Musical Musings 01-22: The Chancel Choir returns with an uplifting LEA song and a new Broadway classic

Music Notes – Sunday, January 22nd

This week’s musicians are The Chancel Choir and UUCC Music Director Mike Carney


Opening Hymn: #6 Just as Long as I Have Breath

#6 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, “Just as Long as I Have Breath” is a song based on Johann Ebeling’s (1637-1676) traditional hymn tune “Nicht So Traurig” (“Not So Sad”), with words by UU songwriter and activist Alicia S. Carpenter (b. 1930). Carpenter has authored no fewer than 10 of the songs in our ‘big’ hymnal, including “Here We Have Gathered” (#360), We Celebrate the Web of Life” (#175), and “With Heart and Mind” (#300).


Centering Music: Spiegel im Spiegel – Pärt

Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) is an Estonian composer who has written symphonies and other orchestral works, chamber music, and choral/vocal works. Pärt’s compositional style has evolved over time, shifting from neoclassicism to serialism to minimalism, but his music is unique, experimental, and widely influential. Composed in 1978, “Spiegel im Spiegel” (literally meaning mirror within a mirror) is one of Pärt’s best-known chamber works. Although originally written for piano and violin, it has since been transcribed and arranged for numerous other instruments, including versions for cello, oboe, double bass, and flugelhorn (to name a few). “Spiegel im Spiegel” is considered a minimalist composition, but also incorporates tintinnabulation (bell tones), a compositional technique pioneered by Pärt, which utilizes broken triads accompanied by a gently moving diatonic melody from the same key center. In an interview with the French magazine L’Actu, Pärt described his technique in this way: “Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers – in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning. The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises – and everything that is unimportant falls away . . . The three notes of a triad are like bells. And that is why I call it tintinnabulation.”


Offertory: Good Enough – Morris

 “Good Enough” is a song about love and self-worth, written by award-winning performer and composer Lea Morris (b. 1978), also known simply as LEA. Born in Baltimore to a father who toured the world playing trumpet in the funk band Black Heat and a mother who dreamed of opera while performing with her siblings in the Jones Family Gospel Singers, LEA was singing on the pulpit of the Baptist church where she grew up as soon she could speak. When she discovered the acoustic guitar as a teenager, she began teaching herself to play by writing songs. LEA’s final year in high school in Germany at a classical conservatory, where she sang with the jazz ensemble Black & White and co-wrote with the British pop trio Indigo Wild. Having shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, Dar Williams and Anthony Hamilton, LEA performs at a far-ranging array of venues, including arts centers, universities, festivals, places of worship and beyond. She performs solo and with her band, The Moment. (includes material from


Closing Hymn: #1053 How Could Anyone – Roderick

Libby Roderick (b. 1958) is a singer-songwriter and activist from Alaska. Her song “How Could Anyone” (#1053 in Singing the Journey) was written in response to a friend in pain. It has been heard around the world, translated into many languages, and is reprinted in many books. The simple folk tune and words have been embraced by people with many types of pain, from AIDS orphans to cancer survivors and prisoners. The lyrics have been used for healing in many different settings, including churches, hospitals, shelters, rallies, weddings, and funerals. (from


Postlude: You Will Be Found – Pasek & Paul

 Co-written by Benj Pasek (b. 1985) and Justin Paul (b. 1985), “You Will Be Found” is a song from the 2015 musical Dear Evan Hansen. The Tony Award-winning show, featuring songs by Pasek & Paul and a book by Steven Levenson, deals with the complexities of teenage social anxiety and mental/emotional health and was inspired by the death of a fellow student while Pasek was in high school. “You Will Be Found” has a hopeful and uplifting message and is the act I finale of Dear Evan Hansen. This Sunday, The UUCC Chancel Choir’s rendition of “You Will Be Found” this Sunday will feature pianist Lucy Carney and vocal soloists Steve Sanford and Molly Watkins.  

                                                -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director