Welcome to our Spotlight series, a place for our Member Publishers to connect with our License Holders, share new works, and offer updates on their catalogs. Interested in reading more from our Spotlight series? Visit this link!

K: We are thrilled to have you as a ONE LICENSE Member Publisher! What new collections or favorite pieces should our License Holders be looking forward to in the New Year?

D: By far, my two titles that continue to receive the most usage are my modern justice anthem, “We Walk in Love,” and my jazz hymn arrangements collection, Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns. “We Walk in Love” (song ID 5fbe700e0fef5) can be reported here.

Originally written for the Justice Choir Songbook, “We Walk in Love” is an accessible, easy-to-learn song that speaks to our current moment. Ecumenical in nature, the song lyrics speak about walking in love (Ephesians 5:2), welcoming the stranger (Lev. 19:34), and fighting for those whose voices are silenced. “We Walk in Love” was sung as the closing piece at the 2020 Chorus America Conference, at the 2018 St. Olaf Choral Festival, and at the sixtieth anniversary of the Little Rock Nine at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sheet music and a video playlist of 25 choirs singing “We Walk in Love” are available here

Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns is both my recording and companion sheet music collection of 13 jazz arrangements of classic hymn tunes. While each arrangement was written to support congregational singing, each piece can also be used as an instrumental prelude, offertory, or postlude. The e-book includes both piano scores and lead sheets. Sheet music and practical videos on how to use the arrangements with your assembly are available here.

All of the Deanna Witkowski Music / Tilapia Tunes titles are available to our license holders worldwide and can be easily reported in the ONE LICENSE system. Deanna Witkowski Music / Tilapia Tunes also participates in both Podcast / Streaming and Practice-Track License permissions!

K: Do you have any suggestions for our License Holders as they prepare to plan their Lenten and Easter services?

D: Yes!

For Lent: 

“Turning”: Written for Lent, a season that invites “turning” or a change in direction, this meditative piece can be sung with just melody by a congregation, or with four parts for choir. Based on a passage from Psalm 119. “Turning” (song ID 5ee54147eb5b8) can be reported here.

For Easter: 

Jesus Christ Is Risen! Cristo Resucitó!“: This upbeat piece was originally written for a children’s choir to sing on Easter Sunday in a bilingual Spanish-English speaking congregation. The simple refrain easily allows for congregational participation and can be learned by ear or with the printed score. “Jesus Christ Is Risen! Cristo Resucitó!” (song ID 5fbe700e2252b) can be reported here.

Alleluia”: Once you introduce this joyful, easy-to-sing-without-printed-music Easter Alleluia, your only issue will be getting your congregation to stop singing it! Use as a gospel acclamation or prayer response. “Alleluia” (song ID 122228) can be reported here.

I also want to mention a text and new hymn tune that I wrote specifically in response to the pandemic. “Even, Only for This Day” addresses this time of uncertainty and reminds us that we are never left alone. “Even, Only for This Day” (song ID 5fbe700e12a6b) can be reported here.

K: What areas of ministry can be supported by your music? Which denominations or groups look to you for music?

D: Much of my church music has come out of years of work as a music director in parishes of various denominations. As a guest music leader, I have worked in Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Methodist, Baptist, and many more denominations— and music directors in all of these faith traditions purchase music from my website. A partial list of testimonials from church music directors is available here.

K: Does your catalog feature any ecumenical options for interfaith communities?

D: “We Walk in Love” was consciously written with the intent that anyone of any or no faith can sing the song as part of a community.

Let My Prayer Rise” is a bluesy setting of a portion of Psalm 141 (“Let my prayer rise before you as incense; the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice”) that works well in interfaith settings. The congregational refrain can be learned without sheet music and requires a cantor on the verses.

K: What other top titles will our users now be able to share with their congregations?

D: Besides “We Walk in Love” and Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns, here are two:

Make My Joy Complete”: Second place winner of the October 2020 National Sacred Music Choral Contest, this accessible, gospel-tinged anthem on the theme of unity is appropriate for singers of all ages. Watch a virtual choir video here. “Make My Joy Complete” (song ID 113729) can be reported here

We Belong to God”: Jazz harmony, a pop melody, and a hint of samba are part of this original worship song, the winner of the 2017 Annual Hymn Search of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada. “We Belong to God” (song ID 5fbe700e10553) can be reported here

K: What else can our License Holders look forward to from you in the year to come?

D: I’m organizing a new commissioning consortium for a currently-in-process choral setting of the Jan Richardson poem, “Blessed are you who bear the light.” More information will be available in February at deannajazz.com; in the meantime, interested choir directors can email me at deanna@deannajazz.com.

K: That sounds like a wonderful project! We will look forward to that new title becoming available to our license holders in the future! Anything else you would like to share with us?

D: Two major works (a book and a recording!) are coming out in the fall of 2021: Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul will be published by Liturgical Press as part of their People of God series; and Force of Nature, an all-Williams recording, will be released on the MCG Jazz label. Williams (1910-81) was a jazz pianist-composer and a convert to Catholicism, both of which I share in common with her. I’m also working on a new edition of Williams’s best-known sacred music work, Mary Lou’s Mass, which will be available via the Mary Lou Williams Foundation this coming spring. More information on my Mary Lou Williams project is available here.

I also invite ONE LICENSE license holders to check out my score catalog at deannajazz.com, and feel free to contact me at deanna@deannajazz.com. I’m always interested in creating new music for particular texts or choral / instrumental forces (including virtual choirs!) that are hard to find. Let me know how I can be of service to you and your congregation.

Deanna Witkowski – Biography

An amazingly diverse bandleader who moves with remarkable ease between Brazilian, jazz, classical, and sacred music, pianist-composer-vocalist Deanna Witkowski consistently thrills audiences with explosive performances that combine virtuosity and heart. Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and a past guest on Marian McPartland’s historic Piano Jazz radio program, Witkowski’s accessible, yet surprising sound is unmistakably her own.  Read more about Deanna here

Featured image photo copyright information: Pixabay. This image is available for download at www.pexels.com.

All other images are shared with permission by Ms. Witkowski on behalf of the musicians involved.

1. Deanna with the choristers at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, MO

2. Deanna with the Oakland Catholic High School Chamber Chorus, Mrs. Sonya Caceres, director, Pittsburgh, PA

3. Photo credit: Jason Gardner

4. Combined choirs from Grace Avenue UMC and University Park UMC, Dallas, TX

5. Photo credit: Erika Kapin