Composing Commission Project – ALL Are Invited!

Composing Commission Project – ALL Are Invited!

From Holly Phares, Music Director

I am delighted to share some exciting news that I have been given a generous gift of a commission by a dear friend and huge supporter of my work to create 1 or 2 anthems – hymns for Old First & The Healing Presence Singers.

A few years ago, I created a group composing system I call SongShaping by which I share a handful of pinpointed writing prompts to a given group of people (a choir, camp group, group of teachers or leaders, community organizing group, etc.) and together we co-create short musical “motifs” or ideas based on selected phrases that have arisen from everyone’s responses to the prompts.

From those little gems, I facilitate the group in singing the motifs in unison, then continue to layer them with other phrases in the style of “call & response,” creating a 3-6 part Circle Song, ala Bobby McFerrin, and a totally spontaneous “improvised” musical “moment” is created in community, as each layer of musical line interweaves with one another.

The commission project will be built from both “live” composing sessions with our Old First community and The Healing Presence Singers, and remote participation from those who are unable to attend our live composing gatherings.

One does NOT need to:

  1. Have any singing experience,
  2. Know how to read music,
  3. Have a formal background in writing or composing.  

I will be taking these ideas from our live composing sessions, as well as responses to the writing prompts and create a choir anthem and possibly a special song or hymn that can be sung by the congregation. 

The ONLY “requirement” to participate is a desire to create unique and purposeful, hopefully inspiring musical art that reflects the beliefs, concerns, hopes, dreams, &/or desires of our community.

These anthems and/or hymns will be sung by the choir and congregation on Sunday, June 7th, which is Choir Sunday and final choir Sunday for the Spring season. 


The two upcoming composing gatherings at Old First will occur on: Sundays, March 15th & 22nd, directly after coffee hour in the Social Hall.  A light lunch will be provided from 12:30-1:00 & the session will run from 1-2:30 p.m.

Please RSVP to Holly ASAP via email: to let her know which date(s) you plan to attend. If you wish to participate remotely, please send an email to her stating that, and she will forward the writing prompts to you to fill out & submit for consideration: