Selecting Music for Community Worship
What about new hymns?
It's always interesting to learn new hymns, and the Anglican community Eucharist at Saint Paul University is the perfect place to try something new. In fact, we have something of a tradition of learning new hymns, and (within reason) I'm willing to try anything.
To select hymns, first of all look at the text. Just because it's in Common Praise doesn't mean that it is suitable to be sung at a Thursday eucharist. For example, many hymns that are useful in an informal setting like Cursillo are not appropriate for a formal Eucharist such as we celebrate at Saint Paul University.
Consider the text carefully: does it speak clearly and beautifully, in a way which will touch people without being obvious or in-your-face? Please avoid antiquated poetry with inverted verbs; for example,
Ye gates lift up your heads on high, ye doors that last for aye,
Be lifted up that so the King of Glory enter may.
Ewww!! Just because it rhymes doesn't mean it makes sense. Outdated, awkward language is not appropriate to worship, no matter how heartwarmingly sentimental it may be.
Once you have decided that the text is so stellar that we should learn it, then check out the music. If you're not familiar with the tune, go to www.CommonPraiseOnline.ca and check it out. Be sure that the music and the text are a good match, and that they fit into the overall musical plan for the day.
There should be no more than one new musical element in a service. If it's really new to people, you should be sure that the other hymns are familiar ones. Please be sure to indicate when you submit your choices if there is something new to be learned.
So, if you find a real gem, introduce it to us -- let's expand our repertoire and our musical/theological expression!