Star Harmony Notes 2018

Dear Star Harmony 2018 Singers,

Thank you for your enthusiasm and your wonderful singing – we loved singing and visiting with you all weekend.  Special thanks to Carol Allman-Morton for taking on and doing such a beautiful job with Chapel and After Chapel Saturday evening.

You can scroll down for notes on all the songs we led this weekend, but first some information that might be of interest:

* Star Harmony 2019 – September 13 – 15.  Mary Cay Brass, the Amidons, and Nicholas Williams
Registration will open up sometime in January 2019

* Here is Emmy Miller and Jesse Milne’s website.

* Don’t miss the Sweetback Sisters (Emmy Miller is one of the “sisters”) New England gigs, especially the Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular. The Northampton one will be Dec 22, 2018 at the Academy of Music in Northampton and the rest of the dates will be announced on October 1:
Here is one of my favorite Sweetback Sisters songs composed by Emmy’s husband Jesse Milnes (here sharing a mic with Emmy)

* Emmy will also will be teaching singing at the Augusta Heritage Center Vocal Week in Elkins, WV in Summer 2019 (dates to be announced soon):

* Mary Cay, Mary Alice and I will be leading, with Kathy Leo, Singing for the Dying” – a hospice singing workshop Friday evening through Sunday lunch, May 10 – 12, 2019 at the Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, MA.
Registration will open up for this probably in January; the Rowe Conference Center website is

* Mary Cay, Mary Alice and I will be joining Kathy Bullock to lead a week-long adult Village Harmony camp in Berea, KY from June 22-29, 2019 Details will be on the Village Harmony website in about a month.

Mary Cay Brass and The Amidons both have online choral sheet music download stores.

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Here are notes on the songs:

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Ahmede Muhamedde
This is my transcription of a song I learned leading a Village Harmony Camp this summer. No permission needed.

Kukal roze
This is my transcription of a Lithuanian sutartine that I learned in Lithuania last summer. No permission needed. Here’s a great Youtube of this song.

New England
Contemporary shape note song. I don’t think permission is needed. I got a copy from someone a long time ago. I don’t know where it is published.

This is from Judith Silver from Brighton UK  and you need to go to her sheet music store on her website and pay for the number of copies you want to make.

Ovdovjala lisickata
I didn’t teach this but it’s available for purchase in my Balkan Bridges book and CD. It can be ordered from my website store.

Slavonska poskocica
This is available in my Village Harmony songs of the Balkans book and CD. It can be ordered from my website store.

Unison in Harmony
I transcribed and arranged this. I tried to get permission from Coope, Boyes and Simpson from the UK but they never answered any of my emails so I took that to mean it’s ok to spread it around.

Walk Softly Into the Night
This is a round by Joanne Hammil. She has 2 volumes of Rounds and Partner songs available here. This song is not published in those books, I learned it from a friend.

We Shall Be Known
Song by Mamuse – with 3rd part added by the Thrive Choir of Oakland, CA. This transcription is by both Peter and me. Here’s where I learned it from:

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A Beautiful Life
This song was written by William Golden but is now public domain. The arrangement is mine but you are welcome to use it. 

Thanks for singing this song so enthusiastically and beautifully. If you’d like to use this for a choir, please contact me at I would want your singers to have practice mp3s (which I have and can send) and we can arrange copy licensing for the score.

Ghmerti upali
No permission needed. I recommend checking out my teacher Nato Zumbadze’s ensemble, Mzetamze. 

River of Jordan
I didn’t get to this one. Check out The Louvin Brothers ( and the Poplin family ( to enjoy this wonderful song.

Sister Thou
If you’d like to do this arrangement with your choir, please contact me at to get practice mp3s and we can arrange licensing for the score. 

Tsmindao Ghmerto Nato
No permission needed. I recommend checking out my teacher Nato Zumbadze’s ensemble, Mzetamze.

We’ll Camp A Little While
This song is traditional and you’re welcome to sing it. Please contact me ( if you’d like to use and distribute the score that I made. 

When I Get Home
I have not figured out how to contact the estate of EC Ball for permissions on this song. If you do this with your choir, please credit E.C. Ball. You are welcome to use my (very intuitive) arrangement that I taught by ear or tweak to your own tastes.

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And When I Rise
Source unknown.  Here is the full piano/vocal score.
Here is the Youtube which inspired me to do this arrangement. This is the only place where I have heard it done with the 2nd and 3rd verses; I believe that it originally had only one verse, the first verse of my version.
I have heard several different folks lead this, mostly as a call and response song: LEADER “And when I rise”, “SINGERS, “And when I rise”.  LEADER: “Let me rise.” SINGERS: “Let me rise”, etc.
Here is what Sue Kranz sent me about the song:
“This is a great song that can be done in unison, or in echo-style call-and-response. The origin is not entirely known, although the words are believed to have been adapted from a poem by Wendell Berry. However when someone asked Wendell about it, he said that he had heard the words from an old Buddhist mantra.”

Balm in Gilead
Available in our Online Choral Store and Fifty-five Anthems book.
We did not get to this.  This is more of a harmonization than an arrangement; I based it on harmonizations I found in several hymnals.

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
I think it is fine to use this.  It is a great song to do with instrumental accompaniment (guitar, piano) or a cappella.  Listen to Emmy and the Sweetback Sisters sing this (I transcribed it from their performance) on their Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular album.

Bid You Goodnight
This is a great instant singalong and a powerful song for a funeral.  You need a strong soloist like Mary Alice or Emmy.
Available in our Online Choral Store and Fifty-five Anthems book.

Garden of Mysteries
This was for you, I don’t have permission to share the arrangement.  Mark Simos is a great old-time banjo player/fiddler, a master of music theory, and a songwriter and music producer.  Mark teaches songwriting at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and the author of the book Songwriting StrategiesHere is the Youtube which was the basis for my arrangement.

Great Trees
Thank you Wendell Berry and Mary Alice! I created the piano part to accompany Mary Alice singing her setting of the song on our (out of print) albumThis Pretty Planet“. My piano/SATB arrangement of Mary Alice’s setting is available in our Online Choral Store and Twenty-five Anthems book.

He Got Up
I transcribed the music from this Youtube.
Here is our Guilford (VT) Community Church Choir performing it last Easter Sunday, my daughter-in-law, Zara Bode (the other Sweetback Sister with Emmy) singing the solo with our accompanist, Patty Meyer, playing and improvizing over my piano transcription.
Here is the full piano SATB score of my transcription.
I looked for, but could not find, any sheet music to purchase for this great song.

I Gave My Love a Cherry
You are welcome to use this arrangement. I did this arrangement after the song was requested for a hospice sing.  Our little group did improvised harmonies and we felt that it was a great song for a vigil hospice sing.

I composed this setting of the Magnificat for our Guilford Community Church Choir. The full piano/vocal score is available on our Online Choral Store.

Sunny Bank
You are welcome to use this. Here is the full piano/SATB score.  I added guitar with a simple C – F chord ostinato throughout the piece.
I have always loved this simple Appalachian Christmas Carol.  Here is our performance of the song at the Guilford (VT) Community Church.
This arrangement was based on Mary Alice’s and my performance of the song on our CD “All I Really Need”.

Thanks again, and keep on singing.


Peter (Mary Cay and Mary Alice and Emmy)