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Archive for the ‘Book Updates and Reviews’ Category

The September, 2010 issue of The Congregationalist has a wonderful review of all our Singing Meditation resources: the book Singing Meditation: Together in Sound and Silence,  the songbook, Let Joy Fill Your Heart, and the CD by the Ephemerata Singers. We were so excited and pleased with this review that we’ve copied the full text below. You can see the complete magazine here.

Enjoy!

Music as Meditation
A trio of practical guides for combining sound with silence

By The Rev. Lisa Dembkowski, Associate Minister of Plymouth Congregational Church, Wichita, Kansas

For those looking to enhance spiritual growth, the beauties of sound and silence are brought together in a new practice called singing meditation. In their book, Singing Meditation: Together in Sound and Silence, Ruthie Rosauer and Liz Hill describe the origin, scope, and implementation of singing meditation. Also available is a supplemental songbook, Let Joy Fill Your Heart: Songs for Singing Meditation, edited by Rosauer and Dr. Helen Gierke, minister of music at First Congregational Church of Cape Coral, Fla.; and a music CD, Ephemerata: Songs for Singing Meditation, with 14 songs to illustrate the simplicity and the beauty of meditative singing.

In their book, Rosauer and Hill explain the traditions from which the practice of singing meditation has emerged and supply the reader with practical information and tools for launching a singing meditation group in the local church or community. Sound and silence have been used as meditative tools throughout history, and nearly every faith community incorporates one or both of these methods to achieve a closer encounter with the Divine. Singing meditation joins sound with silence in the hope that participants will experience a heightened level of inspiration and fulfillment.

Rosauer and Hill recommend particular songs and chants for use in singing meditation. The music is simple and can be learned easily by both experienced and inexperienced singers. The authors write that “singing meditation helps people re- claim their singing voices by encouraging singers of all abilities to dive into the river of sound and trust in the community of voices for support.”

Songs included in the book represent Christian, Jewish, and Hindu traditions, and the method is well-suited for an interfaith gathering. The supplemental songbook by Gierke and Rosauer also includes songs from a variety of categories, including Eastern religions, earth-centered, interfaith, and non-traditional music, with helpful notes about the songs. At each session, singing is interspersed with periods of silence lasting from two to five minutes. Although the singing component brings great enjoyment, Rosauer and Hill caution against moving through the periods of silence too quickly. The quiet periods, they say, are “an invitation to follow your heart into the empty spaces. Don’t get caught up on technique. Just be still.”

Helpful to those considering starting a singing meditation group is the CD, Ephemerata: Songs for Singing Meditation. Additional instruction, and information about scheduling workshops, is available at http://www.singingmeditation.com. In its fullest form, singing meditation gathers people from a variety of faith traditions for support, contemplation, and spiri- tual growth. Rosauer, Hill, and Gierke have created resources to assist those wishing to explore and implement this new type of ministry.

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The Youngstown Vindicator ran an article about Singing Meditation in today’s edition, along with the video shot earlier this week. We’re very pleased with both!

You can link to the article here.

To see the video, click the link on the photo in the article, or go here.

We were thrilled with the editing job done on the video– it really gets across the essence of the practice: sing, sing, sing for joy!

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This continues to be a Red Letter Week for Singing Meditation. Our first book reviews are out. The April issue of The Lutheran has a nice review — here is part of it:

“Rosauer and Hill are convinced that everybody can sing, so it’s not necessary to have a small group of professional musicians do it for us. People singing together create soulful bonds with one another and open the doors of their hearts. Singing meditation is a twofold movement: “singing out to the divine mystery and sitting silently to listen for a response.”

The authors explore toning (vocalizing long, sustained sounds), singing (chants, rounds, songs in harmony, and call-and-response songs), the words and silent intervals of two to five minutes. It’s very pleasing to see the respect given silence here. The authors close with suggestions for starting a singing meditation group, leading a session and a selection of songs from a variety of religious traditions.”

To read the entire review go to The Lutheran website.

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