Home Database of Choral Music for Justice

The Songbook

We are currently compiling a new resource for community activism through singing!

Justice Choir Songbook, Volume 1: Westminster Presbyterian Church

Abbie Betinis, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, Andrea Ramsey

It's important to have shared repertoire for group singing. We also need songs that speak to our current events. This Songbook will be a digital, downloadable resource of new and re-purposed protest songs for the issues of our time. This resource will be available to people everywhere – not only choirs, but also families, classrooms, congregations, and other organizations working for change. It will be distributed under a Creative Commons license, free of charge. This will be a one-of-a-kind document, with many new songs available for the first time. A matching YouTube video resource will aid in teaching these songs to a broad community of singers and non-singers.

Submit Songs to the Justice Choir Songbook

submissions from the general public are now closed
Deadline for submissions: April 5, 2017

  • New songs to help sing for justice: new protest songs, marching songs, freedom songs, activist anthems, and songs of inspiration and change.
  • EASY to learn, APPROPRIATE for all ages, ACCESSIBLE for group singing, and TIMELY for 2017.
  • ...some component of your song to be new. So either:
    1. new, original songs (lyrics & music) -- OR --
      ex. Emily Feld's "A Bridge is Stronger Than a Wall" -- she wrote both music & lyrics
    2. new lyrics that go with an old tune (tune must be old enough to be in the public domain) -- OR --
      ex. Peter Mayer's "Blue Boat Home" -- he wrote new lyrics for an old hymn tune
    3. a new tune for old lyrics (if those lyrics are old enough to be in the public domain).
      ex. maybe you want to submit a new tune for "Amazing Grace" or the "Star Spangled Banner"
    4. It's perhaps possible that we could include new lyrics to copyrighted tunes (ex. say, if you wrote new protest lyrics to the tune of your favorite 80s hit), but this will only work if the tune is known well enough that we can simply write "Sung to the tune of..." without reprinting any copyrighted sheet music in the songbook. Submit it to us anyway, and we'll get researching!
      ex. maybe you'd like to submit new lyrics to Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It"... yes, we want that. Desperately.
  • If any component of your song -- music or lyrics -- is not your original work, you'll have a chance to let us know in this form, so we can help research its copyright to determine if we can include it in the songbook.

  • Songs may be submitted in any voicing (e.g. melody only; two-part; SATB, etc).

    The final songbook will include a mix of voicings. Some songs will have melodies only, and some songs will include harmonies. It will not include written accompaniments. It will just have all the singing parts with chord names printed above. But you may certainly submit full scores with accompaniments if you'd like. (If necessary, we will contact you about paring it down.)

  • Songs may be submitted in any format (e.g. audio only, video, lead sheet, or fully notated)
  • Songs in non-English languages are especially encouraged (please include an English translation)
  • Anyone is eligible to submit a song. There is no age limit.
  • There is no limit on number of submissions.
  • Please use a separate form for each song submission.
  • There is no fee to submit a song. There will be no fee to include your song in the songbook. There will be no fee for people to download your song either.

    Songwriters will retain their commercial rights with the Creative Commons license, and we hope that inclusion in the Songbook will lead to increased commercial requests, licensing, and other opportunities. See our Creative Commons FAQ.

  • COPYRIGHT: The Justice Choir Songbook will be released under a Creative Commons license (specifically this one), which allows anyone to download, distribute, perform from, and freely share the Songbook (or songs from the songbook) for non-commercial purposes -- as long as they give you attribution. You will retain your right to any arrangements/derivative works, and to commercial uses of your song. This is a non-exclusive license, so you may use the same license with another distributor, or release your song through your own networks if you like. Important: A Creative Commons license is permanent. You can choose later to make your license less restrictive if you like (e.g. to authorize free commercial use), but you will not be able to make it more restrictive. During this submission process, you will be given more information about this license, and asked to accept its terms if your song is chosen for the Songbook. If your song is not chosen for the Songbook, you will be able to opt out completely and retain all your rights to your song. We're musicians too and want to do right by you!

    Please visit our Creative Commons Licensing page for more details and FAQ. And email us if you have any additional questions about this license: justicechoir@gmail.com