Heartbeat

Heartbeat

Kyle Pederson (2019)


Voicing: SATB with divisi
Accompaniment: piano, djembe (or similar), and optional bass drum

English text:
Before you say the thing you're thinking to say,
before you give the look you gave yesterday,
remember....he's got a heartbeat. 

They and us, her and him,
you and me, we and them,
remember...all have a heartbeat. 

Red or blue, black or white, 
no matter who, just like you...
all have a heartbeat. 

If you would turn your head and take a good look,
if you could stand in her shoes right where she stood, 
you'd remember....she's got a heartbeat.

All creeds, all shapes, all sizes,
none of these is what defines us,
but what binds us...
is in our heartbeat.

Shona text and translation:

We all have a heart beat 
Isu tose tine kushaya mwoyo

We share the same color of blood
Isu takabuda ropa rakafanana

We all are one race, the human race
Isu tose tiri rudzi rumwe, rudzi rwevanhu.

And together we are strong.
Uye pamwe isu tine samba

Notes:

I am indebted to the members of the University of Pretoria Youth Choir (South Africa) for the Shona lyrics they crafted for the "gospel drive" section.  Shona is one of the main languages spoken in Zimbabwe, and the juxtaposition of English and Shona text reinforces the message that no matter our politics, skin color, religion, or other characteristic-- at heart, we are one.

Come By Here

Come By Here

Kyle Pederson (2019)


Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano


Music and Text:

Adaptation of the music and text of Kumbaya


Notes:

A re-imagining of this classic melody and text, with free flowing piano accompaniment throughout. A very accessible piece, appropriate for both church or secular settings.

If You Want to Hold My Hand

If You Want to Hold My Hand

Kyle Pederson (2019)


Voicing: SATB with optional sol
Accompaniment: piano and/or guitar


Text:

"If you want to hold my hand," said the four year old girl to her four year old friend,
"I'm gonna hold it for as long as I can--maybe forever--if forever never ends. 
Would that be okay?" 

"If you want to hold my hand," said the teenage boy to his sweetheart and friend,
"I just might hold it for as long as I can--maybe forever--if forever never ends. 
Would that be okay?"

"If you want to hold my hands," said the bride-to-be to her waiting man,
"I promise I will hold them for as long as I can, and a promise is forever and it never ever ends. 
Would that be okay?"


"If you want to hold my hand," said the old, old woman to the old, old man,
"I've held your hand for the forever we've had, and I'll keep on holding for as long as I can.
Would that be okay?"

Notes:

This piece explores the simple, but incredibly powerful, act of holding someone's hand. The introductory two measures can be cycled as choir members read vignettes about what holding a hand means to them, or as poetry or other literature about hands and hand holding is read. 

This piece pairs beautifully with Hands Are Knockin' (available from Santa Barbara Music Publishers).

The piece can be performed with any combination of piano and guitar (together or exclusively). 

Way Down in Bethlehem

Way Down in Bethlehem

Kyle Pederson (2019)


Voicing: 2 part
Accompaniment: piano
Commissioning Choir: Sioux Falls Children's Choir, directed by Rosalind Hofer


Text:

Mary had a baby, oh my Lord,
way down in Bethlehem;
She named the baby Jesus, oh my Lord,
way down in Bethlehem;
He will bring the nations peace and love,
and it starts down in Bethlehem.

The inn was full but there's a stable in town;
The shepherds and the angels danced all around;
The wisemen came and laid their gifts on the ground;
Way down in Bethlehem.

So keep your voices down and whisper low;
Tread lightly and get on your tip toes;
The baby's sleeping in the straw below;
Way down in Bethlehem.

That's how it happened,
that's how it went down;
and we're invited to spread it around,
to tell the story how Jesus was born;
Way down in Bethlehem.

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Notes:

So many strong elements: a memorable melodic line with an accessible harmony part for developing voices, a bluesy piano accompaniment, a whispered section for dramatic emphasis, and all-around fun.  

Remember the Children

Remember the Children


Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano and drum
Text: Kyle Pederson

Mama hears you cryin’ as you try to keep it inside,
as you want to wear a brave face to the world.
Mama hears you prayin’ as you say goodnight and lay there,
as you bare your soul to God and seek your place in this world.
Papa hears you playin’ when you think no one’s payin’ attention,
when there is no mention of tears, and you’re free to laugh.
Papa sees you dreamin’ of a new day of freedom
for a new way of being a child in this world.

Notes:

Explore the hopes and dreams we all share for the youngest in our midst. Remember the Children presents a seamless blend of pop ballad and gospel groove, with both English and Swahili text. Accessible piece for high school or college choirs, arching solo lines for both a male and female singer, and a rockin’ piano and drum accompaniment.

Commissioned and premiered by Choral Arts Initiative at the CAI Premiere Project Festival in 2018.

Featured on the Choral Arts Initiative Series on MusicSpoke.

 


There’s Gonna Be a Homecomin’

There’s Gonna Be a Homecomin’


Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano
Text: Kyle Pederson

There’s gonna be a homecomin’
Oh, I’m headin’ home
To the people and the places that I know
Gonna have me a homecomin’
It’s where I wanna be
Where the places and the people all know me

Somewhere that I can be fully free
No front and no façade, where I can just be me

Ain’t no jealousy, ain’t no judgin’ found
Just whole-hearted love, and hope to go around


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This piece was inspired by an episode of the television show, Queer Eye (Season 2, Episode 1).  In this episode, a young man had recently come out as gay, and was reluctant to return to his small hometown, understandably nervous that the people he grew up with (and others) would be less than welcoming and affirming.  The show explores how an entire community came together to walk alongside this man (and his mother), surrounding them with love, grace, and acceptance. This was a homecoming in all the best ways—and when the credits began to roll I immediately went to the piano to start noodling. This piece affirms the power of any community (church, school, town) to surround its members with love and be a voice and force for wholeness, reconciliation, and hope.


Since I Laid My Burden Down

Since I Laid My Burden Down


Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano
Text: traditional, adapted by Kyle Pederson

Glory hallelujah, since I laid my burden down
I have joy now like a fountain
I have joy deep in my soul
I have joy now like a fountain
Since I laid my burden down.

I have peace now, like a river
I have peace deep in my soul
I have peace now like a river
Since I laid my burden down.


Full-on fun, mashing up Glory Hallelujah with the chorus to Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.  Includes an exciting piano accompaniment—with everything building to an epic finish.  Ideal as a concert closer.


Exsultate, Jubilate!

Exsultate, Jubilate!


Voicing:
Arrangement for SATB
Arrangement for SSAA

Accompaniment: piano
Text: Kyle Pederson

Exsultate, jubilate!   Exsultate Deo, omnis terra!   (Rejoice and shout to God, all the land!)
For the gift of breath in our lungs,
For waking our spirit when morning comes;
For your light which illumines our night,
For shaking the darkness away with your Son;
Give us voice the skies may sound,
And give us voice to shake the ground; Alleluias fill the air, for joy has chased away despair.
Shouts of joy now shape our prayer.


Note: Digital Download will include both arrangements of the piece

 
 

Lively and rhythmic, with a mix of English and Latin text.  Appropriate for sacred and secular environments. Arrangements available for SATB and SSAA.


Hands are Knockin’

Hands are Knockin’

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano and Drums
Text:  Kyle Pederson

Text/Translation:

Naftahhu athhanana, Alhamdulillah  
Naftahhu qulubana, Alhamdulillah   
Namuddu aydeeyana, Alhamdulillah

We open our minds, thanks to God (Alleluia)
We open our hearts, thanks to God (Alleluia)
We reach out our hands, thanks to God (Alleluia)

Additional text:

Hands are Knockin’
Brother, will you let them in?
Sister, will you let them in?

Notes: A Blessing of the Hands ceremony prior to the start of the school year proved to be a moving experience bringing to light the incredible power of our hands—hands that can heal, support, comfort, and give, and also hands that can just as easily hurt or push away. It is my hope that this piece might make those who experience it become more deeply committed to using their hands to offer hope and wholeness in the world.

About the piece: Hands are Knockin' was born from a collaborative effort with the Kindred Chamber Choir and their director, Melanie Brink, and staff members of the The American International School of Muscat (TAISM). The piece was commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school's opening, and was premiered at the 16th annual TAISM Festival of Choirs in the Sultanate of Oman. Because the school and festival are nestled in the heart of the Middle East in Oman, where Arabic is the official language, it seemed appropriate to incorporate several beautiful Arabic phrases throughout. Alhamdulillah is a very common expression in Arabic and, like alleluia, used frequently to verbalize joy or gratitude in many situations. The juxtaposition of English and Arabic text throughout the piece is intended to reinforce the universality of the message—an invitation to all to open our minds, hearts and hands to each other.

Bringers of Noise

Bringers of Noise


Voicing:

*Arrangement for Men’s Chorus (TB)
*Arrangement for Middle Level voices

Accompaniment: Piano and drum
Text: Kyle Pederson

The Oracle at Draydok murmered these words before falling silent. Faint echoes can still be heard rumbling in the cavernous depths of Mount Olympus herself.

sheevah cheenak kahyee mah zano mway
shando kaizah molvum kya hu saba
kyalah sana hya


Note: Your download will include both versions of the piece

 
 

Notes: Features drumming, narration, vocal percussion, driving piano accompaniment, and a whole lotta awesome. Lends itself to a variety of choreography/story-telling possibilities. Super accessible and entirely unique.

Opening narration:

In the time before time, all was silent. Hushed tones, soft rains, still waters.  Sounds muted. Then WE arrived. We brought the clap of the thunder. We brought the pound of the wave. We exploded the mountain top.  We crushed the ground under the feet of beasts. You hear a blast? We are there. You hear a howl? We are there. You hear a rumble and a roar? We are there.  We are….the Bringers of Noise!


Give me Oil in My Lamp

Give Me Oil in My Lamp


Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano
Text: traditional, adapted by Kyle Pederson

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin’
Give me oil in my lamp I pray
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin’
Keep me burnin’ ‘til the break of day

And when the oil runs low, come in, Lord, and fill it up high
And when my lamp runs dry, come in, Lord, and fill it with oil

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singin’
Give me joy in my heart, I pray
Give me joy in my heart, keep me singin’
Keep me singin’ ‘til the break of day

And when the joy runs low, come in, Lord, and fill it up high
And when my lamp runs dry, come in, Lord, and fill it with oil

Give me peace in my soul, keep me restin’
Give me peace in my soul I pray
Give me peace in my soul, keep me restin’
Keep me restin’ ‘til the break of day

And when the peace runs low, come in, Lord, and fill it up high
And when my lamp runs dry, come in, Lord, and fill it with oil

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Notes: This arrangement is a mash-up of two iconic melodies—Give Me Oil In My Lamp and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot—with a rockin’ piano accompaniment.  Pure fun for the choir, accompanist, and audience.


I Need Thee Every Hour

I Need Thee Every Hour


Voicing: SATB with optional solo
Accompaniment: a cappella
Text: Annie Hawks (1835-1918)

I Need thee every hour, most gracious Lord
No tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee every hour, stay thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when thou are nigh

I need thee, oh, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my Savior,
I come to thee.
I need thee every hour, in joy or in pain.
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need thee every hour, most holy one.
Oh make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.

I need thee, oh, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my Savior,
I come to thee. 

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Were You There

Were You There

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano
Text: traditional

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano and optional cello
Text: Traditional

Text:

Veni, veni, Rex Gentium
Veni, Redemptor omnium
Ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscious.
Gaude, Emmanuel.
Nascetur prote Israel, Emmanuel. 

Translation:  

O Come, Desire of Nations
Bind in one the hearts of all mankind,
Bid every strife and quarrel cease,
And fill the world with heaven’s peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O, Israel.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here;
Until the Son of god appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O, Israel.

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NOTES: This arrangement melds the traditional melody, sung in English, with a new chant-like melody, sung in Latin.  

Repeat the Joy

Repeat the Joy

Voicing: SATB or SSA
Accompaniment: Piano
Text: Kyle Pederson

Text:

Let there be joy; sound joy, live joy, repeat the joy!
Put away your sadness,
put away your hate;
Put away the problems that you make that steal your joy. 

Have hope, be peace,
give grace, live love,
and let there be joy.

Repeat your sounding joy; sing it out, give it out, live it out!

Note: Your digital download will include both arrangements of the piece

 
 

NOTES: Commissioned by Beau Chant and premiered at the 2017 MN-ACDA convention, this piece has drive, rhythm, a rockin’ piano accompaniment, and a whole lotta joy. 

I'm Going Home

I'm Going Home

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Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano
Text:  Kyle Pederson

Text:

There is no mountain whose peaks will brush the sky,
no sweeping valleys unwinding beyond the eye,
no towering white cliffs who pierce the steely sea,
no frosted forest unveiling snow on evergreen;

But there is kindness waiting at the door--eyes wide, I am known.
Faithful friends grant mercies of love,
I am born once more. 

And there's a meadow where shadows rise and fall,
memories were cast--etched in paths worn on the grassy pall;
And there's an old brook who babbles when I near,
whispers of stones thrown while dreaming on an evening clear;

There is kindness waiting at the door--eyes wide, I am known.
Faithful friends grant mercies of love,
I am born once more.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano
Text: W.B. Sandys, adapted by Kyle Pederson

Text:

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ the avior was born on Christmas day;
To save us all from satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray;
O, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O, tiding of comfort and joy. 

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessed babe was born;
And laid within a manger upon this blessed morn;
Of which his mother did nothing take in scorn.
O, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O, tiding of comfort and joy. 

God rest all you who seek for life, go seek and ye shall find.
For on this day a savior is born to humankind.
His life he’ll give so you can live where chains no longer bind.
O, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O, tiding of comfort and joy. 

“Fear not!” said the angel, “Let nothing you affright,
this day is born a savior to Mary, pure and bright!
To free all those who trust in Him from satan’s pow’r and might.”
O, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O, tiding of comfort and joy. 

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I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano and optional cello and flute
Text: Original lyrics by Horatio Bonar (b.1808)
Additional lyrics by Kyle Pederson

Text:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
In me your soul will find its peace, in me you draw each breath.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary and so worn;
I found in him a resting place,
where peace and hope are born. 

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold I freely give; 
I am the living water, quench your thirst, come drink and live.” 
I came to Jesus and I drank of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul renewed, and now I live in Him.

Speak now, Spirit. 

I hear the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light; 
look unto me and night will fade,
and all your mornings rise.” 
I come to Jesus and I find in him
my star, my sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk
‘til trav’ling days are done. 

I hear the voice of Jesus say, 
“I am life, I am light, I am love;
now come and live.” 

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Amen/This is My Father's World

Amen/This is My Father's World

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano and optional flute
Text: 
Amen: additional lyrics by Kyle Pederson
This is My Father's World: lyrics by Maltbie Babcock

Text:

In the morning when I rise,
at the evening’s last light and all through the deep night,
Amen

Through joy and jubilation,
through trial and tribulation,
Let all creation sing,
“Amen.”

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings
and ‘round me rings the music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,
He shines in all that’s fair; 
in the rustling grass
I hear him pass,
he speaks to me everywhere. 

This is my Father’s world,
oh let me ne’er forget; 
That though the wrong
seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet. 

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Notes:

This mash-up of two popular melodies proclaims that God works for good—in the good, the bad, and the in between, God’s spirit works for healing and wholeness. 

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: piano and electric guitar
Text: Martin Luther, adapted by Kyle Pederson

Text:

A Mighty Fortress is our God, a refuge never failing. 
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal winds prevailing.
For still our spirit’s foes doth seek to work us woe;
They lure with pow’r so great, with judgment and with hate;
Shield us e’er, guard us as Thy own.

If we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who this may be? Christ Jesus it is He. 
Emmanuel His name, from age to age the same;
Who was, Who is, Who e’er shall be. 

Thy Word above all earthly pow’r; Thy Love above all earthly pow’r;
Thy Hope above all earthly pow’r; My God above all earthly pow’r.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also.
The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still. 
The Kingdom is forever.                    

Notes:

This arrangement is a re-imagining of Martin Luther’s iconic melody. New harmonies and ambient electric guitar accompaniment create an ancient/modern feel giving new life to this classic hymn.  (A piano-only accompaniment is also available.)