We Walk in Love- the story behind Deanna’s Justice Choir song

We Walk in Love- piano part!
We Walk in Love- piano part!
Now Deanna’s original song in the Justice Choir Songbook has a piano part (complete with a modulation)!
SEE VIDEOS OF DEANNA PLAYING THE PIECE- AND OF 900 SINGERS AT ST. OLAF COLLEGE SINGING IT- ALONG WITH A SCORE EXCERPT.
Price: $2.00

In early 2017, I responded to a call for scores for a new collection of social justice songs being curated by Abbie Betinis, Tesfa Wondemagegnhehu, and Ahmed Anzaldúa. The songs to be selected as part of a new movement called Justice Choir would be offered free of charge for anyone to sing for non-commercial use: at concerts, marches, protests, and in houses of worship.

The idea was to have accessible, easy-to-learn songs that speak into the moment that we are living in now, and to provide opportunities for all to create community by singing together.

When I saw a Facebook post from Abbie about the call for scores, I immediately responded by sitting down at the piano. I wrote and harmonized a simple tune in 3/4- not rangy, no big jumps, something that everyone could sing.

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Mary Lou Williams and Deanna’s trip to Pittsburgh

UPDATE: Click to hear audio from Deanna’s December 2018 performance-lecture on the sacred music of Mary Lou Williams.

As a musician, the sensation of being “in the flow” occurs when music is easily moving through me; when group interplay rises to unexpected levels; when everything happens with ease. I experience this on many occasions while playing music, and less often off of the stage or away from the piano bench. So on a recent trip to Pittsburgh which yielded new friendships, introduced me to new colleagues, and opened up a plethora of work opportunities, I kept marveling at how “in the flow” my life felt during my ten day sojourn.

In front of Mary Lou Williams’ elementary school in Pittsburgh.

Last spring when Christa Burneff invited me to perform a solo concert in Pittsburgh at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts, I immediately started thinking about making an extended trip to continue my research on Mary Lou Williams. At the time when Christa contacted me, I had recently received an inquiry from the Catholic publisher, Liturgical Press. They approached me with the idea of having me write a book on Williams for their “People of God” biographical series. After the book contract was finalized, I knew that I had to take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in Williams’ hometown of Pittsburgh.

Leading up to my trip, I started questioning my decision to go to Pittsburgh an entire nine days in advance of my December 8 concert at Hillman. After all, I hadn’t yet made many contacts in Pittsburgh, and I didn’t want to sit around without having meetings set up in advance.

The flurry of events that followed quelled any doubts that I had about the length of my trip.

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NEW! Comfort Ye: 5 Advent and Christmas pieces

As a former church music director, I know what it feels like to look at your upcoming calendar and realize that you need to quickly fill a spot or two for the Advent or Christmas season. With that in mind, here are five of my Advent and Christmas pieces (ranging from unison/soloist to SATB choir)- complete with recordings and sheet music.

Special thanks to vocalist Sarah Kervin for singing all three parts on the brand new gospel choir track of Comfort Ye.

Deanna’s Advent/Christmas music:

Comfort Ye: The classic 17th-century Advent text, “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People”in an original three-part (SAT) gospel/R&B setting. Choral/piano score and lead sheet.


Love Came Down: Original gospel/funk unison setting of the Christina Rossetti poem, “Love Came Down at Christmas.” Piano/vocal score and lead sheet.


We Three Kings: Swinging jazz instrumental trio arrangement. Piano score and lead sheet.

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