In one way or another, we covered a lot of bases with our church music last Sunday. It was a wild ride. But that's one thing I like about our church. From Deck Thyself My Soul with Gladness to Shout to the Lord, from What Star is this with Beams so Bright to How Great Thou Art, from There's a Wideness in God's Mercy to a couple I'll highlight:
First, our choir anthem, Praise His Holy Name by Keith Hampton (earthsongs).
We arrived early at church, and having discovered that the processional hymn was a new one to us, I plunked it out on the piano several times before the director arrived. It may sound easy, but it is decidedly not if you've never heard it before. Mercifully, he took it down a whole third from what is written in our hymnal.
I would never have guessed that Lift Every Voice and Sing was an African-American song, much less the "Black National Anthem" as it is sometimes called. Not knowing the tempo at which it is apparently usually sung (judging by the YouTube recordings I listened to), I took it at a faster clip, and would have guessed it to be a World War I era song, or maybe something from the Salvation Army. If you listen to it and note that the middle part sounds like the more militant parts of Les Miserables, be assured that this was written in 1899/1900 by James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson.
The experience reminded my very much of singing with grandson Joseph, who chooses hymns not by name, but by number, providing an interesting tour through the more obscure parts of the hymnal. Fun!
UPDATE 11/2/19 Once again, the automated updating of Flash videos to iframe cut out a chunk of the post, but I don't have time to worry about it now.