Musical Musings 03-12: Lift your voice with our Multigen Choir

Music Notes – Sunday, March 12th

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


Opening Hymn: #1020 Woyaya – Amarfio, Amoa, Bailey, Bedeau, Osei, Richardson, & Tontoh

Primarily written by Ghanaian drummer Sol Amarifio (b. 1938), “Woyaya” (also known as “We Are Going” or “Heaven Knows”) is the title song of a 1971 album by Oisibisa, a group of Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians. The song was frequently heard in work camps throughout central West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. The word “Woyaya” has no literal English translation but can have multiple meanings, as is the case with many scat syllables, which are a common feature in West African music.  The arrangement of “Woyaya” used in our service (and appearing as #1020 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook) comes from Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock.


Centering music: God Bless the Child – Herzog and Holiday

“God Bless the Child” was written in 1939 by jazz legend Billie Holiday (1915-1959) and songwriter Arthur Herzog, Jr. (1900-1983) The song and its signature lyric of “God bless the child that’s got his own” was inspired by an argument Billie Holiday had with her mother over money. Today, “God Bless the Child” is recognized as one of the all-time great jazz standards. It was honored in 1976 with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and was chosen as one of the 365 “Songs of the 20th Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America along with the National Endowment for the Arts. Dozens of artists have recorded covers of “God Bless the Child”, including Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sonny Rollins, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.


Offertory music: Like a Mighty Stream – Hogan and Jacobson

“Like a Mighty Stream” is a contemporary spiritual/gospel song cowritten by two influential composers of modern choral music, Moses Hogan (1937-2003) and John Jacobson (b. 1954). Raised in Louisiana, Moses Hogan studied piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and became one of the most influential composers and arrangers of African American Spirituals of all time. Wisconsin native John Jacobson is a composer, arranger, educator, choreographer, and advocate. Jacobson has hundreds of published works, and is the founder and volunteer president of America Sings! Inc., a non-profit organization that encourages young performers to use their time and talents for community service.


Closing Hymn: #1023 Building Bridges – Quaker song, arr. Page

“Building Bridges” is a song of uncertain origins. It was discovered by a British Quaker named Elizabeth Cave, who heard the song at Greenham Common, a peaceful sit-in at a nuclear energy plant in England. Cave submitted the song for publication, and soon afterward, Sing Out magazine published it in their RISE UP SINGING collection. The arrangement of this round you’ll find in Singing the Journey (#1023), which was premiered at the UUA’s 2002 General Assembly, was created by UU songwriter and social advocate Nick Page (b. 1952).


Postlude: Keep on Saying Yes – Lea Morris

“Keep on Saying Yes” is a song 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

                                                                  -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director