Musical Musings 11-12: Karin Tooley with music of Natalie Merchant, Jason Shelton, Francisco Tárrega and more

Music Notes – Sunday, November 12th

This Sunday’s musician is UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley


Opening Hymn: #346 Come, Sing a Song with Me – McDade

#346 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, “Come, Sing a Song with Me” is a well-known and beloved hymn to many Unitarian Universalists. The words and music were written by Carolyn McDade (b. 1935), a self-described songwriter, spiritual feminist, and social activist. McDade is also the composer of two other UU favorites: “Spirit of Life” and “We’ll Build a Land”.


Centering Music: Kind & Generous – Merchant   

“Kind & Generous” is a song by American singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant (b. 1963). Merchant, who rose to fame during the 1980s as the lead singer and lyricist for the American alt rock band 10,000 Maniacs. “Kind and Generous” was released in May of 1998 as the debut single from Ophelia, Merchant’s second solo album. The song became a top 20 hit in both the U.S. and Canada, and is one of Merchant’s best-loved songs.  


Offertory music: Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) – Tárrega

Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) was a Spanish guitarist and composer of the late Romantic period. He was a virtuoso guitarist, and was primarily known as a performer during his lifetime – only nineteen of his approximately 200 original compositions and guitar transcriptions were published during his lifetime. One of his best-known works, Recuerdos de la Alhambra was written for and dedicated to Tárrega’s patron Concepción Gómez de Jacoby in 1899, after their visit to the Alhambra palace and fortress complex in Granada, Spain. Recuerdos de la Alhambra is a staple of classical guitar repertoire. It has been recorded hundreds of times and arranged for a variety of performing forces, including versions for marimba, mixed voices, violin, orchestra, and solo piano.


Closing Hymn: #1008 When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place – Poley   

#1008 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook, “When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place” was written in 1996 by UU musician and composer Joyce Poley (b. 1941). This song “invites us to see ourselves in others. As we come to understand that all people have wisdom to share and stories to tell—regardless of culture, race, social status, or faith—we begin to realize how important our commonalities are, and how interwoven our lives. When we open ourselves to this sacred idea, then ‘our heart is in a holy place’.” (from


Postlude: The Fire of Commitment – Shelton  

Jason Shelton is an award-winning composer, arranger, conductor, song and worship leader, workshop presenter, and coach. He served as the Associate Minister for Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, Tennessee from 1998-2017, and is now engaged in a music ministry at-large, focused on serving the musical resource needs of UU (and other liberal) congregations around the country (from “The Fire of Commitment” (#1028) is one of many contributions Rev. Shelton has made to our Singing the Journey hymnbook. The unrest of its irregular meter and the insistent rhythmic pulse drive home the call to action that is at the core of the song’s message.    

                                                    -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director