Singing the Church Together: Yo sé que estás aquí
by Rev. Debra Tyree
Have you ever heard a song and thought, "I'd love my choir to learn that song?" Bill Rose, Director of Music at St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana, was participating in a Global Praise reading session when he had that thought. After a discussion with Global Praise staff, he decided to arrange the song "Yo sé que estás aquí" [#2, Global Praise 3, ©2004, GBGMusik] for his choir.
Choirs and congregations can quickly learn this song from Honduras, and Mr. Rose's arrangement honors the simple beauty of the melody. When introducing the anthem, consider asking the choir to sing the melody line on "doo" to help them feel the natural flow of the melody (ms. 5-18.) Encourage them to sing "very lightly" so they can hear each other. This will enable the choir to feel the natural musical phrasing of crescendos and decrescendos as an ensemble. If you find the choir is having difficulty singing the melody line legato (smoothly and connected) you may want to ask them to sway slightly on the half note to "put the beat into their bodies."
Once the choir has the tune in their "heads," ask them to say the text in rhythm, reminding them of the musical phrasing they have just worked on together. Line out the text for them as needed to help pronunciation and rhythmic clarity. If Spanish is not the primary language spoken in your congregation, you may want to ask someone who is a native Spanish speaker to come and lead the choir in learning the Spanish text. It's always fun to have a "guest" leader at a rehearsal!
An English translation is provided for those who desire to sing the song in English. The choir will be able to move quickly to singing the text and melody line together once they have spoken the text in rhythm. Review the men's counter melody in measures 5-10 and the women's notes in ms. 25-28. Invite the choir to sing the entire work, reading the choral parts as written. Help them as needed in any sections they are unable to sing confidently.
This anthem has several performance options:
- The first stanza can be sung as a duet or small ensemble. Additionally, ms. 21 - 27 (beat 1) can be sung by a small ensemble, with the full choir joining on ms. 27, beat 2 ("And my soul").
- The keyboard accompaniment provided fully supports the choir's singing, but you may want to consider adding guitar and light hand percussion. Be very conscious of the balance of the instruments and the voices throughout. Consider varying the sound by adding or removing the instrumental parts as best fits your musical interpretation of the piece.
- This anthem works equally well as an Act of Praise or as a Call to Worship.
- Use measure 27, beat 2 ("And my soul…") to the end as the response to the benediction.
- A soloist could sing the first stanza a cappella as a call to prayer in worship.
- Churches with projection capabilities could add a slideshow to visually interpret the text.
Download a PDF of the anthem.
Download the MP3 audio file of St. Luke-Simpson UMC, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Chancel Choir singing the choral arrangement.
The Honduras mission initiative began in 1994. Today the United Methodist Mission Church in Honduras is a community of Christ-seeking men, women, and children from throughout Honduras who have built 12 growing congregations. Bill Rose offers his choral arrangement of "Yo sé que estás aquí" to be used as a free download to raise the awareness of the Honduras Mission Initiative. His hope is that choirs singing this arrangement will make a donation to Advance #12928A, which supports the work and ministry of the United Methodist Church in Honduras.
Click here for more information about the Mission Initiative in Honduras
Donate to the ministry of the Mission Initiative in Honduras, Advance #12928A.
About the Arranger
William G. Rose is presently Associate Professor of Music in the Department of Performing Arts at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He teaches the low brass studio, music theory, conducts the brass choir, serves as Musical Director for music-theater productions, and holds the position of Coordinator of the Computer Music Lab. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Michigan State University. He is also Music Director at St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist Church in Lake Charles. As a composer and arranger, his catalog includes works for band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, choir, handbells and brass ensembles. He is chair of the International Trombone Association Press and chairs the Instrumental Interest Area for the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and is a Yamaha Performing Artist.