Musical Musings: June 19 – 25, 2022

Special pre-service music this Sunday at 10:45!

Be sure to arrive early to the sanctuary this Sunday, June 19th for special pre-service music from our special guest musician Damian Goggans (see below for more about Damian and his music). See you then! 

Music Notes – Sunday, June 19th:  

This Sunday’s musicians are Damian Goggans and UUCC Music Director Mike Carney. 

Damian Goggans started playing guitar in 2016 at Citizens Leadership Academy in an after-school guitar club taught by Brian Gaudino, the former Director of Education for the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS).  Since then, Damian has accomplished many wonderful things, including: being on national television and radio, performing his own composition in Severance Hall and studying with virtuosic guitarists such as Adam Holzman (Brevard) and Mathew Cochran (Interlochen). Damian was an inaugural member, and now a recent graduate, of the Musical Pathway Fellowship where he studied with Erik Mann, the Executive Director of CCGS. He is one of fourteen students from seven countries accepted into the inaugural Guitar Foundation of America Mentorship Program, where he has been studying with American guitarist Christopher Mallett and French guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre. In May of 2020, Damian graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) high school where he majored in Orchestra under the direction of Dianna Richardson. Currently, Damian is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance at Oberlin Conservatory with Stephen Aron and is a Teaching Assistant for CCGS. Damian believes that his role as an African American Classical Guitarist is to help diversify the field of classical music. He wants to help promote the idea of musical equality and to help make classical music more accessible to everyone no matter what their race, nationality, or religion is. While this is a huge task, he intends to start by performing compositions from more people of color and bringing classical guitar to those who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to take part in the creation of our musical language. He intends to use his music and his new classical guitar, a Glenn Canin that was purchased by Greg Maloney of Gifted Guitars, as a weapon against injustice. All Damian’s performances and accomplishments are dedicated to his brother and guardian angel, D’King Goggans who passed away in August of 2020. Two original compositions by Damian will be featured in Sunday’s service: “King’s Lullaby” (centering music) and “Ballad of a Mother” (offertory).

Damian’s appearance in our service this Sunday is supported with funds from UUCC’s Change the Tune Cleveland fund, the mission of which is to provide professional performance opportunities for musicians from underserved communities. 

Pre-Service Music:  An Andante (Holland), His Song (Dett), Don’t Be Weary, Traveler & Wake Up, Jacob (Flippin, based on African American folk melodies)

Andante and Variation in C major, also known as An Andante for the Guitar, is a work for solo guitar, first published in 1878. An Andante was written by Justin Holland (1819-1887), an African American guitarist, educator, composer, and activist. Holland became famous during his lifetime not just for his musical accomplishments, but also for his work as an abolitionist and a champion for the rights of African Americans. Holland studied music at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and lived and worked in Cleveland for much of his career. 

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) was a Canadian-American composer, educator, organist, and choral conductor of African descent. Dett was (and still is) widely known for his numerous choral and piano settings of African American spirituals and folk songs, although his compositional output also included many other types of music, and he was very skilled at blending elements from the African and European musical traditions. “His Song” is the second movement of a 1913 piano suite called In the Bottoms, a tone poem meant to evoke moods and scenes from African American settlements along the river bottoms of the American south. 

“Don’t Be Weary, Traveler” and “Wake Up, Jacob” are movements from a larger work titled 14 Études on the Music of Black Americans, an original work commissioned by the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society from American guitarist and composer Thomas Flippin. Both are built around traditional African American Spiritual melodies, but they go beyond arrangements and into the realm of original works inspired by those traditional tunes. Thomas Flippin is “an original and versatile voice in the world of contemporary music. Whether premiering new works with his pioneering classical guitar ensemble, Duo Noire; performing avant-garde art songs on the theorbo as part of Alicia Hall Moran’s Motown Project; playing otherworldly electric guitar in Heartbeat Opera’s The Extinctionist; or plucking the banjo in the American Repertory Theater’s The Black Clown, Flippin’s playing has been hailed as “lovely” (New York Times), and “spectacularly precise” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).” – from

Opening Hymn: #1051 We Are… – Barnwell 

 #1051 in Singing the Journey, “We Are…” was composed by Ysaye Barnwell (b. 1946) for Sweet Honey in the Rock. “We Are…” was originally the last song in a suite that began with the lyric, “Lawd, it’s midnight. A dark and fear filled midnight. Lawd, it’s a midnight without stars.” Dr. Barnwell wanted to create a complete circle of experience, and so she wrote “for each child that’s born, a morning star rises…” This phrase is meant to establish hope, and it defines the uniqueness of each one of us. No matter what our race, culture or ethnicity, each one of us has been called into being and are the sum total of all who came before. In the composer’s words, “Each and every one of us stands atop a lineage that has had at its core, mothers and fathers and teachers and dreamers and shamans and healers and builders and warriors and thinkers and, and, and…so in spite of our uniqueness, we come from and share every experience that human kind has ever had. In this way, we are one. (from

Meditation Response: #1020 Woyaya – Amoa, Amarfino, Bailey, Bedeau, Osei, Richardson, and Tontoh

Primarily written by Ghanaian drummer Sol Amarifio (b. 1938), “Woyaya” 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” that appears as #1020 in our Singing the Journeyhymnbook comes from Ysaye Barnwell. 

Closing Hymn: Come and Go with Me – African American Spiritual  

“Come and Go with Me” (also known as “Go with Me to that Land”) originated as an African American spiritual. The song features call-and-response singing and lyrics expressing the hope of a better world to come, and has been recorded by many artists, including Bernice Johnson Reagon, Blind Willie Johnson, and Peter, Paul and Mary.  “Come and Go with Me” is also #1018 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook, arranged by Kenny Smith (b. 1965).  

Postlude: Murga and Candombe (Pujol)

Máximo Diego Pujol (b. 1957) is an Argentine guitarist and composer. Pujol grew up in a musical household, learning on his father’s guitar from an early age and giving his first recital when he was just 9 years old. One of his first works, “Sonatina”, written when Pujol was a university student, won several awards and launched his career as a composer. From his first steps as a professional, Pujol has worked in search of an increasingly integrated fusion between tango language and a more formal academic musical approach. This “thought-out” search for the guitar, the result of a conscious, almost obsessive study of the work of Heitor Villa Lobos and Leo Brouwer, has allowed Pujol to generate his own unique and unmistakable “guitar language”. Today, the works of Máximo D. Pujol are performed and recorded by musicians from all over the world. (from “Murga” and “Candombe” are two movements from Pujol’s 1996 Suite del Plata, a musical exploration of traditional music and dance forms from Argentina’s River Plate Basin. 

             -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director