangement of this piece here. The song is a variation on an 1873 hymn called “Precious Promise”
Emily brought us this hymn from her time at The Riverside Church, where it was sung as an anthem. It’s a variation on a hymn of the same name written by Elisha A. Hoffman in 1893.
Emily wrote this setting of Julian of Norwich’s famous text, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
What We Need Is Here
This piece was written by students in the Episcopal/Lutheran student group at MIT, and taught to us by their priest, Amy McCreath.
A piece by our friend, Ruth Cunningham. It’s published in the volume, Music By Heart. The piece is a simple, beautiful melody, which encourages improvisation from the congregation. We sing it during prayer at St. Lydia’s, and on Good Friday.
A lovely song from Kenya taught to us by our musicians in residence, Paul Vasile. Paul always reminds us that the line, “Jesus will never say no,” does not imply that all our prayers will be answers, but simply that Jesus will never say to to carrying our burdens with us.
A beautiful song by our own Debbie Holloway. It’s singing suggests the rhythm of breath and is not only great as a prayer song but as an introduction to meditation and contemplation.
A stanza of What You Cannot Hold, from Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, I, 4, set to music by Rachel Pollak Kroh.
By John Bell