I am near Minneapolis at the moment, here for my second time at the annual conference of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, which begins this afternoon. As you can see, we'll be at St. Olaf's College, and I'm looking forward to another great week of singing and learning (you can the full schedule of workshops and other sessions).
One new aspect of the program this year is that most of the hymn festivals (big sings!) will be streamed online for anyone to watch and listen. You can go to the St. Olaf's multimedia page each day and the links will be there to access the program.
Sunday, July 12: We Sing Our Story: A Sing for Joy Hymn Festival
John Ferguson and Bruce Benson, Coordinators; 7:30 pm CDT
Monday, July 13: Into the Way of Peace
Carl P. Daw, Jr., Coordinator; Mark G. Meyer, Organist; 7:30 pm CDT
Wednesday, July 15: Giving Life to the Word: Hymns on Parables
Tina Schneider, Scott Foxwell, and Adam M. L. Tice, Coordinators; 7:30 pm CDT
Thursday, July 16: Youthful Hearts: Sing to the Lord!
Paul Westermeyer, Coordinator; David Cherwien, Organist; 10:30 am CDT
Remember -- all times are Central Daylight!
If I figure out where the camera is, maybe I'll wave...
Sunday Night UPDATE: Things are off to a good start, though I am trying not to take it as a bad omen that the first hymn we sang tonight was missing its final verse! The hymnal used (the one in the chapel pews here at St. Olaf's) is the newish Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and apparently its editors think author Henry Van Dyke went on too long -- they only wanted three verses. Here's the last, in case you were watching and missed it too.
Mortals, join the mighty chorus
Which the morning stars began;
All God's love is reigning o'er us,
Kindred love binds hand to hand.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph-song of life!
I feel better now. We also sang The Canticle of the Turning, a modern version of the Magnificat that commenter Leland mentioned to us back on May 31, 2008. And there were some other new, interesting texts as well as old favorites. Toward the end, the climax of the evening came with Shall we gather at the river. The weather here is quite hot, and I was thinking about author Robert Lowry's uncomfortable Brooklyn summer that prompted the writing of that hymn, and also about singing it on hot summer nights in New York myself many years ago.
Early to bed; it's going to be a busy week.