HERE WITH US, by Jason Liles
Link: Here With Us
Link: Here With Us (SATB)
Sung by Immaculate Conception Church Choir, Hampton, VA
Director: Teresa Cobarrubia Yoder
Pianist: Mark Smeland
Soloists: John Brady and Lynetta Bove
Flutist: Alex Quihuyen
Last evening, our church choir launched their new season by learning two new songs. This week’s showcase is Jason Liles’ ever beautiful liturgical song, “Here With Us.” I will be featuring two links to this piece… You will hear mostly melody (although a few altos “snuck” in their vocal part). At a later time, I will post the song in four-part harmony.
Methodology with “Here With Us”
The choir learned the melody today to prayerfully sing it so the notes ebbed and flowed- focusing on the powerful lyrics. This gave the choir time to reflect on the song more in terms with it’s meaning and it’s musicality without being encumbered with singing in parts until they were ready both spiritually and musically. In promoting full and active participation, the first two verses were sung by soloists with the textured impact of the refrain in full chorus as well as women singing verse 3 and men singing verse 4.
The congregation will do the same this weekend… With them coming in on the refrain and singing with their gender on third and fourth verses. The promotion of full and active participation is noted with the assembly having a good model to be empowered to sing and sense the “sharing” of the story through the verses- the acts of participation and praying through the art of listening and singing (think “good” conversation and dialog).
Next Wednesday, the choir will have had a week to prayerfully reflect on the text and melody and many will begin the process to teach themselves the harmonies. I find that when the choir is fully engaged with both the text and the melody, they will naturally want to expand the exquisite nature of the song with their harmonic or polyphonic vocal parts. Depending on the assembly, the choir will be pastorally patient so the assembly’s voice is dominant on the refrain. Therein, is where the mystery of the assembly’s one-ness in prayer is expressed and felt.
Postlude: Considering this was a live recording using my iPad, the first time the choir seeing the music, and the soloists being spontaneously selected, I only wished you could have seen their immediate expressions – priceless as they were fully engaged in their prayer. They knew the Holy Spirit was present in every note they sang. And that witnesses well of putting heart and soul in the sung prayers of God’s people…