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
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!

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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

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.                    

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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.) 

Last Words

Last Words

Voicing: SATB divisi, with octet
Accompaniment:  a cappella

Text:

Why have you, God, forsaken me?
(Mark 15:34)           
Father, forgive. They know not what they do
(Luke 23:34)
Today you will be with me in paradise.
(Luke 23:34)
Woman, behold your son.
(John 19:26)
I thirst.
(John 19:28)             
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
(Luke 23:46)
It is finished.
(John 19:30) 
                                           

Notes:

Spread among the three Gospel crucifixion stories are seven evocative statements by Jesus, collectively known as the Seven Last Words of Christ.  In this piece, these statements are set using a blend of English and Latin text--the combination designed to evoke a sense of timelessness.  The use of an octet within the larger choir serves to reinforce the personal, intimate nature of these words.  Harmonically, the piece seeks to capture the inherent tension and drama of the story as told in the Gospels.

Studio Recording:  Matthew Curtis and Choral Tracks studio recording

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

Kyle Pederson (2015)

Voicing: SATB with divisi
Accompaniment:  a cappella, optional clarinet

Text:

In the beginning.  
In the beginning, God. 
In the beginning, God moved.

And then God spoke.  
God spoke creation into being. 
And of the new creation, God declared it good. 

Good were the earth and the waters.
Good were the evening and the day.
Good were the living things that first drew breath.
Good were the creatures made in God's image.

And in the beginning was the Word.  
The Word would become flesh and dwell among us.

In Him was light.  In Him was life.  
The light was given for us; it overcame the darkness. 

In Him was grace and truth. 
And we have seen his glory. 

Emmanuel. 
In the beginning.  
In the beginning, God.

Notes:

Lyrically, this piece seeks to bridge the Old and New Testament stories of creation.  

Musically, the piece establishes a deliberate cadence and pacing--symbolizing the centrality of God in the beginning--and then gradually adds elements of the creation story with increasing movement and complexity.  Intentional pauses at the end of most measures throughout the piece add weight to the text and help establish a rhythm of the creative process.  The free-flowing clarinet accompaniment (optional) symbolizes the creative movement and spirit that blows through all of creation.

Five Solas

Five Solas 

Voicing: SATB with alto and soprano soloists
Accompaniment:  a cappella

Text:

Credo in fidem solam, pensito
Credo in solam gratiam, meditor
Credo in Christum solum
Credo in solam scripturam
Deo soli gloria

Approximate translation:

Faith alone. Grace alone. Christ alone. Word alone. 
To God alone be the glory. I ponder all this in my heart.

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Notes:
2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation.  The "Five Solas" are five Latin phrases that emerged over the course of that Reformation, and are (summary) principles of that history-defining movement.  This piece seeks to evoke a bit of the ancient vibe associated with these phrases, integrating a recurring chant-like mantra throughout.  At the same time, the piece seeks to capture a sense of modernity with the modern chord progressions and harmonic suspensions.  In this way, the piece seeks to bridge the ancient and contemporary--and affirm the power of these timeless, credal beliefs.

Audio Recording:  Matthew Curtis and Choral Tracks studio recording

Can We Sing the Darkness to Light

Can We Sing the Darkness to Light

Kyle Pederson (2016)

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment:  Piano

Text:

What if instead of more violence
We let our weapons fall silent?
No more revenge or retribution
No more war or persecution.

It could be beautiful.

What if instead of our judgment
We soften our hearts that have hardened?
Instead of certainty and pride
We love and sacrifice.

It could be beautiful.

Can we see the other as our brother?
Can we sing the darkness to light?
Sounding chords of compassion and grace
Set the swords of judgement aside

Let mercy's eyes
See the other human face.

Notes:
The text invites the listener to imagine a world without weapons or war--where the human experience is defined not through continued judgment of others, but through the lens of mercy and compassion.  It could be beautiful. 

Recording Choir:  David Ostenso Moore directing the First Readings Project

Video Courtesy St. Olaf College. Used By Permission

Let All with Life and Breath

Let All with Life and Breath

Kyle Pederson (2015)

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano, with optional narration during introduction

Text: Based on Psalm 150 and Isaiah 43

Let all with life and breath come praise the Lord.
Alleluia!

"I have called your name.
I have called you mine.
When you walk through waters deep
I will lift you high.
When you walk through fire
Flames shall not consume nor burn you.
I will gather east and west and north and south,
All peoples and nations;
All my sons and daughters from the corners of the earth
Lift your voice."

Let all with life and breath come praise the Lord--
Alleluia!

 

Notes:
Composed for an exiled Hebrew nation, Isaiah speaks a powerful and poetic word of hope and promise. The free-flowing piano accompaniment in this musical setting represents the movement of God’s spirit-- stirring and moving throughout creation—reminding us who and Whose we are.

Recording Choir: David Ostenso Moore directing the First Readings Project
Audio Note: Audio will not match the score precisely (a few voicing and text revisions since recording)

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter 

Kyle Pederson (2016)

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment:  Piano

Text:

Into the pall of winter's day
when dark descends and daylight fades
Into the cold of wint'ry night
When breath will hang as heavy ice
Into the bleak December land
where earth is fixed--and frozen stands
Into a world of dark and gloom
A child will come in manger soon

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow

In the bleak mid-winter
long ago(C. Rossetti) 

Into the bleak of my own soul
You gently lay a seed to grow
And soon the seed becomes a tree
that offers shade through Christ in me
What right should I share in this gift
of perfect love, Who was and is--
No right at all, but simply grace
Your seed turned tree--now holy space

Come quickly, come, Oh Spirit breath
And all creation may you bless
Our mangers wait--just wood and dust
Oh Spirit breathe--enliven us
Even the heav'ns cannot contain
The hope and joy which has a name
Into our manger hearts we gaze
Where God in flesh has now been laid. 

In the bleak midwinter,
Christ, Emmanuel.

Notes:
This piece pairs the iconic melody of Gustav Holst's In the Bleak Midwinter with a lesser known, but equally beautiful melody by Bruce Becker, originally set to the text of The Tree of Life.  In this arrangement, the composer weaves both melodies together, and integrates Christina Rossetti's classic text with newly crafted lyrics speaking to the anticipation and meaning of Christmas.

Audio Recording Note:  “Matthew Curtis and Choral Tracks studio recording” 

How Sweet the Sound

How Sweet the Sound

Kyle Pederson (2016)


Voicing: SATB divisi, with male soloist
Accompaniment: a cappella
Text:

I found myself in trouble
I could not sing, oh I was wallowing
when I found myself in trouble.
I got no one left to blame
How could I sing when I was wallowing?

I got no one left to blame.
I hung my head in shame
How could I sing, oh I was wallowing
As I hung my head in shame.

Grace on grace we have all received
when the Son sets you free
you are free indeed.

Rise and walk,
hang your head no more
when the Son sets you free
you are free indeed.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound--
saved a soul like me.

I am covered by His grace.
How sweet the sound.

 

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Notes:

This spiritual witnesses to soul-freeing grace. The soloist and choir affirm that no trouble, no shame, no valley is too deep for the healing gift and power of grace. The text pairs the core message of Newton's "Amazing Grace" with elements of the Gospel of John, and brings them to life in this thrilling musical setting.

Recording Choir: David Ostenso Moore directing the First Readings Project
Audio Note: Audio will not match the score precisely (a few voicing and text revisions since recording)

Christ, Be Born in Us v

Christ, Be Born In Us

Kyle Pederson (2015)

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment:  Piano

Text:

Christ, be born in us--
born into our world.
Birth a new beginning, 
peace in all the earth.

Move now among your people--
bid us to your truth.
Reconcile the nations; 
join them all in you.

Christ, be born in us--
born into our hearts.
Heal and piece together
what life has torn apart.

Move now among your people--
bid us to your truth.
Speak light into our darkness;
join us all in you.

Come in spirit, come in truth
be born within, be born anew.

Christ, be born in all--
radiate creation.

Summon the earth you fashioned,
breathe your life in us again.

Join our song together
in perfect unison--
unite our voice together;
Christ, join us together;

Join us all in you.

Awards/Recognition:
First place, International Lutheran Youth Choir Choral Composition Contest, 2015


The text of this piece was inspired by a conviction that the deepest meanings of Christmas are alive and meaningful throughout the year…in April, July, and of course, late December. At heart, the text is a prayer; we pray that Christ be born into our hearts, into our world, and into the entire creation each and every day. We pray that God’s loving, redemptive power radiate through all that God has made, and that all people and nations may be joined together.

Recording Choir:  David Ostenso Moore directing the First Readings Project
Audio Note: Audio will not match the score precisely (a few voicing and text revisions since recording)

Psallite

Psallite

Kyle Pederson (2015)

Voicing: SSAA
Accompaniment:  a cappella

Text: Blend of Latin and English text:

Sing!
Sing together, sing as one;
Sing for life, for love, for light,
Sing for friends who stay your side;
Sing for tears, sing for joy, 
Sing for hope, sing for home; 
Sing for moon and sun that shine,
Sing for touch and sing for time;
Sing
 

1st place, Little Singers of Armenia competition (2015/16)

STARS

STARS

Voicing: SATB with occasional divisi
Accompaniment:  a cappella

Text:

Legacies of light
Ages ago you spun light into the bleak
Ancient light lands in tonight’s sky
Ancient light falls on my eye
And I?
A star
Sacred stellar dust casting light out through time
In whose sky will my light fall?
-Kyle Pederson (2015)

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AWARDS/RECOGNITION:
  • Second place in the 2016 Cerddorion Ensemble (NYC) Emerging Composer Competition
  • Featured in commercially released New Choral Series Vol II, produced by Ablaze Records

Stars was born out of a life-long fascination with the night sky, and the text is a meditation on the interconnectedness of creation.  The light from distant stars takes eons to reach our eyes, connecting us with an ancient past.  And many elements that comprise our bodies were cast out of stars millions upon millions of years ago.  Since we are the “stuff of stars,” where will we cast our own light?  Whose world will we impact? Harmonically, the piece seeks to evoke the vastness and mystery of space, while simultaneously capturing the intimacy of connection.