Monday, December 6, 2010

Hymn Histories

I confess I LOVE old time hymns! These are the songs I grew up with in church. These are the songs I can remember my grandfather standing in front of the congregation leading the congregation, “beating time” (fundamental for conducting) in a passionate display of worship. These hymns "reveal the faith of those who lived throughout history. In this book, Then Sings My Soul, Rev. Robert Morgan explored the stories behind some of the best-loved hymns and was fascinated by the accounts of tribulations, triumphs, struggles and hope - ordinary people who connected with God in amazing ways, sharing their experiences through song."

Of the 150 songs explored in this offering, most are somewhat familiar if you've got a little history with traditional church music. Many of the songs that were unfamiliar to me still had intriguing stories that I enjoyed. For each hymn, there was one page of the actual music and lyrics and then a second page with a story about the author and the song. To actually be able to play from this book, however, it would be better if it was spiral bound and could stand open.
Overall I found this book to be inspiring as I was given a window into some of the most powerful hymns of the Christian faith. As a songwriter I really enjoyed reading the back-story of what led these writers to create and craft songs that have had a lasting impact on our world.
As a fledgling pianist, I also love the fact that every song whose story was portrayed also had sheet music available within the book. So, not only was I able to read this book, but I was able to play the songs within it as well! I was in Heaven! =)

I really like that there are complete indices by hymn title, first line and songwriter at the back of the book. This is very valuable when doing a quick search for a particular hymn or carol. I like the special soft cover, French flap cover design, jagged edged paper, which gives it a classic feel. I loved the write-ups on each hymn whether about the writer of the lyrics or the composer of the melody. There are helpful teaching illustrations and introductory remarks for song leaders, music ministers, volunteers and lay leaders. These hymns have stood the test of time!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It would make an excellent Christmas gift for pastors, music ministers, musicians and Christians in general as a personal or family devotional. One hymn and its story for each new day!

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers for an advance reading as part of their Booksneeze bloggers program . I was not required to write a positive review and therefore, the book review is 100% my own opinion.

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