The study of spiritual Truth and the love of music have animated me since childhood. Growing up in a Christian Science family, with both parents as music teachers, gave me the opportunity to pursue these interests. After a career in music education, and a long search for just the right spiritual community, I found Unity. In Unity I resonate with the teachings, and gain inspiration for daily living and community involvement. I also have the opportunity to express myself creatively through music.
For 27 years it has been my joy to serve spiritual communities in Charleston and Columbia, S.C., as music director. We have developed a mission statement for our music program: Support the message with the music; and give each person in the ministry the opportunity to express his or her inner musical self in the way that works best.
To that end we have included congregational singing, a choir open to all regardless of musical ability, a band—Southern Light—which is by invitation-only, a children’s choir, vocal soloists and various instrumental ensembles. As music director I have a passionate interest in helping everyone succeed in their musical self-expression. I am grateful for education and work experiences that have given me the skill to write musical arrangements and compositions that fit the abilities of the performers.
In 2007 the opportunity came to expand my involvement in Unity music by joining the Music Ministry Team of Unity Worldwide Ministries (formerly the Association of Unity Churches). This has given me the opportunity to teach by example, writing for and directing instrumental ensembles which appear annually at the Sound Connections Conference. Since the creation of the conference has been different every year, this has been an interesting challenge. (For many years Sound Connections was sponsored and organized by UWM. In 2016 it was combined with the Positive Music Festival and was sponsored and organized by emPower Music & Arts. UWM served as a co-sponsor, with members of the Music Ministry Team presenting workshops.)
Also in 2007, I founded Heart Wind Music, a private business which offers downloadable sheet music and recordings of New Thought music to spiritual communities, ministers, music directors and Truth students. In 2012, UWM decided to move its music publishing and distribution to the Internet and the Online Music Library was born. Heart Wind Music has the honor and privilege of serving as host and administrator of the library. What follows is a Q & A which will help you understand the role and function of the library.
What is the Online Music Library?
Sheet music which can help spiritual communities provide inspiring, uplifting and spiritually deep experiences is available from the Online Music Library. The library is a service of Unity Worldwide Ministries. There you can find songs for congregational singing as well as songs for presentation by soloists, choirs and vocal ensembles. The library is part of UWM’s development of electronic communication for the movement.
What kind of music is offered?
Positive Music is the genre of the songs at the Online Music Library. Many New Thought communities use music from this relatively new genre, because the songs are written to say exactly what we believe, by artists who dedicate their lives to producing this inspiring music. Many Positive Music songs speak directly about God, and humanity’s relationship to God. When adapting secular songs for use in ministry, it’s easy to find songs with a positive message, and not as easy to find songs that speak about God, and directly about spiritual topics. Many of the Positive Music artists are available to perform in our communities, and they can frequently be seen at the annual PosiFest/Sound Connections Conference.
What are some advantages of using the library?
Alignment with Unity principles, as well as musical quality and appeal, are factors that have been carefully considered when choosing selections for the library.
Practical musical arrangements have been written so that they will work well for the week-to-week work of music directors and ministers, and for the mix of professional and volunteer musicians found in most of our spiritual communities. Because musicians have various ways of learning and performing, a typical download includes piano-vocal score, lead sheet, lyric-chord sheet and lyric sheet.
Ease in finding, evaluating and acquiring songs for any relevant subject or occasion is a feature of the library.
Copyright compliance is also easy. With your purchase, you are permitted to print the number of copies needed for your performers, and musicians may also rearrange the music for personal use without requesting permission from the copyright holder.
Prices of songs in the library are set to be comparable with sheet music purchased from other websites or music stores. Solos and congregational songs are $5.00. Vocal Ensembles are $10.00, and Choral selections are $15.00 or $25.00 depending on the size of the choir.
Congregational songs include free downloadable PowerPoints. Musical arrangements of congregational songs include the melody in the piano part, to assist the music director in teaching and leading the song. Permission to print lyrics and/or sheet music for the congregation and to project lyrics and/or music is included with each congregational song purchase.
Custom arrangements, written especially for the musicians in a particular community, are available.
Other features of the library include:
- Links to songwriter’s websites
- Samples of lyrics that can be used as daily affirmations
- Spreadsheets listing songs published by UWM
- Advice articles about how to develop a great ministry music program and other relevant topics
- Quick access to songs published by Heart Wind Music at the same website
How do I find songs?
Various search capabilities include looking up songs by songwriter, musical style, performance medium or subject. There is also a section for seasonal and special occasions.
Songwriters who have been recognized for their work by UWM are among the many writers included in the library. Each year UWM presents the Grace Note Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Positive Music. Grace Note recipients whose songs are in the library include: Robert Anderson, David Ault, Karen Drucker, Daniel Nahmod, Faith Rivera, David Roth, Jana Stanfield, and Karen Taylor-Good. Current and former members of UWM’s Music Ministry Team, including Melinda Allen, David Ezell, Jennifer Ferren, Todd Lowry, Richard Mekdeci, Sue Riley and Rev Blair Tabor, are also represented in the library. In addition to these and other well-known artists, there are great songs from emerging songwriters that you can discover by perusing the library.
Musical styles found in the library include up tempo, free and easy, contemplative, jazzy, blues, Latin, Gospel, rock, country, chant and many more.
Performance media include choir (mixed voices), women’s choir, children’s choir, vocal ensemble, congregation, solo and drum circle.
Subjects span relationship with God, forgiveness, guidance, prayer, service, the environment, social justice and Interfaith, among many others. Also featured is a search box. There you can enter a word and find all of the songs that include the word. It’s like a concordance for music!
Seasonal and special occasions are covered by the library. Music for standard seasons in the church year such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are there. Among the many special occasions included are weddings, christenings, memorial services, Earth Day, and even the change into and out of Daylight Saving Time.
How do I evaluate and acquire songs?
Free samples of the sheet music, recording and lyrics of songs are available at the site. You can purchase music for immediate download using a credit/debit card or PayPal.
How did the library come about?
Online distribution of sheet music by UWM began in 2012. Printed songbooks have been available dating back at least to 1993, and since then over 300 songs have been printed. In 2012, led by the Music Ministry Team and Rev Carl Osier, former executive director of field ministry and minister services, UWM decided to move music distribution to an online model. Rev Osier and the team saw that this would save UWM the expense of printing, storing and shipping the books, and would allow spiritual communities the convenience of online shopping. It is also cost-effective for music directors and ministers to select one song at a time rather than acquiring a book with dozens of songs in it. Since the establishment of the library, all new music published by UWM has been offered online.
Songs from printed books are now being moved to the library. For the immediate future, a priority will be including these previously-printed songs in the online offerings. This will assure that the music will continue to be available when songbooks go out-of-print.
Administration and hosting of the library is by Heart Wind Music, LLC. When UWM established the Online Music Library, Heart Wind Music had the necessary expertise and infrastructure and was selected to host the library. David Ezell, President of Heart Wind Music, was selected as administrator of the library.
How can I get my songs into the library?
New song submissions for the library are welcomed. The Music Ministry Team meets each January to select new songs. The annual due date for submissions is December 1. Submissions should be sent to David Ezell. The email address is [email protected]. The physical address is: Unity Worldwide Ministries’ Online Music Library, 2135 Cunningham Rd, Columbia, SC 29210. The fax number is 803.753.4327.
Songs from previously-printed books can be added to the library when copyright holders sign a new agreement with UWM. To receive a new agreement, copyright holders can contact David Ezell.
Are recordings of the songs available?
emPower Music & Arts and the artist’s websites have recordings of most of the songs. Links to these sources of recordings are provided at the Online Music Library website. The Online Music Library is set up for sheet music distribution.
How do I find the library?
heartwindmusic.com is a good place to start in finding the library. From there you can click on Unity Worldwide Ministries’ Online Music Library. The direct URL is www.heartwindmusic.com/unwomionchli.html. On this web page you will find a wealth of resources which you can use in your weekly work, inspiring, teaching and uplifting those who attend your services and events.