Lytingale (Lois Henrickson)
A prolific songwriter (about 400+ songs – I stopped counting!) and versatile musician (vocals, keyboards, guitar, flute, alto flute, dulcimer, hand drums, and awesome kazoo), “Lyte” has produced 3 albums (Home To My Heart on CD & Cassette, and Altar of Love and Inspirations on Cassette) plus various single songs and instrumental pieces, with downloads of some songs available at Lytingale.com. Sheet music is available from Lytingale Music. She is also the author of a workshop and book on reshaping and updating church music called Growing Your Church Music Program.
She has used her clear soprano voice for all styles of music, from rock to opera, blues & jazz to musical theatre.
Born in Farmington, Connecticut, she took voice lessons at Hartt School of Music, performed in school concerts and shows, and did roles for Myth Farmington community theater.
As a freshman at Ithaca College, she was featured in their Opera Workshop (performing “The Bell Song” from Lakme in a sari and body makeup!) She transferred to the University of Connecticut where she graduated summa cum laude, University Scholar, with a major in Music Education (voice)… singing Mozart and madrigals for classes, and Grace Slick with a rock band on weekends. In Richmond VA and Washington DC she performed in a folk duo called Crystal Blue Breeze.
Lyte has performed roles in musical theater at Asheville Community Theater (Agnes in I Do, I Do, Agnes Gooch in Mame, a singing raven in The Robber Bridegroom, and incidental music for some other show I don’t remember). She has sung as soloist with The Asheville Choral Society, the North Carolina Symphony, and The Johnson City (TN) Symphony.
She currently composes, accompanies, arranges, and sings with Womansong, Asheville’s oldest and largest women’s community chorus. Two of Lyte’s original songs appear on their CD “Everybody Got Her Own.” Lyte’s song “With Great Love” was chosen to be performed by a 300-voice mass choir at Sister Singers Network Festival 2010 in Chicago (sheet music available). Her song “I Will Carry You” is the title track on Womansong’s 2012 CD, and two of her songs (“Dinner” and “My Sisters”) appear on Womansong’s 2017 CD “Turn The World Around.”
Lyte’s songs have been widely used throughout Unity, and have been published in a Unity hymnal (“I Am Love”) and in the Association of Unity Churches’ songbook Songs From A World Awakening, Volume I (“Hold Me In Your Arms, Mother Earth,” “I Open My Life,” and “Spirit’s Journey”). “We Are All Friends Here” has been used as a welcome song in many Unity churches, and “The Greatest Gift” is also sung in several churches of other denominations.
From 1983 to 2015, Lytingale served various roles at the Unity Center in Mills River, NC:
- Editor for the Unity News & Views, a quarterly 20-page tabloid newspaper,
- Webmaster, creating and maintaining a 200+-page spiritual journal website, and
- Minister of Music (leader of The Unitic Band, Choir Director)
- Director and performer for nine annual “Unity Plays Broadway” Shows
- Coordinator for a Unity Concert Series, where she also performed in several of the concerts, including “Unitics Go Classic.”
Lytingale officiates at weddings, and has given talks and workshops. She sings at many wedding ceremonies, at area Unitarian-Universalist churches, has been a frequent performer at the annual UMMAS Retreat, and has performed for other regional and national Unity conferences.
Lytingale lives in beautiful western North Carolina, where her now-deceased husband, Rev. Chad O’Shea, was minister at Unity Center. They are the parents of two talented children, Michael O’Shea (performing as Kinjac and with Bombay Gasoline; mixing/mastering engineer and owner at Seven Moths Productions) and Kathryn O’Shea (Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Puppeteer, Theatre Director.)