Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We Are One In The Spirit, We Are One In The Lord

Reverend Peter Scholtes was a Roman Catholic Priest and songwriter. Perhaps he was best known as the composer of the title tune which went beyond its mainline roots to become the banner song of the Jesus movement . I've been told that he wrote They'll Know We Are Christians for an event at his parish in the early 1960's. It appeared on this recording sponsored by his congregation.

Despite that tune’s popularity this South Side Chicago reverend’s lp remains relatively unknown. Not so much a solo lp as a collection of his songs performed by members of his congregation.

Hence a very homemade sound, with some songs like the title done almost like a Gregorian chant with folk backing. Others are performed by the Saint Brendan’s Choir who jam in a folky youth ensemble bossa nova style with guitars and flute while pounding away on conga drums, maracas, bongos, and temple blocks. A couple pleasant acoustic tunes with different lead singers. Includes selections from Missa Bossa Nova and Mass Of 67th Street (which adds sax to the mix). (Ken Scott - Archivist)


01. They'll Know We Are Christians
02. Take My Hand
03. Choose Life
04. There Once Was A Man
05. Lord Have Mercy - Missa Bossa Nova
06. Glory To God - Missa Bossa Nova
07. Holy, Holy - Missa Bossa Nova
08. Our Father - Missa Bossa Nova
09. Lamb Of God - Missa Bossa Nova
10. Open Up The Boxes
11. The Lord Bless You
12. Glory Be To Israel
13. Shout And Clap Your Hands
14. We Gather Together
15. Lord Have Mercy - Mass of 67th Street
16. Holy, Holy - Mass of 67th Street
17. Lamb Of God - Mass Of 67th Street

The title song They'll Know We are Christians is based on John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

This was the theme song of the Jesus Movement and more than likely sung at most gatherings. It's minor chord progression, tune and drum pattern now remind me of the archtypical Hollywood Indian theme music of 1950's Western movies. At the time I was playing and singing the song to groups that thought never occurred; I was more attuned to the lyrics.

Prior to the Jesus Movement, the Roman Catholic Church was introducing The Guitar Mass, which more than likely aided the impetus of this song.

I cannot find too much from a historical background on the tune. I do know that it was published by a group called F.E.L Music with a copyright date of 1966. F.E.L. was a publisher of religious songs and sheet music. They filed suit against the Diocese of Chicago in 1982. F.E.L. Publications. Ltd. v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 214 U.S.P.Q. (ENA) 409, 412 (7th Cir. 1982). This became a landmark case in copyright law.

In 1991 the copyright was assigned to Lorenz Publications which is another publisher of religious sheet music and choral arrangements.

Reverend Peter Scholtes is sometimes mistaken for some other authors that have the same name.

I am thankful that he allowed God to let him be a vessel at a time when we needed this song.

Some parts of this post were excerpted from the Ancient Star Song blog by Ken Scott

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