Evening Sing, General Assembly 2015
The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary.
Introit: “Where Do We Come From?”
Singing the Journey (STJ) #1003
Words: Paul Gaugin & Brian Tate
Music: Brian Tate ©1999, Used by permission
Susan Peck, Matt Meyer, ensemble lead 4 parts of chant.
Susan: Good evening and welcome! Are you ready to hear Dr. Cornel West? Can we warm up the room for Dr. West with some great singing? I have some fantastic UU musicians up here who would love to hear this room full of singing, clapping, and dancing. From Boston, Massachusetts, here's Matt Meyer to lead us in his “Song of Alleluia” as we light our chalice this evening.
Matt: In the Christian tradition, the sharing of the good news of the gospel, is marked with word, “Alleluia.” And when we gather together as Unitarian Universalists, celebrating our own tradition, I believe we also have some good news to share with each other. Is that right? So we’re going to sing a song of alleluia together. Your part goes like this…
Susan Peck, Matt Meyer, ensemble
Some of us here arrive here counting our blessings. In the eyes of loved ones, in awe of the natural world, in the sound of a people gathered to make a joyful noise. Let us gather now in a spirit of gratitude. Some of us this week have been challenged by intimidating schedules, infinite logistics, or even uncomfortably new ideas. Let us gather for a time to sing of rest and renewal. Some of us move through our days this week thinking of loved ones back home who can’t be with us, perhaps struggling with illness or loss. Let us gather for a time to breath deeply, to sing fully, and in our singing, perhaps find a moment stillness that has eluded us for too long.
Some of us this week have bathed in the light of community and purpose. We are fed in body and in spirit and are more whole for it. Let us sing loudly in a spirit of connection, a testimony of interdependence.
Some of us this week, or this year, have questioned our faith—whether in god or in each other or in ourselves. In our harmony, may find the renewal of trust and of conviction that we seek. Some of us arrive near the end of our day now filled up. With new ideas and inspiration and a hunger to return home to our congregations and feed those whom we serve. We gather this evening in love and in service, in song and celebration.
Please rise in body or spirit and sing out like you mean it this time…
“What We're Asking For”
Allison Wilski, Susan Peck, ensemble
Allison: Thank you, that was beautiful. Please be seated. In 2003, choir members from First Unitarian Church of Portland traveled to Cuba. It was a ground-breaking trip that opened up years of cultural and humanitarian exchanges between First Church and their Cuban friends through the Cuba Ayuuda program. In celebration of the recent opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, we would like to sing a piece written by local singer-songwriter, Mona Warner, for that first choir trip to meet the people of Cuba. Mona's song is also the title of the video documentary of that trip: What We're Asking For Is Peace. Lo que pedimos es la paz. I'll sing in Spanish first, one line at a time. We'll sing it all the way through in Spanish, then in English, and a third time with both languages at the same time.
Andrea Newall, ensemble
Andrea Newall: The song “Libertad,” #34 in Las Voces del Camino, was written at the Campamento de Jóvenes Metodistas, a Methodist youth camp near Buenos Aires, Argentina. The song speaks of freedom: “Freedom is not waking up one morning without chains: it’s something more. Freedom is not owning the keys to every door: it’s something more. Freedom is not building for yourself, all alone, a world apart: it’s something more. Freedom is living together, deciding, choosing. Freedom is loving, understanding and struggling so that everyone has freedom.” It begins with a quiet power, building into an anthem of power. I will sing it through once. On the repeat, please join me in singing “Libertad.”
Call and Response
Michael Guinn, Glen Thomas Rideout, ensemble
Susan: Our next song was written by song-leader and songwriter Nick Page. He wrote it last Thursday, in response to the terrible murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It's call and response, so one of us will sing a line, and you'll repeat the last word. The first verse asks “why?”
“Wake Up Everybody”
Michael Guinn, Glen Thomas Rideout, ensemble
Michael Guinn: In 1975, Harold Melvin and the Blue-Notes, with Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals, released “Wake Up, Everybody,” a soulful call to pay attention to all the need in the world, to teach the children a new way, to make the world a better place. Please rise in body or spirit and join me on the chorus of the song.
“Spirit Says Do”
Michael Guinn, Glen Thomas Rideout, ensembl
Susan: Do we have time for one more song? Have you felt the call?
Are you going to help find the new way to build, to teach? Are you ready to DO when the spirit says do? Please rise in body and spirit and sing out, Spirit Says Do.
Susan: Thank you for singing and dancing! I hope you're ready for Dr. Cornel West!