Journey Songs: Music from Singing the Journey

FUUN Choir CD cover

Our very first choir CD! This disc is a collection of 15 songs from our new hymnal supplement, Singing the Journey, and features all of our choirs and a host of soloists and instrumentalists who help make music at FUUN such an integral part of our worship experience. The CDs are $15 each, and all proceeds benefit the FUUN music program.

This recording was made possible by a generous grant from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Trust


1. Turn the World Around (2:53)
Words and Music: Harry Belafonte & Robert Freedman
© 1975 Clara Music Publishing Corp. (ASCAP)

An arrangement of the classic Harry Belafonte tune, which was first performed when he appeared as the guest host of the Muppet Show in 1977. As the song was being introduced on the show, Belafonte was asked where he gets his ideas for his songs, "Well, they don't come easily, you have to get inspired. Like the song we're going to do next; I discovered that song in Africa. I was in a country called Guinea; I went deep into the interior of the country and in a little village, I met with a storyteller. And that storyteller went way back into African tradition and African mythology and began to tell the story about the fire, which means the sun, and about the water and about the earth and that he pointed out that all these things put together turn the world around. And that all of us are here for a very, very short time and in that time when we're here, there really isn't any difference in any of us if we take time out to understand each other. And the question is, do I know who you are, do you know who I am, and we care about each other? Cause if we do, together, we can turn the world around."

2. Shall We Gather At the River (4:23)
Words and Music: Robert Lowry (1826-1899)
Solo: Sara Beck

A traditional American hymn, and both music and text are attributed to Robert Lowry (1826-1899), a Baptist preacher of some brilliance. In 1864, while Lowry was pastor of Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn, he wrote this hymn during a disastrous epidemic in New York City. The river to which the hymn alludes is the "river of life" described in the final chapter of the Book of Revelation. Lowry is also acknowledged as the source of the popular hymn How Can I Keep from Singing, #108 in Singing the Living Tradition.

3. Daoona Nayeesh (3:39)
Words: Samir Badri; Music: Ted Warmbrand
© 2002 Ted Warmbrand
Kbd. arr. Jeannie Gagné
Solo: Jason Shelton

This song is the inspiration of a Muslim residing in the United States, Samir Badri. Samir recruited the composer, a Jew, to set his words to a tune, after they both were featured at a Peace rally in Arizona before the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and then Iraq. This song has been well embraced by those who have heard it around the country. It is structured musically to allow for people who have never sung in Arabic to do so, in echo fashion. It was first sung with a rippling banjo accompaniment, then a cappella, then with percussion, and then with a band made up of musicians from Morocco and Saudi Arabia who formed to play for the Tucson Jewish Muslim Peace Walk of 2004.


Let us live in peace. Let us live in inner peace. Let us weave our dreams together. Let us die in peace.

4. Blue Boat Home (3:06)
Words: Peter Mayer; Music: Roland Hugh Prichard (1811-1887), adapted by Peter Mayer
© 2002 Peter Mayer

This song was born from the composer's explorations on the guitar with Hyfrodol, one of his favorite melodies that he grew up singing in church. Being primarily a contemporary folk artist, he took some rhythmic liberties with the melody, and then added his own text that refers to our life on this earth as a grand seafaring journey. From his original recording, Jason Shelton created the score, and this wonderful piano arrangement. A copy of Peter Mayer's original version of Blue Boat Home can be purchased from Peppermint or by calling (800) 633-7020. It is available in sheet music, and on the CD entitled Earth Town Square.

Kenny Smith during recording session

5. Hush (4:41)
Trad. African-American Spiritual
Solo: Tony Jackson

This traditional spiritual, in its earliest iterations, was known as “Soon One Morning,” and it spoke of the certainty of death. Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, in her workshops on singing in the African American tradition, adds the “sounds like freedom” and “sounds like justice” verses, turning the song into a call to spiritual depth and resolve. Who is calling your name? How will you respond?

6. If Every Woman in the World (2:42)
Words: Karen MacKay & Nancy Nordlie; Music: Karen MacKay
© 1984 Karen MacKay
Solo: Sara Beck

From Karen MacKay’s deep connection to the living tradition of West Virginia women’s music; a tradition that, in Karen’s hands and voice, continues to be the means for perpetuating the simple ancient wisdom of mountain women. In 1982, suffering harassment at work and unsure of her life’s direction, Karen spent a weekend with “Aunt Jenny” and received the wisdom that has guided her life and music ever since. “Just git out there and play yer banjer. Git out there and play yer music and give ‘em all you’ve got!” Two weeks later Karen had quit her job. A year later she had written and recorded the songs on her first album, “Annie Oakley Rides Again.”

The final song on that album was If Every Woman in the World. Karen’s strong belief in the power of women to influence global culture and bring peace to the world found a deep expression in this song, and women all over the world have responded by passing it on from woman to woman, country to country. It has been sung at the 1985 International Women’s Conference in Nairobi, as well as at retreats and gatherings throughout Canada and the United States. It was included on the CD, O Beautiful Gaia, recorded by Carolyn McDade and the women of three different bioregions in Canada and the United States. The song’s current form incorporates three new verses written especially for its inclusion in this Unitarian Universalist (UU) hymnal supplement. If Every Woman in the World portrays a powerful dream of planetary peace that begins inside the heart of each person who sings it.

7. Busca el amor (3:48)
Words and Music: Salvador Cardenal B.
© 1999 Salvador Cardenal Barquero
Solo: Jason Shelton

This song sums up the composer’s simple personal theology. Salvador Cardenal Barquero is a fifth generation Nicaraguan. He studied to be a Catholic priest as a teenager. He, as many of his generation, answered the call for regime change by forming Duo Guardabarranco with his sister Katia. His original songs explore the need for love. He is a devotee of evolving spiritual thought. He has set music to words of St Francis of Assisi, Rabindranath Tagore, and the Sanscrit Vedas (Srimad Bhaghavatam). His plaintive song Cualquier Hombre (Anyone) has poor people calling to God in all different names and "not asking for leftovers."


1. Examine that heart of yours
As you look for the love
   on your high shelf
Past the pleasure and passion
   for your own self
For the love that’s reaching
   someone else

Chorus: Seek out the love in you
And find the joy that comes to those who care
Seek out the love in you
It only grows whenever it is shared

2. Your heart’s a chameleon
Ever open to change
    like any flower
Spreading out for the sun,
    petals bursting with power
To be love that’s reaching
   someone else

8. When the Spirit Says Do (3:36)
Trad. African-American Spiritual
arr. Mark Freundt

This was one of the songs that was used during the Civil Rights Era at virtually every demonstration, mass meeting of activists, and march in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Singing songs helped give the activists strength and a sense of self. For more detailed information, you may explore the book, When the Spirit Says Sing!: The Role of Freedom Songs in the Civil Rights Movement, written by Kerran L. Sanger. Mark Freundt’s arrangement takes the song in a decidedly different direction than the original, picking up the tempo and putting it into a 1920’s jazz idiom.

9. In My Quiet Sorrow (2:36)
Words & Music: Jeannie Gagné
© 2004 Jeannie Gagné
Solo: Jennifer Connally

Written to honor “those things which are not expressed, kept within the silence of our hearts.” Each week during the Joys and Concerns portion of the UU Society’s worship service where Ms. Gagné is Music Director (Middleboro, MA), congregants come forward to light a candle and say a few words, or, often they choose to be silent. This song was written to acknowledge the concerns or sorrows in our hearts that sometimes go unexpressed—with a prayer for support, love, and guidance. We all have times in our lives that are challenging; sometimes we need to ask for help, but we don’t know quite how or when. Sometimes we pray. This hymn can also be sung as a solo with interpretation on the melody. The composer approaches the melody with interpretation after establishing it in the first verse. Her recording of In My Quiet Sorrow can be downloaded and is on her latest CD, Must Be Love, released Spring 2005. (See Jeannie Gagne's website for purchase information.)

10. There's a River Flowin' in My Soul (3:57)
Words & Music: Rose Sanders
arr. Kenny Smith
Solo: Jason Shelton

Rose Sanders is a civil rights attorney, education activist, songwriter, and playwright living in Selma, AL. She is the mother of three children. Ms. Sanders was Alabama’s first African American woman judge. She has co-founded many organizations which work to protect children.

11. Székely Áldás (2:03)
Words: Trad. Transylvanian; Music: Elizabeth Norton
© 2002 Elizabeth Norton

A traditional Hungarian blessing, known in Transylvania as the Házi Áldás, or “House Blessing.” This setting of the blessing is a “partner song” with the text in Hungarian in one part and in English in the other part. It was composed for the choir of First Parish in Concord, MA on the occasion of their Musical Pilgrimage to Transylvania in the summer of 2002. The song is dedicated to Concord’s partner congregation in Székelykeresztúr and to the musical pilgrims of First Parish in Concord.

12. Building a New Way (2:34)
Words & Music: Martha Sandefer
© 1986 Martha Sandefer
arr. Jim Scott

Martha Sandefer has performed many genres of music in a wide variety of settings for nearly thirty years. She recorded, sung, and played with Trapezoid, the folk and contemporary acoustic ensemble. She is currently a member of the Work ‘o the Weavers quartet. Martha is interested in folk music from around the world and has been studying frame drums and performing in concert with percussionist Glen Velez. She is currently working toward a Master's degree in Music Education with a focus on pedagogy at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, CT.

13. When Will the Fighting Cease? (1:33)
Words: Nick Page and Nita Penfold; Music: Melchior Franck (c. 1579-1639)
© 2002 Nick Page

These words were written as a reaction to the buildup of the invasion of Iraq. Nick Page is a Boston-based song leader, composer, writer, and workshop leader. Nick’s riveting style of song leading captivates people of all ages and musical backgrounds including the ardent non-singers (who find themselves joining in most often simply because it’s not about performance or making judgments—it’s about compassion and celebration.) In addition to his song leading, Nick is a composer with choral music published by Boosey & Hawkes and World Music Press. He is an educator and writer who is dedicated to teaching people of all ages that they are capable of great miracles through the simple, yet powerful, act of singing. His book Sing and Shine On, An Innovative Guide to Leading Multicultural Song is published by World Music Press, and his book Music As a Way of Knowing, which is part of a series of books on how to use the arts to teach all subjects, is published by Stenhouse. Nick directs the two hundred voice Mystic Chorale of Boston. His website is a good resource for those interested in multicultural music.

14. Come and Go With Me (3:08)
Trad. African-American Spiritual
arr. Kenny Smith
Solo: Tony Jackson

This traditional song was widely-sung during the Civil Rights movement. A great version can be heard on Bernice Johnson Reagon’s 1971 album, Harmony One (a precursor to Sweet Honey in the Rock). Other artists who have recorded the song include Shirley Ceasar and Peter, Paul & Mary.

15. How Could Anyone? (1:16)
Words & Music: Libby Roderick
© 1988 Libby Roderick Music (BMI)

This song by Alaskan singer, Libby Roderick, was composed in response to a friend in pain. It has been heard around the world, translated into many languages, and is reprinted in many books. The simple folk tune and words have been embraced by people with many types of pain, from AIDS orphans to cancer survivors and prisoners. The lyrics have been used for healing in many different settings that include: churches, hospitals, shelters, rallies, weddings, and funerals.


FUUN Choir, led by the Rev. Jason Shelton

Soprano – Leslie Bearden, Debrina Dills, Peg Duthie, Mary Early-Zald, Laura Fott, Patricia Jordan, Jodi McDaniel, Ann Morse, Linda Ramsey, Susan Snyder, Kimberly Spencer

Alto – Julie Adams, Elaine Bailey-Fryd, Eva Close, Jennifer Connally, June Dye, Portia Macmillan, Dariel Mayer, Sara Michaels, Victoria Raschke, Gail Sphar, Dale Rust Waymack

Tenor – Jack Bliek, Brian Carlson, Kyle Elias, Kathleen Harkey, David Martin, Bill Paul, Jason Shelton, Holling Smith-Borne, Laura Dove Stevens, Ron Turner

Bass – Larry Bullock, David Dickinson, Scott Giles, David Haas, John Harkey, Tony Jackson, John Posey, Michael Ray, Jim Seavey, Dick Sphar

Children's Choir

Becca Dedert, Khalila Early-Zald, Hannah Harrison, Jason Keil, Sarah Keil, Caitlin Oden, Joanna Paul, Ana Runnels, Maya Runnels, Grace Sitler, Blake Skelton, Erica Skelton, Jaden Smith-Borne


Julie Adams - cello
Brian Foti - drum set, congas
Michael Hiller - bass (2, 6, 8, 10, 14)
Sara Michaels - flute
Andy Olsen - bass (3, 5, 7, 11)
Jason Shelton - guitars, hand percussion, piano (15)
Carol Skricki - bass (1, 4, 9, 12, 15)
Kenny Smith - piano (2, 6, 8, 10, 14)
Richard Smith - guitar (8)
Susan Snyder - piano (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13)

Produced by Jason Shelton
Recorded by Seth and Sarah Alder
Recorded at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, July/August 2009
Mixed at the Art Institute of Tennessee - Nashville

Art direction: Landon Earps
Cover photo: "Tennessee Country Road" by Richard G. Witham
Choir photo: Alan Leiserson
Kenny Smith photo: Eva Close
Photos used with permission

All arrangements by Jason Shelton, unless otherwise noted
All songs not in the public domain used with permission of their respective copyright holders