Not Your Mama’s Hymns

Not Your Mama's Hymns

Crowdfunding Completed: January 14, 2018

Amount Funded: $15000

Project Owner: Sarah Jebian & Laura Weiss

Short Description of Project

Ever wish you had beautiful UU hymns to listen to at home? Help us finish production on our new album, "Unfolding". These are not your mama's hymns!

How was this project connected to UU?

Unfolding both claims and is claimed by Unitarian Universalism by fully embracing the unique hymnody within our worship services. For many of us who grew up outside of the UU faith, singing hymns together was a central part of our family's musical landscape and heritage. We can still remember some of the hymns from our youth though the words may no longer ring true for us. The music we sing every Sunday within our UU worship services must have an important place in our lives outside of worship. With Unfolding, we hope to make it easier for people to carry our musical tradition with them wherever they go and to share our message of hope and love with people outside of the UU faith.

Support for Unfolding...

Print music—whether it's the hand-scratched manuscripts of Beethoven or the well-edited hard-bound hymnal—has always been at best an imperfect communication of the spirit behind the notes. As our UU movement continues to work purposefully and passionately at tearing down the walls between "the way it's always been" and "the way it could be," it becomes ever more crucial that we breathe new and diverse spirits into the texts and tunes that our communities call sacred. UNFOLDING is, of course, only one attempt to do just that—but it is an important one. Whether used as centering for personal devotion, as inspiration for corporate body prayer, or simply as inspiration for revisiting and revitalizing the music we've sung over and over again together, I hope UU's everywhere will recognize this project as one well worth supporting—and imitating—across our association and beyond. - David M. Glasgow, Director of Music, Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley

This project is fabulous! What Sarah and Laura have brought is a true gift of music and ministry. Through beautiful vocals and instrumentals - with the voices of children and adults - this collection of hymns and songs is a must have for individuals wanting to bring some of “church” home, music directors looking for a fresh approach to familiar hymns, congregations who may not have music directors or song leaders, and members of the UU world who want to bring some of our values to friends and loved ones. - Mimi Bornstein, Director of Music Ministries, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
You've never heard hymns done like these - beautifully crafted in new ways with rich spirituality and exquisite musical quality to uplift hymns to a stirring new level. - Mark Zimmerman, Director of Music, Mount Vernon Unitarian Church
These two incredibly talented people have created a beautiful instrument for Unitarian Universalists to use in their homes, in their congregations and with their families. This music is a part of our spiritual practice and can support living the values and principles so badly needed in today’s world. - Rev. David Miller, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

For anyone seeking an inspiring and fresh treatment of some of our faith tradition’s most beloved songs of celebration, lament and praise, Sarah Jebian and Laura Weiss offer us a beautiful and creative collection of music that will enliven our spirits and our hearts. - Deborah Weiner, Moderator, Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network

The familiar Christian hymns of my childhood even today bring me a sense of comfort, though in many cases, the lyrics no longer speak to my beliefs. Sarah and Laura's new album gives me a way to increase my children's connection to the hymns of their childhood, which I hope will speak to who they are now and who they will be as they grow: human beings who know themselves, celebrate the world we live in, and work together for a better world. Sarah and Laura's music inspires gratitude, inner strength, and joy. - Torie Gorges, Member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

This is such a great idea! We start our learning time on "school" days with a UU hymn--my kids would much rather listen to Sarah and Laura sing than me. : ) I've tooled around with looking for UU hymns on Spotify and it's hard to find good stuff that doesn't sound like the UU Tabernacle Choir. You both are a beautiful change of pace from that! - Kathy Smerke, Member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

There is something in Sarah’s voice and Laura’s rhythm that creates a welcome comingling of heart and spirit. The more you listen, the more it becomes apparent that the presence of a gentle and wondrous universe emanates from their bones. They share an ineffable empath-speak that is conveyed in each hymn without restraint. - Carol Campbell, Member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

First of all, as a human being, a therapist and a person who loves good music—all these hymns touched my heart and soul. As someone who cares about alleviating human suffering and have built my life around doing so, this music resonates with the core of where I believe the pain is. I often use the phrase, “we love in the same place we are wounded.” This music brings love and joy and serves as a balm to that place of pain in the heart. As a healing professional of 35 years, I am aware that it is our thoughts (left brain) that causes us the most difficulty. People need a way to “cut through the chatter” of doubt, guilt and fear, and proceed directly to the ‘truth’ of existence, which I believe to be love. This ‘knowing’ resides in the right brain. Having read a great deal about how music affects the brain, this particular music does just that. It does not stop at “go” and gets to the ‘heart’ of the matter. - Marilyn Williams, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW

Full Description of Project

Unfolding is an album of family-friendly UU hymns arranged for today’s contemporary music-lover. What began as a request from the Director of RE at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (Fairfax, VA) to have recorded hymns available for her use in children’s chapel, unfolded into a multipurpose, campus-wide resource for worship beyond the walls of our church. Now we want to offer this music to other UU congregations, RE programs, families, and those outside of the UU tradition who crave meaningful music as a part of their daily spiritual practice. We hope to enable listeners to bring the values of their faith into the car, the home, and the world. Now, more than ever, we need to bring the message of Unitarian Universalism out of the house of worship. What better way than through the arts?!

These are NOT your mama’s hymns…

Our relevant and exciting arrangements of some of our most beloved UU hymns preserves the intention of the music while exploring the musical landscapes and needs of today. Each hymn meets you where you are in your spiritual practice and appeals to all generations. The music reveals beautiful soaring melodies of familiar hymns with unexpected new harmonies and a fresh, reinvented quality. As we approach each piece of music, we ask ourselves “What is the story we are telling?”; “What are we feeling when we hear this music”; “How does this support the spiritual life of our listener?”. We are excited by the results so far and we’re sure you’re going to love it too.

We hope to release Unfolding in the summer of 2018. We’ve already recorded 4 of 12 planned tracks. Our initial out of pocket expense to produce these first 4 songs was a little over $4,000. We need to raise at least $15,000 to finish production on the remaining 8 songs. Production costs include:

licensing fees to the composer/copyright holders ($1200 projected cost)
fees to the musicians playing on the record ($1500 projected cost)
studio costs – time in the recording studio, editing, mixing, mastering 8 remaining tracks ($10,000 projected cost)
album artwork/graphic design, CD duplication, publicity and marketing ($1800 projected cost)
Faithify is all-or-nothing. If we fail to meet our fundraising goal, we simply won’t be able to finish what we started. We may not even be able to release the 4 beautiful songs we’ve already completed. If you believe, as we do, that music builds bridges and is a critical part of our shared UU ministry, please consider supporting our work. Thank you so much!!