Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gimme that old time religion

This evening I had the great privilege of singing in an ensemble that helped lead our bi-annual church Hymn Sing. It was a riot! People had come from all over the northwestern Chicago area to attend, and the place was packed. I would guess the average attendees' age to be around 70, but what great singing! People say you lose your singing voice as you get older, but after tonight, I don't believe it. I suspect many left with very hoarse voices indeed.

Some of the songs we sang I hadn't heard sung in years; like, Shall We Gather At the River, Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus, I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever, and When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. We sang several contemporary songs as well; Beautiful Savior by Stuart Townend, a great favorite of mine, was one of them. And to accompany all this great gospel singing were two grand pianos, a large pipe organ, trombone, bass guitar, drums, tambourine, harp, and flute.

This was my first time to sing at the Hymn Sing, but I hope it's not my last. What a wonderful evening. It rather reminded me of my radio days when I sang in the Back to the Bible Youth Choir. Now I have fond memories of both.


  1. Hymn? What's that? this is the day of "praise" songs with their simple redundant tunes and repetitive lyrics. No parts, no skill, no thought.

    Ok, maybe I exaggerate. Several newer praise songs have catchy tunes with meaningful lyrics that actually inspire praise and worship. But others, at least at the churches we've attended lately, are downright painful. I like to scan the crowd during the less praiseworthy tunes to see who's trying to sing along and how many are just waiting it out (like me). Mostly it will be the older generation (60 +) just waiting for the next song, probably hoping for an old favorite hymn. While many of the younger crowd seem to be really into it or at least trying.

    We listen to many artists at home and in our vehicles that that we enjoy but that would not, in my opinion, be appropriate for Sunday morning worship. I expect some would find our tastes in music, well, distasteful. I miss the hymns. They may be old fashioned but they're non-offensive. Many are thought provoking and just about everyone can find a part to sing that's within their vocal range. And forget the big screen too. I'd rather follow along in the hymnal.

  2. Hi Tim! Roger wants to know whether you consider yourself part of the older generation. I think you just must be feeling sentimental about the Back to the Bible Youth Choir like I am.

    But really, I agree with you. So many of the old hymns have wonderful lyrics. And I love listening to all the different parts being sung. This Hymn Sing was a pretty popular event. And there were young people sprinkled in amongst the older generation. Maybe hymns are making a comeback...?