My life-long mentor Steve Kinzie is the middle of three brothers from Tonasket, Washington, and, like me, was born and raised in the Church of the Brethren tradition. Steve’s younger brother Tom was attracted toward Catholicism later in his life, and was inspired by the plainchant tradition of the church.
One day Steve showed me a page his brother had sent him — notated very freely, without music staff — of the melody he had put to Denise Levertov’s poem The Avowal. Steve was enchanted, and so was I. During a winter retreat up in the mountains, the church folk group that Steve and I belonged to devised an arrangement of Tom’s melody that we began to perform at church.
It became “one of those songs” that gets inside you somehow, almost like a spring, and bubbles up from time to time, out of nowhere. I can’t count how many times through the years I’ve suddenly started singing “Free fall and float into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace.” Once you know the melody, it may happen to you too!
A few summers ago, I got to thinking about this song, and how it would make a great anthem. I realized — even though I’m Mr. Divisi — that there was a need for really good texts and material that smaller choirs could perform with good success. This arrangement was the result — letting Tom’s melody and Denise Levertov’s soulful, grace-filled words shine, simply and beautifully.