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Going Global

If you know me, you know that I have an abiding love of music from other cultures. In my early years, I devoured albums like Juluka’s Scatterlings, learned songs in Austrian dialect, and joined an African drumming ensemble.

Later, I turned my attention to global hymnody, editing the collection Global Songs for Worship, which included many songs that had never been published before. Since then, I have transcribed, arranged, and translated songs from Korea, Pakistan, Brazil, Croatia, and Latin America.

A lifetime in global music has led me to my latest venture: The Holland Symphony Orchestra has commissioned me to arrange and orchestrate four songs for their Music Unites Us initiative. I’ll be working with a Vietnamese Idol winner, a Ugandan multi-instrumentalist, a Ukrainian bayan (accordion) virtuoso, and a band of Mexican brothers who write songs in the Cumbia style. I’m excited, to say the least.

While you can find many of these songs in hymnals such as Lift Up Your Hearts, Glory to God, Voices Together, and Santo, Santo, Santo, others appear only at Here is a short list of favorites:

All of these are great songs that are easy to learn in western congregations. I hope they lead you deeper into singing more broadly in your worship services.

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Last Minute Christmas Shopping

One of the things I like most about running Greg Scheer Music is the relationship I have with all of you. You’ve probably noticed that I try to send a personal note to each person who downloads music from my site. (I’d bet Chris Tomlin can’t say that!) Even more fun is when I get notes from you, letting me know how you used a particular piece, what a song meant to you, or asking for a resource you didn’t find.

It was just these types of interactions that led to a few new items you might want to check out for some last minute Advent and Christmas ideas:

Stephen wrote me to say he liked my new arrangement of “Once in Royal David’s City,” but needed it for cello rather than violin. Boom! You now have the option of violin or cello.

Carlos included “Once in Royal David’s City” in Baylor University’s Advent Service. You can hear the recording here: I especially like that they doubled the lower voices of the piano accompaniment with cello. It sounds beautiful! 

Linda Bonney Olin, a frequent collaborator, found her way to my Orphan Tunes page and paired my tune BLEST BE THOU with her hymn text “A Guardian’s Prayer/Joseph’s Song.” I don’t know of any other hymn that so fully explores Joseph’s role as a human father to a heaven-born Savior. Linda notes that this song would fit beautifully with the Matthew 1:18-25 reading in the lectionary on December 18. (And of course, any service exploring Joseph’s part in the Christmas story.)

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