Sunday Morning Worship Services are Available Online!

Visitor Info

News

Sunday’s Worship Music

March 15, 2020

The Voluntary
Prelude for the Left Hand, op. 9, no. 1 – Alexander Scriabin
Nicholas Osborne, piano

At the Offering
Sisi ni moja  – Jacob Naverud
Deborah Hollis, piano
Reid Barker, percussion

THIS MORNING’S ANTHEM: The original voicing of Sisi ni moja was commissioned in 2015 for the Michigan State University Children & Youth Choirs by their director, Kyle Zeuch, to celebrate unity and community through cultures. This piece was written specifically for their world-music concert theme, “We are One.” It was requested to be similar in style to my arrangement of the Kenyan song “Jambo,” and was commissioned by the director for SA(T)B choir, piano, and djembe. I wanted to create an uplifting, hopeful song that had a modern, popular-style vibe and dealt with the choir’s theme of unity and one-ness. Since the piece was intended to represent all people and all cultures, I sought to write a text that would reflect just that. I was teaching high school at the time, and a student in one of my choirs was from Kenya. I asked her to assist me with a Swahili phrase that I could combine with a new original text, which would translate specifically to “We are One.” Though not a common Swahili phrase, we came up with “Sisi ni moja,” pronounced “Moh-Jah” with a hard “J”. “Heja” (pronounced “hey-yah”) is a non-word with no literal meaning, and does not represent any specific culture. It is given a more instrumental treatment in the chorus, acting as a joyful, declamatory backdrop to the song’s message of unity. This “celebratory chant” mirrors the piano and djembe’s heavy rhythmic influence, energizing and driving the song forward. When I wrote Sisi Ni Moja I specifically chose chord progressions that would be familiar to the ear of both the audience and the singers performing. These popular music chord progressions, coupled with the speech driven rhythms and repetition in the piano, allow listeners to feel an instant connection to the music and focus on the message of the text.

-Jacob Narverud (2018)

* .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .    * .