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Hymns as Poems: What Do They Mean without Music?

I was recently gifted a book of the poetry of George Herbert. Herbert was a seventeenth-century aristocrat-turned-deacon in the Church of England whose English-language poems were published posthumously. Herbert’s almost exclusively Christian poetry is a beautiful expression of faith. Herbert captures the wonder of God’s love for us, the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and the joy of our salvation again and again. In his work, in fact, his poems remind me of our hymnal and the poetic expressions of faith captured therein. Reading his poetry inspired me to think of hymns as poems as well.

Hymn of the Month: One Thing’s Needful


Music of the Month: Go, My Children, with My Blessing

Composed in commemoration of the centennial of the birth of Jaroslav J. Vajda (1919–2008), Kevin Hildebrand’s setting of the favorite hymn is flexible for SATB or two-part choir or soloists, organ, optional congregation, flute, and strings.

Five-Step Summer Plan for Music Teachers and Directors

It’s 8:46 on a Sunday morning, and I’m still in my pajamas sipping coffee and listening to the birds outside my sun-filled apartment as I write. No choir obligations, no classroom work looming for the after-church hours, no rush to get the laundry done today, no urgent Sunday-evening meal prepping to anticipate.

How the Season after Pentecost Illustrates the Life of the Church

After the festivals of Pentecost and the Holy Trinity, the Church begins its longest yet perhaps least-celebrated season of the Church Year: the season after Pentecost. What comes at the end of the post-Pentecost calendar is not one of the Church’s grand festivals, but rather, a reminder that the end times are near. In this way, the season after Pentecost reflects the Church’s life as faithful members in Christ.

Music of the Month: To Live Is Christ

Benjamin M. Culli’s exquisite SAATB a cappella anthem uses a text by Lisa M. Clark. Inspired by Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” this piece features a soaring tune that is supported by close, rich harmonies.

Musical Literacy, Sightreading, and the Church

Can you comprehend a world without literacy? Think for a moment about a world in which only a small percentage can read and a smaller percentage can read well. If we church musicians also consider music essential to life, should we not also consider music literacy, especially in the form of sightreading, an indispensable skill for any budding, and accomplished, musician?

The Rhythm of Worship

You know your relationship is going really well when one of you says, “Can we do this for the rest of our lives?” This is more than just a perfect date or that thirtieth wedding anniversary vacation to Hawaii. Those are good times too, but it’s really wonderful when an ordinary day together that ends with macaroni and cheese leaves you saying, “Can we do this forever?”

Highlights of Our 2019 New Music Releases

Our new music for 2019 became available last Wednesday! At the end of this post, you can browse the catalog to see all the pieces. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights as you start choosing your church’s new music for the coming year.

Reflecting on Holy Week Music after Easter

Holy Week, that crowning week of the Church Year taking us through the Passion of our Lord to His glorious resurrection, has passed and with it some of the most beautiful and wonderful music many of us hear in church during the year. I invite you to take a moment to reflect on that music and to revel in your recollection.