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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 bear 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!•

•If a track glitches, try refreshing the page.

To search:

                                   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 

All Around Me - Karly Loveling
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  An important reminder to count our blessings.  There is so much to be thankful for, and at times our minds can be like velcro to negative things in life, while acting like teflon to the good stuff.  Daily gratitude practice is so helpful to keep things in perspective, and having this song stuck in your head works pretty well!
 

Practice Tracks
All around me are blessings
raining down

all around me

All Come Together To Sing - Helen Yeomans
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All Come Together To Sing by Helen Yeomans

All Come Together To Sing Soprano - Helen Yeomans
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All Come Together To Sing Alto - Helen Yeomans
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All Come Together To Sing Tenor - Helen Yeomans
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All Come Together To Sing Bass - Helen Yeomans
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All that Open Water - Laurence Cole
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In this song, Laurence captures that moment of bewonderment that takes place when a vast body of water opens up before you. He has a detailed account (and his own stellar practice tracks!) on his website here, so these are kind of redundant, but enjoy!
 

Practice Tracks

When I saw all that open water
something opened in my soul
I felt the peace in the beauty of all that is
reminding me all is one, all is round, all is full
all is well, all is whole.

 

Alleluia - Denis Donelly
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One of my mentors from BC composed this.  He said, roughly, “There are so many songs that only use ‘Alleluia’, that I wanted to make a really special one, and only do it once.  This is my alleluia”.  

Autumn Light - Yuri Woodstock
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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

Baskets of Harmony - Samara Jade, Te Martin, MaMuse
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Crafting an object, all that is around us and inside us is reflected in what we create.  This song was co-created by a group of friends, asking themselves, "what is it that I'd like to put into this sacred object as my hands work? What do I want to weave into my life in this moment? crafting as prayer.

Baskets of Harmony - Melody - Samara Jade, Te Martin, MaMuse
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Baskets of Harmony - High - Samara Jade, Te Martin, MaMuse
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Baskets of Harmony - Low - Samara Jade, Te Martin, MaMuse
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Be Open - Debbie Nargi Brown
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Debbie Nargi Brown  Is yet another song leader percussionist virtuoso, based near Santa Cruz.  This is a fun insta-song reminding us that we don't know what is going to happen, so we may as well be open to positive outcomes.
 

Be the One - Laurence Cole
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The story behind this song is a powerful one, and I highly recommend listening to this seven minute podcast by Julia Alvarez.  It is this piece of her writing that Laurence wrote the song from.  The lyrics are a direct quote from Henry James, and the overall message is one of deep acceptance of the world even in the darkest of times. 
 

Practice Tracks

Be the one on whom nothing is lost
and you will gain the whole world, and a soul besides.
Gracias.  Gracias.

 

The Beauty of What We Love - Nickomo
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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...

 

Blessed Motion - Annie Zylstra
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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.























 

Body Body - Kira Seto
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A gratitude song to our endlessly intelligent bodies, this song recognizes that often, the body knows best.  The three-part harmony overlaying the groovy bass parts creates an interesting dynamic sound.

 

Body body thank you

Body body thank you
Oh body body thank you

Body body thank you

You know what to do ohohoh body thank you

Body feels, body shows

Body heals, body knows

Body Body Thank you - Kira Seto
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You know what to do - Kira Seto
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Body Feels - middle part - Kira Seto
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Body Feels - low part - Kira Seto
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Body Feels - high part - Kira Seto
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This Bond of Trust - Katie Sontag
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A super catchy song about the deeper connection we may cultivate with one another if we are brave enough to say what we feel!  And about letting honesty guide us.

Part One: This bond of trust, it will hold you.  You are safe there.  Safe there.
Part Two: May the truth be the guide.  May it shine bright.  May the truth guide the light.
Part Three: The truth! Show me the way. Give me the courage to say...
Part Four: If I feel it, I will say it.  If I feel it I'll Say it say it-Say it say it!

 

Part One -
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Part 2 -
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Part 3 -
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Part 4 -
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Bumblebee Waltz - Kira Seto
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Another awesome nature-based song from Bend, OR based song leader Kira seto, this one is rich in layered harmonies that come crashing together, and evoke the dance of pollinators!  Some lyrics were also a collaboration with Ian Carrick.
 

Bumblebee Waltz - soprano - Kira Seto
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Bumblebee Waltz - alto - Kira Seto
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Bumblebee Waltz - tenor - Kira Seto
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Bumblebee Waltz - bass - Kira Seto
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Break 'em on Down - Paulette Meier
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Break 'em on Down (one part) -
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Catchy and quick teach!  I encourage you to learn this round well enough to teach it widely.  Based on Paulette Meyers' Original,  Can work as three micro-parts or as a round, which I prefer.  

Breathe Easy - Karly Loveling
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A new and soothing song by Karly, this song brings us into our bodies and encourages trust in oneself. The descending low part is really fun and could be octaved up.  Really an anthem inviting lots of harmonies.

Breathe easy, let it all go

rest your body, trust your soul

to guide your way and keep you whole

breathe easy let go.

Breathe Easy - Melody -
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Breathe Easy - Low -
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Breathe Easy - High -
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Cats Meow out of Angst - Neil Farrell
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A humorous and epic round I learned from friends from the Murmurations choir from New Orleans.

"Cats meow out of angst....Thumbs, if we only had thumbs thumbs, If we only had thumbs, if we only had thumbs...we could we could we could we could break so much!"

Cats Meow out of Angst - One Part -
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Cauldron of Light - Vanessa Degrassi
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A part of a longer composition by Vanessa Degrassi of the Murmurations choir of New Orleans, This is a tribute to the goddess of the dawn in Greco-Roman mythology, Eos.  Written with the intention to be sung by worshipers who encourage Eos up over the horizon at dawn.

Cauldron of Light Low - Vanessa Degrassi
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Cauldron of Light Medium - Vanessa Degrassi
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Cauldron of Light - Vanessa Degrassi
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-Cauldron of light, 
Cauldron of light,
the colors alight
the heart beats the time

-Copper and red
ribbons of dawn
pulsing, blushing

-Blood is on the land
the heart beats on
the blushing (blood)

 

Cauliflower Pizza - Karly Loveling
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Based on a quote from Brooklynn Childs, melody by Karly Loveling, brand new, learned at Song Village this June.  What a gem, and yet another vegetable-themed banger.  We contain more than we know...

-If cauliflower can somehow become pizza, you, my dear, can be anything
-There's cashew cheese, and avocado mayonnaise, just think, what could you become?
- I want you to reach beyond your wildest dreams.  Way beyond mushroom jerky.


 

Melody -
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Cashew Cheese -
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Cashew Cheese Harmony -
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High Part -
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Celebrate the Beauty - Kjerston Hallin
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I met Kjerston this year and was struck by her unique groovy songleading style.  This one stood out to me as a special bop.  It reminds me of classic funk.  She likes to play with words, like "be-holdin'".

 

-Celebrate the beauty we behold here now,

celebrate the beauty we be holdin'
 

Celebrate the Beauty - melody - Kjerston Hallin
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Celebrate the Beauty - low harmony - Kjerston Hallin
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Celebrate the Beauty - beauty we be - low - Kjerston Hallin
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Celebrate the Beauty - beauty we be - high - Kjerston Hallin
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Che Che Ku Le - Ghana
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A fun gathering song from Ghana.  The words mean "Come back to shore with your boats, it's about to rain." I'll write the lyrics phoenetically.
 

che che ku le
che che ku fi sa
ku fi sa lan ga
kata chi langa
um a day day

Come, Come, Whoever you Are - Rumi Poem
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Joyous and heartening song of welcome and inclusion.  Great for the beginning of a party, conference, etc.  Words are from Jelaluddin Rumi.
 

Come, come, whoever you are
wanderers, worshipers,
lovers of leaving
Ours is no caravan of despair
come, come again, come

Come Follow Me (to the Greewood Tree) - John Hilton
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An English nursery rhyme, once featured on sesame street.  I've heard various versions of it, but here is mine.  The song asks a question and answers it, so it naturally should be sung by more than one person.  Whither means "to where?" . Fun and simple, good for leading someone into the forest!

Come follow follow follow follow follow follow me

whither shall I follow follow follow

whither shall I follow follow thee?

to the greenwood, to the greenwood, to the greenwood greenwood tree!

 

Come Follow Me - One Part -
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Darkness is Good - Baka/M'Buti & Ysaye Barnwell
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This song shows us, very viscerally, how we can merge into an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts!  Overtones emerge and new melodies are discovered when we weave into this tight round.  Here is a video of Ysaye Barnwell teaching it. Great warm up!

Djun Djun - Karen Porkka
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A fun and lively nonsense song in 5/4 timing. Written as a loose base to improvise upon by Karen Porkka, a member of the Ubuntu Choirs Network.
 

Djun Djun Gudaka
De De Ga De Ga Dun
De De Ga De Ga Dun
De De Ga De Ga Dun


Teaching Tracks

Dona Nobis Pacem - Mozart
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A classic round, and one that I often hear sung in a simplified or shortened manner. A bit of a workout for the vocal chords to get all those notes just right...Latin for "grant us peace"

 

Dona Nobis Pacem - Mozart
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Dosewalips Love Song - Gretchen Sleicher
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Melody - I will lay me down by the river. I will lay me down and rest. I will lay me down by the river and know the world is blessed.

High part - I lay down by the water's edge. I lay down and know I'm blessed

Low part - Water heal me with your song. Whisper love poems all night long

Dosewalips - melody - Gretchen Sleicher
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Dosewalips - high part - Gretchen Sleicher
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Dosewalips - low part - Gretchen Sleicher
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Down to the Well - Sarina Partridge
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I learned this song from Kira Seto, a Bend, OR-based songleader.  She learned it from Sarina Partridge at a hot spring in the wilderness.  What a perfect setting for this magically-layered song, full of flourish and well-held harmony. Sarina is based in Minneapolis and you can find many songs by her Here.

I will go down to the well
let the water ring me like a bell
let the water rock me like a child
for this well will not run dry

no this well will not run dry.

Down to the Well Melody - Sarina Partridge
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Down to the Well High - Sarina Partridge
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Down to the Well Low - Sarina Partridge
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Down to the Well Lower - Sarina Partridge
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Durme Durme - Traditinal Ladino
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I learned this Haunting Lullaby at Village Fire in 2017.  Ladino is a language with heavy Spanish influence, from a time when there was a large Jewish population living in Spain, which was pushed out in 1492.  Now Ladino is spoken by pockets of Sephardic Jews in Israel, the Balkans, Turkey, Greece, and North Africa.  I am a quarter Sephardic, and have absorbed a fair bit of the culture and magic through that line.  There are many different versions of this Ladino lullaby that you can find online, none exactly like this.  The words mean, "sleep beautiful child, sleep without worry or pain"

Durme, durme, hermosa donzella,
Durme, durme, sin ansia i dolor,
Durme, durme, sin ansia i dolor.

Soprano -
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Alto -
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Tenor -
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Bass -
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E Malama - Brian Kessler
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This is an earth blessing song in the style of the traditional hula of Hawaii.  The words mean 'Yes, we must do what is right, and take care of the earth.'  This is an example of a type of cultural appropriation similar to 'Kudekukuru', in which an outsider with some familiarity with a musical style composes a Western-style choral piece based on a native song or blessing.  The message, (almost identical to Kudekukuru,) is one of ecological consciousness, and while it may be a bit of a white guy wanna-be song, it's seriously groovy, respectful and aware of the culture it is inspired from, and has a positive intent. The "crunchy chord" at the end is really satisfying!  Here's a video of it being performed.

 

E Malama i ka heiau x3
E malama pono I ka heiau 
eeee


Teaching Tracks

 

Ear of Stone - Laurence Cole
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This song takes its content from a chapter in Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass (which everyone should read.) All about lichen, which is the embodiment of mutual thriving.  Lichen is a co-operation between algae and fungus.  Two beings from different "kingdoms" working in harmony to support one another, and weathering the ages in difficult environments.  The term 'ear of stone' refers to a common name for a kind of rock tripe/lichen.  Here is that chapter read aloud.  The quotes we are singing come in at the very end.  To fully understand the meaning of this song I highly recommend listening to or re-reading this chapter.
 

-Oh lichen, oh lichen turning light and stone into flesh and bone.

-Ear of stone will you hear our anguish when we understand what we have done? x2

-May you also hear our hymns of joy when we, likeyou, marry ourselves to the earth.

Ear of Stone "Oh Lichen" - Laurence Cole
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Ear of Stone "May you..." - Laurence Cole
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Ear of Stone "Ear of stone" - Laurence Cole
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Earth and Ocean - Mary Ann Fusco
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A classic round you may find in "hippie" circles, or summer camps.  The "sail away" part is fun to sing, and the churning rhythms mirror the oceanic theme.

Earth and ocean

sand and rolling sea

wind and motion]fire be lit in me

sail away!

Lightly touch down to (earth...)

Earth and Ocean- One Part -
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Evening Rise - Meinhard Ansohn
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This Epic arrangement comes from German composer Meinhard Ansohn. Suggestion for small groups is to try the melody plus both Alto parts, which could be Octaved down for low voices.  That makes a nice three-part!

 

Evening rise, spirit come
sun goes down when the day is done
mother earth awakens me
with the heartbeat of the sea


Teaching Tracks

Every Voice Shall Sing - Helen Yomans
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So Fun to sing!  Another banger from Yeomans.  The words speak for themselves.  Contemporary UK composer. Space it out enough for the response to have some room around it. In a small group I'd just do lead, Soprano, Tenor. Enjoy!

Every voice shall sing, every light shall shine.
Shine on, shine on...
Halleluia! Shine on Yeah! Shine on


Teaching Tracks


 

Ferry Song - John Jenkins 1600's English
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One of my favorite Mary Poppins-esque songs, bringing to mind images of some goofy old English blokes making their way to a gathering or pub across a lake. A very old drinking song, I originally learned it in 2017 when I took the Ferry across the Salish sea to attend Community Choir Leadership Training from magical Canadian song elves.

Ferry Song (one part) - John Jenkins 1600's English
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Finnish Herding Song - unknown
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Finnish Herding Song, oley leyloyla

Finnish Herding Song - one part -
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The First Snow - Unknown Artist
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Dreamy round that embodies the feeling of silent magical snow world.  Still searching for the origins...

The first snow falls so silently down,
that none can hear it touch the ground 
and still it falls, and falls, and falls.



 

Flame - Susie Ro Prater
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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 magnificent 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.



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

Voices rise and weapons fall and nations unite around the world

and songs of peace at the heart of every land
 

Flame - soprano - Susie Ro Prater
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Flame - alto - Susie Ro Prater
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Flame - tenor - Susie Ro Prater
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Flame - bass - Susie Ro Prater
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Full Moon - Heather Pierson
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A great "bang for your buck" three-parter.  Awesome harmonies, clear message.  Sing it with a couple friends on a night hike!

 

-Full moon shining bright, guide my way through the night.

-Full moon shining, guide me through the night.

Full Moon high - Heather Pierson
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Full Moon middle - Heather Pierson
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Full Moon low - Heather Pierson
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Full Moonlight Dance (Spirit's Dance) - Karen Beth, (Popularized by Libana)
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A mesmerizing and hypnotic round that reminds me of the feelings of spinning and spiraling. 

Under the full moon light we dance
Spirits' dance we dance

joining hands we dance

joining souls rejoice

Full Moonlight Dance (one part) - Karen Beth, (Popularized by Libana)
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Full Moon Dance - Kira Seto
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A song that truly gives voice to the power of the full moon, and the feelings that can come out on nights like this!  A truly epic and fun song, and one to have in your back pocket for the next time you find yourself staring at the moon!

 

-On a night like this, I swim with the moon flowing through my soul

 

-La Luna calls to me open to her ecstasy

 

-I wanna howl, I wanna scream!  In this moon dance I feel all of me

 

-Let it out, Let it out, let it ALL out--shake it off--shake. it. off! Dance in your fullness dance in your fullness, beauty!
 

Full Moon Dance - I wanna howl - Kira Seto
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Full Moon Dance - let it out - Kira Seto
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Full Moon Dance - la luna - Kira Seto
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Full Moon Dance - on a night like this - Kira Seto
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Gaudeamus Hodie - Natalie Sleeth
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I learned this song as a foot stompin' round at Catoctin Quaker Camp when I was Nine years old. That's how I have it presented here. Turns out there is actually a written score for Soprano, Alto, and Bass, written in 1972, which can be found here.   Interesting.  It has a calypso rhythmic section... "For Joyous Occasions" . The translation more specifically is "Let us rejoice today."
 


Gaudeamus Hodie

 

Gaudeamus (One Part) -
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Giant Avocado - Soleil Ouimet
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This song came to Soleil in a dream.  I added the ridiculous minor harmonies.  Praise be unto an avocado that can really feed you and your friends...

 

-Giant, giant avocado x3

With a pit in it, giant avocado

-You can eat it with your friends on some tacos!

Give Thanks - Karly Loveling
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Another of my pal Karly's magnificent three-parters, I learned this last summer from her at Song Village.  It has a bittersweet redeeming quality I think.
 

For this breath, this sound, this holy, holy ground
for this wondrous living world,
give thanks, give thanks