The Many (themanyarehere.com) is a liturgically-grounded, new kind of worship band, an intentionally diverse collective creating music for people who want to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with a God who so loves the world. With a sound that resonates with gospel, pop, and folk, The Many’s feet-on-the-ground, heart-in-hands, scars-revealed, wild and holy music of resistance and hope have made them, over the last five years, a significant creative voice in the movement for inclusion, anti-racism and justice-building within the church and beyond.
The Many led music and worship at last year’s Festival of Homiletics, and have also created and led creative liturgy at The Wild Goose Festival, the Sojourner Summit, the Progressive Youth Conference, and for annual denominational conferences, seminaries and churches across the country. Their song “All Belong Here” has become the communion anthem for a wide range of faith communities around the world, and their two main songwriters, Hannah Rand and Lenora Rand, were named by The Center For Congregational Song as “two of the top 25 women songwriters you should know.”
They have several EPs and two full albums, “All Belong Here” (2017) and “Love > Fear” (2019) as well as a 10-song collection for kids and families called “Rise” (2020), written originally for Shine Curriculum, a Mennonite Sunday School curriculum. They’ve collaborated with A Sanctified Art, a collective making creative, progressive resources for worship, and have written and produced original songs for this group’s Advent 2020 and Lent 2021 offerings.
With music crafted for people to sing together, in congregations, small groups and wherever people gather to pray, imagine, hope for and work towards a new way and a new day, The Many grew out of the worship renewal group, The Plural Guild, a cooperative of musicians, writers, artists, poets, pastors and theologians developing creative resources for the church. As author Brian McLaren has said of them: “The Plural Guild and their band, The Many, write beautiful songs, they compose rich litanies and liturgies, they sing, they lead … and most important, they embody the kind of spirituality and commitments that we all need. Every time I am with them, my soul is filled up and I am reminded why what we all do matters.”
During this time of isolation because of COVID-19, The Many have been leading regular online gatherings called LAMENT TOGETHER, a space to share loss and fears and prayers for the world, through music, scripture, and litany, available on Facebook and YouTube. Learn more about those here.
They have also been creating lyric videos, guided prayer times, spoken word pieces and other devotional pieces that churches can use in online worship. To find out more about The Many and The Plural Guild visit PluralGuild.com
Hannah Rand is the main songwriter and one of the lead singers in The Many. An ASCAP award-winning graduate of the songwriting program at Belmont University, at 17 Hannah won a Grammy Foundation contest with her song “Start Over” and most recently, her song “All Belong Here” was chosen to be included in the Hymn Society of America’s collection, “Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA+ Community.” She also writes music for solo performance as well as for film and TV.
Darren Calhoun is an Associate Fellow with Christians for Social Action and the worship leader at Chicago’s Urban Village Church as well as for conferences like Q Christian Fellowship and The Reformation Project. A sought-after speaker and workshop leader, blogger and activist on topics like anti-racism, LGBTQ+ identity in worship and church trauma, he works to help communities and churches become more inclusive of a diversity of people and expressions, as an authentic reflection of love and justice.
Leslie Michele, a classically trained musician steeped in music that has grown out of the Black American experience has performed as a solo artist all over the globe and has dedicated herself to creating performances that help bring about the healing and restoration of the world. Along with singing with The Many, she helps lead worship at various churches, and does solo vocal performance work. Leslie is also an actor and has most recently been starring in 1619: The Journey of a People, a musical theater piece about the story, struggles and heroes of America’s African sons and daughters.
Gary Rand produces and writes songs for The Many and co-directs The Plural Guild, consulting with churches on worship renewal and leading workshops at seminaries and conferences on creating worship that more deeply reflects a just, inclusive & open faith. Formerly the worship and arts director at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Church, he was also Director of Worship Activities and Adjunct Professor in Worship at McCormick Theological Seminary for 20 years.
Lenora Rand is the lyricist for The Many and one of the directors and liturgy-creators of The Plural Guild. Her blog, Spiritual Suckitude, has been featured on the Chicago Tribune’s blogging platform and she’s been a regular contributor to RedLetterChristians.org. Lenora also leads meaning and vision workshops for individuals and organizations and is the co-founder of SmallGood, a branding/marketing consultancy for positive-impact companies, nonprofits and churches.