Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hymns in the News

A few hymn-related articles have caught my eye in recent days that you might be interested to read.

On Friday, the website of the Baptist Press brought tidings of a new online resource for hymn researchers. The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is starting the process of scanning their 400 rare hymnals (in a library of 5000+) to make them available on the web. Though at present they seem to have scanned less than ten percent of their collection, they have started a Center for Hymnological Research where you (or I) can view or downlead them. It sounds like many of these have not previously been available online, and are older than the majority of hymnals you can see at Google Books or the Internet Archive (which are mostly nineteenth century or newer).  The article is also quite informative about the process of scanning books for online posting, if you've ever wondered about that.

From Wisconsin, the Wausau Daily Herald brought news of a concert held last Sunday in tribute to hymnwriter and composer Joy F. Patterson, who is celebrating her 85th birthday and her fortieth year of creating congregational song. Patterson's congregation (since the 1950s), the First Presbyterian Church of Wausau, filled their "Afternoon of Joy" with her hymns and choir anthems, which have been sung across several denominations and across the country.  According to their Facebook page, it was a "most festive event."

I know that many readers here are church musicians themselves, and understand the unique, powerful, and long-lived commitment that we often see in each other. For this reason, I always like to see those commitments recognized (personal shout-out to Merion F!).  Last month, the Mankato Free Press told the story of Iris Davis of Lewisville, MN, who was retiring as the organist of Zion Lutheran Church after 65 years and "thousands of hymns." She plans to continue teaching piano lessons and to write her autobiography -- I wish her the best.

Eight Years Ago: Saint James of Jerusalem

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