After finally getting to peruse the book in hand, I have renewed my acquaintance with songs we sang months ago. I second many previous picks including 184 Sinai (my favorite fugue), 334 Gethsemane (we opened with this stark, minor Abraham Wood composition for an Easter Sunrise service one year), and 22b Psalm 30 (possibly my favorite song in the book).
I also recommend the following:
- 344 Springfield – this Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony song by Babcock combines powerful and moving poetry with strong composition and a well-constructed time change.
- 274 Zion – another fine composition from Daniel Read that we found in the Kentucky Harmony; the words are a powerful part of the experience.
- 18t Canaan – this three-part major song is a cheerful, melodic tune from Johnson’s Tennessee Harmony.
- 130 Absent Love – a stark, plaintive minor with soaring notes that lift it is arranged by the Virginian Robert Boyd. It was known as “Judgment” in the Kentucky Harmony; we paired it with a new text and title to boost the song to a new level.
- 358 Dance in the Sky – a lively new composition by John Fedderson, who is a percussionist in the North Carolina Symphony; watch for those 3rd beat entrances. It needs practice to get it up to speed, but worth it!
- 8 Sweet Messenger – this sweet melodic tune with fine text is from the Southern & Western Pocket Harmonist, a 5 1/2″x 8 1/2″ tune book, which was packed with favorites in 1846. You really could carry it in your pocket while heading out for the frontier!
- 54 Walworth – a Christmas song with unfamiliar poetic text. We have over thirty Christmas themed songs in the book. [A version of this song, called “Christians, Awake!” is sung every year by the Glen Rock Carolers in Glen Rock, PA, in an English-Pennsylvanian tradition dating back to the 1840s. Check out 111 Hark, Hark for another of their songs, in print for the first time. -Rachel]
- 85 The Harvest Field – a three part folk tune from the Social Harp has nice harmonies and great words
- 362 Westminster – a great pairing of words and music in this rollicking major fugue by Nehemiah Shumway. We found our favorite version in the second edition of Kentucky Harmony.
- 249 Spring Valley – a lively, melodic fugue which we sang at the Capitol Hill singing in DC on 19 March. It went well!