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Practice Tracks

~A note on cultural appropriation~

•Recordings are for your ears only! Do not disseminate.  For real.  It's illegal.•

•And bare with me on some of these, they're quite imperfect.  Sometimes its flat by the end of the recording, or my voice is straining.  But I hope these rough cuts get the basic parts across!•

•There will be a growing number of tracks on here as the season progresses. I suggest 

                                   1.  Create a shortcut to his page on your desktop
                                   2. Use the search function to find the song you're looking                                          for.  ctrl. + F or cmmd. + F 

Keep Watch - Becky Reardon

This mesmerizing four-part round by Becky Reardon eloquently points to the reality that we, as support for our friends, family, and wider community, cannot live out one another's life/experiences/ challenges, but we can "keep watch". It gives me a sense of solidity in those who care for me.  It's saying, "I'll be there for you, though your path may be dark, and you will walk it alone."  Musically, this song is really fun to sing, especially on the arching note on the words "Keep Watch".  It feels impossible to sing this one without moving to the layering harmonies.


We cannot follow you where you are going.
What you are feeling we cannot know.
But we will keep watch, watch through the night
watch till your journey brings you home.

Autumn Light - Yuri Woodstock

This song came to me as I was watching the sun go down on a brisk Fall evening.  The deepening color complexity in the leaves' melancholy yet celebratory changing; overlaid with the echo of that same bittersweet transition in the day's cycle into nightfall.  Every Autumn I feel like I'm coming home.


Practice Tracks

Part 1:
Autumn light fading right into the end of day
Autumn air, lead me where I'm home, home to stay.
Part 2:
The day is leaving, the stars have come
Part 3:
The color of dreams; the color of dusk
The color of peach, the color of rust
Part 4:
Fading into all my dreaming

I'm Going up (on the mountain) - Jodi Stecher

The story behind this song is one of my favorites. The full story is on the Individual tracks page. It has come full circle as a chant of personal transformation, turned into a bluegrass song by a Hare Krishna-influenced hippie in the seventies, mistaken widely for an old southern gospel song, and ultimately reclaimed by Appalachian alternative types as a transformation chant again.  Full-Circle! This is my arrangement/ distillation of the original into parts.

Practice Tracks

I'm goin' up on the mountain 
ain't comin' down till the mornin
I'm goin up on the mountain 
ain't comin' down in chains.


Flame - Suzie Ro Prater

This song has been described as the distillation of all that Nick Prater told his daughter, Suzie Ro Prater, when he was on his deathbed.  Suzie Ro has a unique fire for powerful, vivacious song leading. She has carried along what her father began with the Wild Harmonies chorus and taken it to magnifiscent new levels.  The Musicality blends triumphant chords with dissonant depth.  It matches the words wonderfully.  One of my singers' all-time-favorites, we focus on the fugue/ first half, which has a really different energy than the second half!  Here is the original,  choral version, and here is suzie ro's singer/songwriter solo version.

Practice Tracks

Listen deeply, a flame in the center of the storm
she sings in silence, inside the ocean of my soul.


Sunflower Round - Sam Long

As we pick the manifold seeds this Autumn from the massive heads of sunflowers, let's enjoy this round by Sam Long that keeps geing higher, higher, and higher, in honor of the tall bright giants than look lovingly down upon us.


Sunflower open,
underneath you have only begun,
yellow and bright, you are among
so many like flowers in sun
so stand tall!


Sunflower (One part) - Sam Long
Blessed Motion - Annie Zylstra

Song alchemist Annie Zylstra derived inspiration for this song from the shifting nature of the land by the Trinity river in California.  The river would periodically flood, washing away huge stony banks, and oftentimes homes and farms.  The Trinity mountains were scarred with layer after layer of wildfire burns.  As the salmon runned up the river, their bodies were in active decay whilst simultaneously achieving the lifelong task of spawning.  Blessed Motion is an ode to the changingness of it all, outside of us and within us. Annie also quotes Martîn Prechtel who after witnessing the Guatemalan earthquake of 1976 devour entire villages, reflected that solid ground is just a myth for those who live on the earth rather than in it.  For those of you want to dig deeper, here are her practice tracks, with a fun layering second part.

Practice Tracks

I believed in solid ground, until I saw the earth in motion.
In the winds of steady change, and in the ever rolling ocean.


Vehicle of Soul - Glen Philips

This groovy piece is about honoring the divine gift that is our wonderful, resilient, loving, healing body. 

Practice Tracks
Part 1:
My body is a vehicle of soul.
I will honor it with love, 
I will learn to make it whole.
Part 2:
My mind is a. vehicle of soul,
I will strengthen it to make it whole.
Part 3:
Heal yourself, that you may heal those around you.


The Beauty of What We Love - Nickomo

Based on the words of Rumi, this hauntingly beautiful and spacious piece is a powerful reminder. Nickomo is a composer in the UK who does lots of spiritual chants and rounds.  Check it out here.

Practice Tracks

May the beauty of what we love, what we love, 
be what we do...


Revival - Lydia Violet

Yet another amazing river song. This is an instant classic.  It works with free, open space for folks to crate their own harmonies, and to add in three-syllable things for the "zipper".

I'm gonna lead with peace today,
yeah, I'm gonna lead with peace today.
I'm gonna lead with peace today,
and see it rise!
I'm gonna get down to the river,
gonna take up the revival
I'm gonna lead with peace, lead with peace today!


Roll the Old Chariot Along or Nelson's Blood - Traditional Shanty

We'll Roll the ol' chariot along,
We'll Roll the ol' chariot along,
We'll Roll the ol' c
hariot along,
And we'll all hang on behind!

A pot of Irish stew
Wouldn't do us any Harm x3
...And we'll all hang on behind!

We'll Roll... Etc.

A classic capstan shanty.  African American in origin, there are early records of it being sung at corn shuckings and log rollings in the Dismal Swamp area of Georgia.  The words come from a Salvation Army Hymn, and the tune is a Scottish reel. In some versions, the biblical "golden wheel" replaces the chariot. The verse about Nelson's blood It is making reference to the aftermath of the battle of Trafalgar, (1805) in which Admiral Lord Nelson died, and his body was placed in a barrel of rum.  The crew was said to have drunk grog in honor of Nelson, out of that very barrel, and thereon grog was sometimes known as "Nelson's Blood".

Humming Round - Nick Prater

So haunting, this one.  I first learned it from Annie Zylstra at Singing Alive '17. Excellent for experimenting with vowel sounds.  I've seen this one refuse to end in a big group around a fire many times.

O Light Abide -

I learned this song when I was nine. It was sung every night at the end of fire circle as the campers at Catoctin Quaker Camp filed off to their cabins, youngest to oldest.  Instant glorious harmonies.  A powerful classic, adn one to imbue into your lives as a lullabye.  An adaptation of a chrystian hymn, "Abide with us O lord"...

O Light Abide - One part -
Vodo, Vodo, Ivnishki - Unknown Artist

This song has been described as a song in which Ivan is courting Maria, and her response is somewhat lukewarm.  There is definitely a contrast in the two parts of the song, that is super fun to accentuate, speeding up the "vodo" part, and slowing down, (and making very operatic,) the "Mari" part.

 Part One
Low:  Vodo, vodo Ivanishki, vodo, vodo, Ivanish
High:  Ishvatah Ishvatah, vodo Ivanishki, Ishvatah Ishvatah, Vodo Ivanish
Part Two
Low: Mari, Maria, Mari, Maria, Mari Mariushkayah
High:  Mari, Maria, Mari Mariushkayah

Grateful - Various ~ Alchemy of Song April 2014

This song allows us to embody the spirit of gratitude.  Sometimes it can be hard to strike the balance of humbleness and feeling worthy of the bounty of life. The words here recognize that there is a surrendering involved in accepting this bounty, and that there is surrendering inherent in gratitude.  It came out of a workshop led by Suzie Ro Prater, in which a group together composes a song then and there, the Authors names are Sharon Galyer, Olivia Flenley, Jennie Fisk and Mel Deevy. There are two parts, a call, and an echo, with the Alto I and Tenors making the call, and all the other parts on the echo.  Fun to sing once we get it!

Practice Tracks

I allow, I surrender. I feel so grateful to receive


Heaven in My Heart - Nick Prater

This classic has been sung by choirs all around the world.  It's about finding everything you need within yourself. A fun multi-part harmony song with a bouncing Bass part that floats the whole thing.

Practice Tracks

I'm gonna find Heaven in my heart 
Oooh oooh oooooh


Right Place Right Time - Samara Jade

This reassuring and seriously groovy tune speaks to the sentiment of acceptance and moving with the "crazy world" we live in, to ride the wave of what surrounds us rather than bemoan it.  Good thoughts, and a really fun and catchy sing!

Practice Tracks

Part 1:
I believe that I'm in the right place at the right time,
This wave is crashing down and it's the one for me to ride.
Part 2:
Ebb and flow, rising falling
Part 3: 
Crazy world, crazy time.  Gonna let go of what ought to be, and hang on for the ride.

Home in my body - Karly Loveliong

The words are direct, the message is important.  Every time I sing this it feels like an important reminder.  It's so common in our culture to see the body as something to be worked on, if not judged outright, yet these words affirm our homeness amongst all of it, the pleasure and pain.

Practice Tracks

1: Home I am, Home in my body, home in my body I am home
2: I am home in my body
3: In this breath, in this heart, in this pleasure, in this pain;
In this breath, in this heart, I am home again.


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