Out of Many We Are One

2011 NAMMY Award Winner

Best Song Single of the Year

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we-are-oneInspiration comes in many forms for artists like Thomasina Levy and Joanie Spear, two accomplished Litchfield musicians who have collaborated on a unique project based on the words of a president. Personal experiences, daily routines, family and friends, and nature are just some of the themes that have supplied stimulus for the work of Levy and Spear.

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In 2008, Levy and Spear  created a song about the importance of coming together in the interest of democracy. "Out of Many We Are One" is a song for and about America that speaks about the need for Americans to find common ground in a difficult time. "We believe in the ideals of democracy; we believe everyone wants peace, freedom of expression and opportunity," the women wrote in a description of their work. The song, they continued, is a reminder of the American credo of "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." 

"Right now we face a turning point, so let's seize the moment," they wrote. "We rise or fall as one nation, as one people." It was Levy who sparked the idea for the song. Listening to the acceptance speech Obama gave in Chicago, she was struck by one line, "This is our moment, this is our time."


The musicians are hopeful that those who hear it will gain a greater appreciation for the American way of life and will be moved to distribute the song and its message. "I do have a hope that it will inspire my fellow citizens to begin dialogues about what it means to be an American," Levy said. "Dialogue is defined as a formal discussion or negotiation including opposing sides in a political context."

The Founding Fathers, she said, had lively and contentious debates in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and didn't agree on all points. In the end, however, they compromised and a more perfect union was the result. That kind of compromise is what's needed now, according to Levy. "Our country is at a transition point, and transitions are difficult and anxiety-provoking," she said. "Perhaps this song will help make the transition easier." Added Spear: "I hope that people will want to sing it and make it their own. Maybe it can remind us of what we truly want in our lives. I hope it makes these times easier and more full of community."

Levy and Spear have had long careers as singer/songwriters, composers and performers. The Connecticut State Troubadour in 2005-06, Levy has played her mountain dulcimer at venues across the country, has been a teaching artist with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and has studied with master cellist David Darling. Spear, with a music degree from Yale, has also studied with David Darling and has been a composer for film, theater and dance productions.

They were joined in creating "Out of One We Are Many" by a talented group of musicians including David Darling, producer Tommy Skarupa, bass player Dave Anderson, vocalist Bill Lauf, flutist Joseph Fire Crow, and vocalists Rachel Rubin, Robert Brereton, Galen Brandt, Jonah Spear and Kiira Schmidt. David Darling donated studio time at his Camp David Studios in Goshen, CT.  Joining Tommy Skarupa of Tskarupa Productions for the engineering and final mix of the song was Lou Giordano of Black Dog Studio. The song was recorded at Tapeworks Recording Studio in Hartford. CT.

"One of the most gratifying things about the experience of creating this song was how all of the singers, instrumentalists and studios donated their creative efforts and time for little or no cost," Levy and Spear wrote. "Everybody was enthusiastic about becoming involved in a project with a theme that spoke of unifying our country with a song."

Out of Many We Are One*

The dream of our founders is alive in our time
Our work has just begun
We’ll endure what storms will come our way
Out of many we are one

Risk takers, doers, makers of things
Our work has just begun
We settled the West & we plowed the Earth
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one


We have come so far
We have seen so much
There is so much more to do
We will pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off
A nation born anew
A nation born anew

Let’s harness the sun & wind & soil
Our work has just begun
And lay a new foundation for growth
Out of many we are one

Young and old, rich and poor
Our work has just begun
Extend your hand, unclench your fist
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one


This is our moment, this is our time
Our work has just begun
Great is the challenge, steep is the climb
Out of many we are one

The dream of our founders is alive in our time
Our work has just begun
We’ll endure what storms will come our way
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one
Out of many we are one

Original Song by Thomasina Levy & Joan Berliner Spear
© Jo’Sina Songs, June 2009
* Lyrics inspired by Barack Obama’s Speeches

Musicians, Engineers Etc. 

Thomasina Levy- composer, music, mountain dulcimer, lead vocal, producer


Connecticut State Troubadour, 2005/2006, is a singer, song writer and mountain dulcimer player who has performed throughout the U.S. in a variety of venues. Her unique and complex adaptation of the instrument with its sweet simple sound has become one of her trademarks. Her work as a teaching artist with the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism, and her studies in Improvisation with cello master, David Darling and Music for People reaffirm her belief that music is in each one of us and is just waiting for the right time to emerge. She has been instrumental in helping to bring students, teachers, and other musicians together to celebrate the joy of making music in workshops at festivals, schools, and libraries throughout the United States.

Joan Berliner Spear- composer, music, piano, vocals, producer


Joanie is a Yale School of Music graduate and a singer/songwriter, as well as a composer for film, theater and dance using electronic and live instrumentation.  She enjoys supporting people in finding the right ideas and words in their songs and particularly enjoys the creative possibilities of building a harmonic back-up to a well-written tune.

Tommy Skarupa (tskarupa productions) - Engineer, co- producer

Producer and engineer for countless albums and artists including David Darling and Paul Winter.

David Darling- cello, co-producer, www.daviddarling.com

Grammy winning recording artist and producer… former member of the Paul Winter Consort… has six solo albums and appearances with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Spyro Gyra, the Paul Winter Consort, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Kater and R.Carlos Nakai represent nearly every musical genre and every conceivable way a human can communicate via stringed instrument. David has dedicated himself to teaching music and improvisation through Music For People (www.musicforpeople.org) an organization he co-founded in 1986. Music for people is a non-profit educational network to teach and foster improvisation as a means of creative self-expression. Through Music for People, workshops, trainings and special events Darling and the MfP Staff have encouraged and reached thousands of musicians. Darling ‘s latest release, A Prayer for Compassion, won him the highly coveted and respected Grammy award.

Joseph Fire Crow- Native American flute and chant www.josephfirecrow.com

Joseph is a Grammy nominated and NAMMY award winning Cheyenne Flutist. Fire Crow has appeared many times as a guest musician on recordings by other musicians in the industry. In addition to his Grammy nomination, Fire Crow has earned top honors among his peers in the Native American Music Awards (NAMA) organization. In 2003, he received the NAMA "Song Writer of the Year" award for Legend of the Warrior. In 2005, Fire Crow was recognized for his work with the Billings Symphony, taking home the NAMA award for "Best Instrumental Recording." He was the 2006 recipient of NAMA's "Flutist of the Year" award for his work on Red Beads. Some of Fire Crow's music is included on the soundtrack of the Ken Burns documentary Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.

Dave Anderson- electric bass, production consultant, www.daveandersonbass.com

In over twenty five years of professional bass playing, New Fairfield, CT resident, Dave Anderson has worked with so many notable musical artists that even a listing of highlights needs to be broken into genres: In pop/R&B/blues: Michael McDonald; Art Garfunkel; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Patti Austin; James Ingram; Ashford & Simpson; The 5th Dimension; Little Anthony & The Imperials; Petula Clark; Deniece Williams; Darlene Love; Phoebe Snow; Andrea McArdle; Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis; The Crystals; The Shirelles; The Drifters; Taj Mahal; Rory Block... In contemporary jazz and fusion: Special EFX; Bill Evans; Chuck Loeb; Warren Hill; Marion Meadows; Richard Elliot; Hiram Bullock; Jeff Golub; Philippe Saisse; Will Downing; Nelson Rangell; Bob Baldwin; Craig Chaquico; Walter Beasley; Peter White; Joe Beck; Dave Samuels; Regina Carter; Tony Purrone; Bob Mintzer...not to mention sui generis legends Rosemary Clooney and Billy Eckstine, folk/rockabilly with Kate Taylor; symphonic concerts with Broadway crossover star Linda Eder, two Broadway shows (Hairspray and Lennon), five discs with top-selling Celtic group Cherish The Ladies – and a discography as a session player of over fifty albums and counting.


Bill Lauf- lead male vocal, background vocals

Danbury native Bill Lauf Jr. is a tenor (four-string) guitarist who has been writing amazing songs and performing for more than 40 years. During the past two decades, in addition to solo work, he has performed and recorded with Susan Osborn, former lead singer with the Paul Winter Consort. Recently, he’s co-starred with multi instrumentalist and former Arlo Guthrie sideman Gordon Titcomb.


Rachel Rubin- Young Lead Vocal

Rachel is a sophomore in high school and a member of her school's Chamber Choir. She plays the guitar, and has been studying classical voice for three years. She is currently studying voice music with Laura Mashburn, of Litchfield.


Robert Brereton- background vocals www.robertbrereton.com

Rob Brereton is considered one of the pioneers in contemporary mountain dulcimer playing. His years of studying classical guitar have polished his playing style while his degree in music theory and composition has given him a fresh approach to arranging. Rob teaches K-6 music in several schools and has many private students. He also composes and directs several choirs near his home in Sherman, CT.


Galen Brandt- background vocals,http://www.virtualgalen.com/


Lou Giordano/Black Dog Studio- engineer, mixing

South Salem, NY resident, Lou Giordano has produced countless artists and albums in a variety of musical genres. Lou's DIY ethic was forged at Boston's Fort Apache Studios in the late 80's when, after two world tours in three years with Husker Du, he quit the road and made Fort Apache his home base. After years of producing seminal recordings for MISSION OF BURMA, THE LEMONHEADS, KING MISSILE and, of course, multiple titles for BOB MOULD and SUGAR. Lou struck multi-platinum with the GOO GOO DOLLS. Since that time, Lou has been in constant demand as a producer and mixer. Artists and albums include: Ashbury, Belly, Bim Skala Bim, Boys Night Out, Deep Wound, DYS, Goo Goo Dolls, Hüsker Dü, Jewel, King Missile, Live, Millencolin, Mission of Burma, Moving Targets, Negative FX, Paul Westerberg, Pere Ubu, Greeley Estates, Samiam, Sherwood, Siege, Small Ball Paul, S.S.Decontrol, A Static Lullaby, Sugar, The Connells, Sunny Day Real Estate, Taking Back Sunday, The Ataris, The Lemonheads, The Smithereens, Treble Charger, What now, Yo La Tengo, Halifax, The Bats, Waking Ashland, Plain White T's, The Color Fred


Jonah Spear- background vocals


Kiira Schmidt- background vocals

Doug Kupper/Bill Ahearn/Tapeworks Recording Studio- donation of the studio for the final mixing session. TAPEWORKS, www.tapeworksinc.com, is Hartford's premiere recording studio. This award-winning studio produces music stemming from a wide variety of musical styles ranging from Reggae to Hip Hip to Classical music, with a special affinity for contemporary folk music.