Welcome to the CMI June hymn festival choir page!
Hymns are often biblical scriptures of praise and prayer that, when set to music, can be remembered far longer than words spoken or heard. Hymns provide comfort and wisdom whether sung in solitude or with a church congregation.
“All Times and Places: Praise the Lord!” is the theme of a hymn festival 7 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2019, at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth. Sponsored by the Church Music Institute (CMI), Brite Divinity School and the church, the free hymn festival features choral and congregational singing.
"The Christian faith is a sung faith," CMI executive director Charlotte Kroeker, Ph.D., said, "a tradition as long as Old Testament mandates to ‘Sing to the Lord.’”
The hymn festival is a component of a CMI course on hymnody and a sacred music workshop that continues the following day. "It's far more effective to actually sing these hymns in addition to talking about them," said hymn festival coordinator and renowned sacred music authority Rev. Dr. David M. Cherwien. Reflections on the selected hymns will be presented by Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer, prolific writer on church music. “Both come from the Lutheran tradition, imbued with a theology of music articulated by Martin Luther who said music is a gift from God second only to Scripture,” Dr. Kroeker said.
"Hymns have evolved: from the Psalter to Hebrew Chant to Gregorian Chant to churches of the Reformation and so on," Rev. Dr. Cherwien said. "And in our day, we are more and more aware of hymns that come from a wide range of cultures, embodying the musical culture and accompaniments of those cultures."
Singing hymns with a congregation "helps draw the worshipper into the hymn and its meaning far more effectively," he said.
Festival hymns include Creator of the Stars of Night, a Sarum plainsong from 9th century Britain. "It will be sung mostly a cappella," Rev. Dr. Cherwien said, "but each stanza will be preceded by an organ improvisation which will illustrate that text. This is one of the first ways the organ was used in conjunction to the church's song."
Other hymns span the centuries, to the contemporary Light Dawns on a Weary World and the Latin American Alleluia! Christ is Arisen.
"Anyone who loves good music and likes to sing should attend the Festival in Fort Worth," Dr. Kroeker said. "Christians in particular will be inspired to renew their faith as they sing and reflect on hymn texts of spiritual depth set to creative, inspired music."
The acclaimed North Texas choral ensemble, The Texas Boys Choir, will sing the festival prelude starting at 6.40pm.
Will you consider singing with us?
The choir is limited to the first 60 registrants.
Rehearsal time: Thursday, 13 June, 7pm in the choir loft at St Stephen.
Performance time: Friday, 14 June, 7pm (call time TBD)
Registration to sing costs $10 to cover a packet of music. Please register here and select "Hymn Festival Music Packet for Festival Singers" to register. Or email Benjamin Kolodziej for more information.
The choir will be involved in creative arrangements of the following hymns. Choir directors will certainly be able to pick up ideas to apply with their own choirs:
Click to hear a partita composed and performed by David Cherwien. At the hymn festival, choir and congregation will sing with organ variations interspersed.
Another organ interpretation from David Cherwien.
A joyful French tune.
A sprightly Swedish melody on an Advent text. Sung here by the First Plymouth Congregational Church choir, Lincoln, NE, Tom Trenney, organist.
This grand Victorian hymn, sung here by the choir of Westminster Abbey, will sound forth in our own arrangement in the spacious St Stephen sanctuary.
The hymn festival will present music from all times and places, including this great spiritual. Click to hear it sung by the St. Olaf choir under the direction of Anton Armstrong.
This twenty-first century text is paired with a twenty-first century tune, and is a prayer for peace in Christ. Click to hear it sung by The Oxford Choir.
With a text by Susan Palo Cherwien and the music from esteemed composer Carl Schalk, this hymn, sung here by the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, is a contribution from recent years.
Luis Bojo wrote this Spanish hymn text which is coupled to a sprightly melody.
This hauntingly beautiful Korean hymn is here performed again by the choir of Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln, NE.
This now-classic Herbert Brokering text, famously used in various academic settings, will enthusiastically conclude our evening's hymn festival.