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We Lift Up Our Hearts

An intergenerational song of thanks appropriate for church, interfaith or secular occasions
Poet/Lyricist: 
Richard Fewkes

Richard Fewkes’ prayer of thanksgiving rings simple and true, from its very first words: “For the sun and the dawn, which we did not create, we lift up our hearts in thanks.”  This lyrical setting offers the children’s choir a gracious stand-alone melody, with a well-crafted descant for the adults.  Appropriate for intergenerational or combined choirs, in any interfaith setting, at any time of year.

Adults and children may easily learn their parts separately, combining them at a dress rehearsal.

This song is included on the CD, Finally On My Way To Yes, which may be ordered below.

Individual tracks may be downloaded at the following online stores:
iTunes

Item Instrumentation/Voicing Duration Level Audio Peruse Delivery Method (Print vs. Digital) Price Quantity
SEA-021-02 S (unison children's choir), SATB, piano - Choral Score
3' E https://seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/samples/we_lift_up_our_hearts.mp3 Sheet Music $3.00
SEA-021-02DEL S (unison children's choir), SATB, piano - Choral Score
3' E https://seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/samples/we_lift_up_our_hearts.mp3 Licensed PDF $3.00
SEA-CD-01 Finally on My Way to Yes - CD
60' https://seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/finally_on_my_way_to_yes_0.mp3 CD $7.00

We Lift Up Our Hearts

Poem by Richard Fewkes
Adapted by Elizabeth Alexander

For the sun and the dawn which we did not create;
For the moon and the evening which we did not design;
For food which we plant but cannot grow;
For friends and loved ones we have not earned and cannot buy;
For all gifts which come from a source beyond ourselves,
We lift up our hearts in thanks.

For morning bathed in golden light...
For raindrops cool and snowflakes white...
For the darkness that brings on the peaceful night...
For all the many sleeping seeds we sow...
For friends and loved ones we have not earned and cannot buy;
For all gifts which come from a source beyond ourselves,
We lift up our hearts in thanks.

Original prayer by Richard Fewkes:
For the sun and the dawn which we did not create;
For the moon and the evening which we did not make;
For food which we plant but cannot grow;
For friends and loved ones we have not earned and cannot buy;
For this gathered company which welcomes us as we are,
          from wherever we have come;
For all our free churches that keep us human
          and encourage us in our quest for beauty, truth, and love;
For all things which come to us as gifts of being from sources beyond ourselves;
Gifts of life and love and friendship
We lift up our hearts in thanks this day.

Composer's Note: 

My family has spoken Richard M. Fewkes' blessing as our table grace for the past 20 years.  This is no small praise, for I had exhaustive criteria for this prayer:  it needed to be simple enough for a young child to learn, beautiful in language and form, and appropriate in the presence of a guest of any faith.  It was a pleasure to set Fewkes words to music, so that I could share his generous sentiment with others.

Performers: 

Premiere: Choirs of First Unitarian Parish of Norwell, MA / Bernadette Nadeau (Norwell, MA)
Bethlehem Regional Festival Choir / Joy Hirokawa. Bethlehem Regional Choral Festival (Bethlehem, PA)
Camerata Singers of Muskegon / Floyd Farmer (Muskegon and Grand Rapids, MI)
Choirs of Community Church of Chapel Hill / Glenn Mehrbach (Chapel Hill, NC)
Choirs of First Congregational Unitarian Church / Ray Bauwens (Harvard, MA)
Choirs of First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church of Forth Worth / Roy Redman (Fort Worth, TX)
Choirs of First Unitarian Church of Ithaca, NY / Elizabeth Alexander (Ithaca, NY)
Choirs of First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR / Mark Slegers (Portland, OR)
Choirs of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Des Moines / Moira Leu (Des Moines, IA)
Choirs of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville / Jason Shelton (Nashville, TN)
Choirs of First Universalist Society of Hartland Four Corners / Patricia Talbot (Hartland Four Corners, VT)
Choirs of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis / Susan Peck (Corvallis, OR)
Choirs of Unitarian Church of Charleston / Martha Welch (Charleston, SC)
Choirs of Unitarian Society of Hartford / Mattie Banzhaf (Hartford, CT)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte / Donna Fisher (Charlotte, NC)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene, OR / Tom Sears (Eugene, OR)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah / Kelly Blackmarr Carlile (Savannah, GA)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville / Ruth Lewis. Alternative Thanksgiving Celebration (Gainesville, FL)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield / Elizabeth Weber (Springfield, MA)
Choirs of Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento / Mike Reynolds (Sacramento, CA)
Choirs of Unity Church-Unitarian of Saint Paul / Ruth Palmer (St. Paul, MN)
Potomac School Choruses / Jerry Rich (Arlington, VA)
Saint Paul Vocal Forum / Karin Barrett (Roseville and Columbia Heights, MN)
South Hadley Chorale and Children's Chorus / Jonathan Harvey (South Hadley, MA)

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