introducing the songs project

Today we uploaded the second new studio recording of our songs project. We wanted to flag it up because we hope you will enjoy listening to the new version of He is risen here (the chord sheet and story behind the song are also available on our songs page). But we also wanted to take the time to tell you a bit more about the songs project too…

lullaby of thanks

When we first launched the Sanctuary’s worship resource library almost four years ago, we wanted to share our songs as freely and quickly as we could. The idea was to get the recordings up and out there with a chord sheet and some background on why each song was written and through this to facilitate people learning the songs to use themselves.

So where we had professional studio recordings from Liz’s first album we shared them joyfully – (at the start that was for 12 songs).

For the others, where no tracks pre-existed, simple recordings were made in-house. They were suitable for learning aids, but quite quiet in volume and of course, stripped back in instrumentation.

But we could move quickly! In 2011 when Osama Bin Laden was killed, Come Prince of Peace was written in response to the vitriolic media coverage of the event, and within a few hours, it was online providing a tool for people to pray.

And we’ve continued doing this… when a song is created out of prayer times at the Sanctuary, it is quickly laid down and shared as soon as possible. And we have no intention of changing this.

But, nearly four years on and tens of thousands of plays and downloads later we’re wanting to invest more in our songs.

About two years ago, we were delighted to hear from Cherry Gilbard – who volunteered to gradually score all the songs so that we could make sheet music available and therefore open learning the songs up to more people. It has been such a blessing to go through the backlist of songs adding these in as she has generously and painstakingly worked on them.

It was around the same time that brilliant producer Tim Deal also generously offered two days of his time to studio produce two of the tracks as a gift. The next year he offered again… and the results of both these times were incredible. Create in me a pure heart, What is my whole life? , What Price? and You’re the God who answers prayer now all had studio versions that really brought them to life for people.

We had prioritised making our songs available as teaching aids but more and more people were feeding back that they were playing the tracks as they were (even in their basic, quiet versions!) and that they would love to have full versions of the tracks to use more fully in this way.

Additionally, we know that we are all so used to highly produced songs now that it can be difficult for many of us to get past a basic recording. We have a big vision for worship that better reflects the God it is for his heart for people… and we don’t want anything practical like sound quality to limit people receiving the truth that many of our songs are seeking to convey.

We chatted to Tim and to our close supporters and between us we came up with a brilliant plan for keeping costs low by producing each track half in house and half in studio. Supporters close to the project helped us raise what was necessary and one by one – we are now beginning to make all the songs available as free but high quality studio downloads so that people can use them as they are in worship or to listen to themselves, as well as learning them to play and sing themselves.

And… after each batch of 12 is done, we’ll release a CD too that can be given to people in exchange for a donation to producing more – or not, depending on their circumstances. But more on that at a later date…

So far, we’ve been able to re-release Come Prince of Peace and He is risen. And right now, Tim is working on the final touches to a brilliant new version of Nmoshka which we’re very excited to share with you in the next couple of weeks.

A big thank you to everyone who has caught the vision for this project and given so generously. And to Tim for doing so much for so little – bless you and thank you; we’re loving working with you!

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