Thoughts on worship, congregational song
and the life of the church.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hymn Festival "New Shoots and Buds" (Part 1 of 2)

In July I had the immense pleasure of co-leading the closing hymn festival of the annual conference of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in Richmond, VA. I collaborated with Catholic composer and liturgist Tony Alonso to plan and lead the festival. This post is a recap of the selections; stay tuned for part 2 where I'll discuss some elements of our planning process, which we presented in a sectional workshop the afternoon before.

Hymn Festival:
New Shoots and Buds: New Directions in Congregational Song
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tony Alonso and Hilary Seraph Donaldson


"Today we celebrate the new, green shoots of congregational song: blossoms that are nurtured by strong roots running deep into the foundations of our faith.

The wealth of new song that has blossomed since Vatican II can teach us that periods of great change, vision, and even painful upheaval can bring with them new life and new understanding which we could not have imagined before.

The promise of Vatican II is the promise of Pentecost: Fifty years on, the Holy Spirit continues to challenge us to prayerfully renew the church’s song, in a spirit of mutual understanding. Rooted in the Gospel, we sing our faith in diverse languages that all may hear as their own, for we are one in Christ.

Come, Creating Spirit: fill our hearts, and inspire our song."

Veni Creator Spiritus    John Angotti (2004)
(World Library Publications)

Vamos peregrinos       Pedro Rubalcava (1994)
(World Library Publications)

Draw us together and make us one Mary Louise Bringle (2003)
To Sing the Artist’s Praise: Hymn Tunes of Sally Ann Morris (GIA, 2009), 24.


"Saint Francis of Assisi modeled a life of peace, austerity, and poverty. Describing his admiration for his namesake, Pope Francis has said with longing, "Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor."

The Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium called for variation and adaptations of the liturgy to reflect and celebrate the church outside the Western world, areas which it refers to as “mission lands.” Today, we recognize that these places – countries in Africa, East Asia, the South Pacific, and Latin America – no longer represent mission outposts, but are thriving and burgeoning in their Christian faith, the strong and blossoming shoots of the seed of the Gospel. We remember, also, that in vast disproportion these places are home to the world’s poor, hungry, and vulnerable.

In the words of Justo L. González, 'worship [in the spirit of Pentecost] must cross boundaries, so that those from one side of the boundary will be as much at home in the church as those from the other side. And this in turn implies that in Pentecost worship, the gospel will always be shared in such a way that power and control are also shared and even relinquished by its previous owners.'"

For the Troubles and the Sufferings                  Rudolfo Gaede Neto, English tr. and                                                                          adapt. Simei Monteiro and Jorge                                                                               Lockward (2004)
Global Songs for Worship (ed. Greg Scheer, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Faith Alive,  


All peoples clap your hands                           Paschal Jordan, OS
With Many Voices (Binary Editions, 2001)

Many and great are bearers of the Word       Ricky Manalo, CSP (1995)
(Oregon Catholic Press)
Solo: Kristen Hanna


These words come to us from Joseph, Cardinal Bernardin:

At this table we put aside every worldly separation based on culture, class, or other differences.  Baptized, we no longer admit to distinctions based on age or sex or race or wealth.  This communion is why all prejudice, all racism, all sexism, or deference to wealth and power must be banished from our parishes, our homes, our lives.” (...)

Will the Circle Be Unbroken      Tony Alonso (2007)
(GIA Publications)

We are coming, Lord, to the table       Sierra Leone, arr. Greg Scheer (2008)
Global Songs for Worship (General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, 2010)


La paz de la tierra / The peace of the earth be with you        Guatemalan text; trans. Christine Carson (2005)
(Wild Goose Resource Group/GIA, distributor)                   

“We will not keep silent” – Walter Brueggemann

We are people who must sing you,
            for the sake of our very lives.
We are witnesses to your mercy and splendor;
            We will not keep silent... ever again. Amen. 

The Trumpet in the Morning (Song for the Millennium) Rory Cooney (1998)
(GIA Publications, Inc.)
Solo: Suzi Byrd

We will go out with joy             Andrew and Hilary Donaldson (2001)
With Many Voices (Binary Editions, 2001)

Schola: Megan Mash (flute, piano), Kristen Hanna, Sipkje Pesnichak (oboe), Wendy Donaldson, Suzi Byrd, Andrew Donaldson (guitar), Brian Hehn (percussion), Thomas Wesley Moore, Jonathan Hehn, Greg Scheer (bass), Becca Whitla (trumpet), Pat Henry (trumpet)
Reader: John Thornburg

Photo credit: Glen Richardson

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