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Hymnbook: Gather

Second Edition. Chicago: G.I.A. Publications, 1994. Pew Edition, Choir Edition, Keyboard Accompaniment Edition, Guitar accompaniment Edition, Instrumental Edition.

After the great success of the first edition (1988) of Gather, Roman Catholic publisher G.I.A. decided to expand the collection of contemporary and folk-like liturgical music that has proved such a good supplement to traditional hymnals, whether Protestant or Catholic. In the 1994 edition many new composers are added to the list of familiar names, names like Marty Haugen, David Haas, and the St. Louis Jesuits. Both traditional congregations looking for more popular contemporary music and those congregations involved in Praise & Worship music will find here a collection of excellent music of a popular nature with liturgical sensitivity.

Not only have many new hymns been added, but a wonderful collection of psalm settings covers the entire liturgical year. The quality and the accessibility of the psalmody makes this collection a valuable resource for church musicians and worship planners in any Christian tradition.

Gather is clearly a book intended for the use of the entire worshiping body, not just the choir or praise team. The tunes are singable, easily learned and retained, and offer a multitude of options for instrumentation and choral participation with the assembly. Many of the pieces are also available in octavos for use with choirs alone.

Perhaps the most striking addition to this volume is the inclusion of hymnody that is representative of the world church. The publishers indicate a particular interest in the music of the Hispanic and African American traditions, and thirty-three songs come from the Iona Community. The second edition is also much more sensitive to issues of inclusive language. The indexes are extremely well-done and very useful for worship planning. I have found the hymns contained in this hymnal to be a delight to sing and a rich addition to worship.