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Bret Hesla | Love's Wide Embrace

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Folk: Progressive Folk Spiritual: Hymns Moods: Type: Vocal
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Love's Wide Embrace

by Bret Hesla

Progressive songs/hymns for faith communities to sing together on themes of justice, community, inclusion, welcome.
Genre: Folk: Progressive Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Our Saviour's Rouser
1:17 $0.99
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2. Love's Wide Embrace
3:02 $0.99
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3. This Lovely Food
3:11 $0.99
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4. Come Rest in the Arms of Love
2:09 $0.99
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5. This Is Home
3:06 $0.99
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6. God Has Given Us Each Other
2:02 $0.99
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7. I Say Peace
2:50 $0.99
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8. Bread of Heaven
2:49 $0.99
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9. Dandelion Prayer
1:50 $0.99
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10. Who Can Help but Celebrate
3:03 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
-------Album notes---------
Love's Wide Embrace is a collection of ten songs written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota on the occasion of their 150th anniversary (1869-2019). The themes were gathered in conversation with members of the church, and reflect the mission and key themes of this urban congregation. 

Recorded in Minneapolis Minnesota, November 2019. Recording and Engineering: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan. See individual tracks for musicians.

-----------Track Notes-------------------------------------
Track 1: Our Saviour's Rouser

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Flute: Ray Makeever;
Vocals: Rebekah Moir, Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Cathy Pino, Nate Crary, Paul Andress, Ray Makeever, Chris Tripolino, Bret Hesla

Notes: Track 1. This song was commissioned for the 150th Anniversary of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When I first met with the anniversary committee, I asked what they had in mind for a song they wanted. The first thing they said was, "our mission statement." Now you might think, hmmm, mission statement, kind of dry. But not this one: "we are called nurtured and sent to celebrate, serve and do justice." I got to thinking, what is a mission statement. It's something we all rally around and whole-heartedly buy in to. Which made me think back to my high school fight song. Except here we're committed to nonviolence, so let's call it a rouser. I think every group needs it's own rouser. Schools already have them. Why not churches? Here's ours.

By the way, if you want to sing this in your community, you don't have to be Lutheran.
We are M-E-T-H-O-D-I-S-Ts, or C-A-T-H-O-L-I-C-S, or B-U-D-D-H-I-S-T-S, U-N-I-T-A-R-I-A-Ns, U-N-D-E-C-I-D-E-Ds, P-R-E-S-B-Y-Ter-E-Ns, C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-Ns, etc. No matter how you spell it, the sky's the limit on peacemaking, justice and joy. Let's all get on board.

ps. I managed to get another song out of this same mission statement, Loves Wide Embrace. Different flavor altogether--more of a straight-up hymn.
------------------------------------------------
Track 2: Loves Wide Embrace

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt;
Vocals: Bret Hesla (lead), Rebekah Moir, Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Cathy Pino, Nate Crary, Paul Andress, Ray Makeever, Chris Tripolino

Notes Track 2: This song is based on the mission statement for Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota--"we are called nurtured and sent to celebrate, serve and do justice." Verse Two alludes to the Good Samaritan parable, taking the insight of Dr. Asa Lee of Wesley Theological Seminary, who was teaching at Holden Village when our congregation was there last summer. Dr. Lee, as I heard it, stressed that to find the compassion to work for justice, we need to identify not with the Samaritan nor with the priest, but rather with the injured and robbed victim, the traveler who received the love and help of the Samaritan. When we can notice those experiences in our lives, we can find the will to work for justice, to give as we've received.

This hymn is mainly intended to be sung ]as a congregational song. But you could also perform it as a choir anthem. In which case, you might do: v1 solo, v2: sopranos melody, ATB hum parts, v3: SATB, then instrumental break, with something like flute or cello on the melody, then ending with v1: unison all.
------------------------------------------------
Track 3: This Lovely Food

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla.  All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net,  Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com. 

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Guitar: Tim Gustafson; Percussion: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Vocals: Cathy Pino, Rebekah Moir, Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Nate Crary, Paul Andress, Ray Makeever, Chris Tripolino, Bret Hesla

Notes Track 3: Verse 1 of this song is meant to be used as a post communion canticle. If you use it that way, I like to sing this verse twice (or more). Gratitude, joy, community -- and a little two-step. Verse 2 celebrates lots of specific details of the church for which this song was commissioned, Our Saviour's Lutheran in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The church's old building burned down in 1995, and the new building has a much more modern, open design, including an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows in the sanctuary, facing Chicago Avenue, with all its pedestrians, buses, traffic, and city flavor. It's fun to sing a song that's very specific to your community. Feel free to adapt these v2 images to fit your people and location.

------------------------------------------------
Track 4: Come Rest in the Arms of Love

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Flute: Ray Makeever
Vocals: Ray Makeever (lead), Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Linda Breitag, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Bret Hesla

Notes Track 4: This song was  written on commission for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. It's a repetitive, Taize-like structure, lending itself to prayers, medittative settings. If you do each verse twice, the first by a single voice, and the repeat by the group, you can do it with no printed paper.

Also, of course, you can easily make up some new verses, so please do.

------------------------------------------------
Track 5: This Is Home

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla.  All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net,  Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com. 

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt
Guitar: Bret Hesla
Percussion: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Vocals: Bret Hesla, Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Ray Makeever, Linda Breitag

Notes Track 5: This song is part of a commission series, Love's Wide Embrace, written for a Lutheran congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before doing any songwriting, I did a lot of listening and asking questions. "What's one story you'd like to share that captures something about this congregation and your connection to it?" "What does it feel like to be a part of this church?" "Why are you here?" "Why are we here?"

This song is a collection of some of the responses of people in the congregation. Lots of the answers and observations were about being in community, about being deeply welcomed, but also about being accountable to one another in community. Words like "embraced" and "accepted" and "challenged" kept popping up. Also the word "home".

------------------------------------------------
Track 6: God Has Given Us Each Other

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Harmonica: Bret Hesla;
Vocals: Martha Schwen-Bardwell (lead), Cathy Pino, Rebekah Moir, Nate Crary, Paul Andress, Ray Makeever, Chris Tripolino, Bret Hesla

Notes Track 6: This song is one of a commission series for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Each Sunday morning, the service ends with open time for announcements. Often times someone will come forward to share a pretty difficult personal story, some hardship or sorrow they're going through, or even a confession of some sort. Along with a request for support, and prayers. The silence in the room at these times is itself quite powerful.

As I gathered song ideas and insights from members of the community, it was clear that this type of vulnerability and sharing, and the responses of support and embrace from fellow members, are an important feature of this congregation, and a source of it's strength.

------------------------------------------------
Track 7: I Say Peace

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Guitar: Tim Gustafson;
Vocals: Rebekah Moir, Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Cathy Pino, Nate Crary, Paul Andress, Ray Makeever, Chris Tripolino, Bret Hesla

Notes Track 7: This song was  written on commission for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. When I was gathering ideas for this commission series, one member of the congregation shared this story. "Every time my two-year-old son toddles into the church sanctuary and sees the cross, he says 'Peace.'" It seemed like a great image for a song, and encapsulates something central to this congregation, deeply committed to taking collective action and making lifestyle decisions in line with peacemaking, justice and non-violence.

------------------------------------------------
Track 8: Bread of Heaven:

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Flute: Ray Makeever; Guitar: Bret Hesla
Vocals: Bret Hesla (lead), Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Ray Makeever, Linda Breitag, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Notes Track 8: This song was  written on commission for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. Shortly after I got the commission assignment, we had a Wednesday night conversation so I could gather ideas and themes for the song.  A big roomful of folks gathered to tell stories at their tables, write thoughts and memories down on slips of paper, share some out loud. AT the end of the evening, each table gave me whole stack of handwritten notes.  Then during the following 3-4 weeks, there was an open bowl in the corner of our gathering space, labeled "the big bowl of song ideas," in which folks could keep dropping off little ideas, title ideas, theme ideas, important stories, memories.

Taking this big soup of community input, I stirred it, pondered, sorted, scribbled on it, and tried out dozens of song ideas, finally landing on a few keepers.

One of those little stories turned into this song. One member told that whenever his 2 year old son arrived in the church building and saw the cross, he said "peace".  Somehow that struck me as a good metaphor for this community.  And a good foundation for a song.  

------------------------------------------------
Track 9: Dandelion Prayer

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Guitar: Bret Hesla, Piano: Tom Witt
Vocals: Bret Hesla (lead), Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Ray Makeever, Linda Breitag, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Notes Track 9: This song was  written on commission for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. I've heard it said that the challenge of writing lyrics for hymns is like taking PhD concepts and putting them in language a 5-year-old can understand. So I listen to our pastor's children's sermons, and the simple repeat-after-me prayers that they lead to close each time. The core of this song springs from one of those. I've added a little line dance in the recording, that would work for a group arranged in rows, although if you had space, a little cupid shuffle macarena type choreography would be perfect.

------------------------------------------------
Track 10: Who Can Help But Celebrate?

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
Written on commission for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
© 2019 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com.

Recording:
Piano: Tom Witt; Guitar: Bret Hesla, Percussion: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Fiddle: Linda Breitag
Vocals: Martha Schwen-Bardwell, Ray Makeever, Linda Breitag, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Bret Hesla

Notes Track 10: This song was  written on commission for my home congregation, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. It combines two key themes for this community: celebration and care of the earth. Located in the middle of a large metropolitan area, it's important - and challenging--to find ways to live sustainably and be connected to the earth. We're wrestling with this challenge as we move into the next 150 years.

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