Musical Musings: July 31, 2022

This week’s musicians are Amy Collins and UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley

Opening Hymn: #1000 Morning Has Come – 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 Morning Has Come (#1000) is one of many contributions Rev. Shelton made to our Singing the Journey hymnbook. In the words of the composer, “This song was composed for and debuted at a morning worship service during a 2001 UU musicians’ conference at the Mountain in Highlands, NC. As the story goes, it had been rainy and gray all week long, but when the time came to debut this song, the sun came out and shone gloriously through the chapel windows. Ah, the power of music!”

Centering Music: Imagine – Lennon/Ono

“Imagine” is a 1971 song by John Lennon (1940-1980) and the title track of his album of the same name. Before his death in 1980, John Lennon stated that a significant portion of the song’s lyrics were written by his wife Yoko Ono (b. 1933) and that she should receive equal songwriting credit for “Imagine”. The song was the best-selling and most iconic single of Lennon’s solo career, having been certified multi-platinum and inspiring over 200 cover versions to date. Rolling Stone magazine described “Imagine” as Lennon’s “greatest musical gift to the world” and ranked “Imagine” as #3 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. The song has received many other honors, including a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and a Centennial Song Award from the US National Music Publishers Association.

Sung Meditation: Heart Opening Song – Partain

“Heart Opening Song” is an original composition by UUCC Minister Rev. Randy Partain. In Randy’s own words: “In May of 2022, I attended the Spiritual Directors International conference in Santa Fe. Pat McCabe led a morning ceremony each day. One morning, she introduced a “heart-opening song” drawn from her Diné (Navajo) tradition. Participating in this beautiful communal song, the thought occurred to me that it would be wonderful to bring this song back to the congregation I serve. This thought was immediately followed by an awareness of how inappropriate this appropriation would be. So, in the open-hearted space of that morning’s plenary session, I conceived a more appropriate heart opening song in preparation for our summer series on Connection.”

Offertory Music: One Tin Soldier – Lambert & Potter

“One Tin Soldier” is an anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, which was first recorded in 1969 by Canadian pop group The Original Caste. The song was a hit in Canada and had modest success in the United States, but did not chart overseas. “One Tin Soldier” has been covered by other artists, including Skeeter Davis, Jinx Dawson, and Coven, whose version was included in the soundtrack for the 1971 indie film Billy Jack.

Closing Hymn: #170 We Are a Gentle, Angry People – Near

Holly Near (b. 1949) is a performer, songwriter, and activist who for decades has inspired thousands to thought and action. She is considered to be among the founders of the Women’s Music movement and is a fierce advocate for LGBTQ and environmental justice as well. Ms. Near has received honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; she was named Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year and received the Legends of Women’s Music Award. One of Holly’s best-known and best-loved songs is “Singing for Our Lives”, which was written after she heard news of the assassination of city supervisor and gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The song appears in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal as “We Are a Gentle, Angry People” (#170). (includes material from

Postlude: Summertime – Gershwin & Heyward  

“Summertime” is an aria written by American composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) for his opera Porgy and Bess, with lyrics by DuBose Heyward (1885-1940). Gershwin’s music incorporates elements of jazz, spiritual and classical music, which may be part of the reason this song has enjoyed such wide appeal. Since its 1935 debut,” Summertime” has been recorded by well over 25,000 different artists and groups and is one of the most enduring standards in the Great American Songbook. This Sunday, you’ll get to hear “Summertime” sung by UUCC’s own Amy Collins, with Karin Tooley accompanying.

                                                                                -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director