EPIPHANY MUSIC FOR THE FAMILY CHOIR
Our church uses The Hymnbook for congregational singing, but we have purchased the new Psalter Hymnal for choir use. This book offers a wealth of resources for the Family Choir.
"Amen" (PsH 365) was a favorite of our Family Choir. The adults sang the "leader" part, and the children sang the "amens." After stanza 5 we repeated the last line of "amens" with everyone singing in parts.
We used another spiritual from the Psalter Hymnal as part of a Service of Prayer for Healing. "Oh, I Know the Lord Laid His Hands on Me" (PsH 367) was sung after the prayers for healing. Everyone sang the refrain in parts, with children's voices prominent on the soprano line. Different adult soloists, or groups (such as men only), sang the leader parts. Everyone sang in four parts on the two lines marked "All."
We sang "Jesus Heal Us" by David Haas (G.I.A. G-3248) at the same service. Children sang the melody of the refrain with adults humming or singing in parts. The adults sang the verses in unison. The congregation was taught the refrain before the service (permission was granted to print the refrain in the bulletin), and they joined us in singing it.
"Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love," a hymn that speaks of Christ's ministry as an example for our own lives (PsH 601), was another favorite of our group. We sang it in unison all the way through, but added variety by using a soprano glockenspiel on the four notes of the melody for the words "Jesu, Jesu" (handbells or other Orff instruments work just as well). We also had the children sing the refrain alone on selected verses.
We sang "The King of Glory Comes" (PsH 370), using the suggested rhythm instruments and rhythms as part of the accompaniment. Several children were selected to play each rhythm. An alto recorder played on the melody of the refrain for the introduction and at different times throughout the song.
Two general songs that are appropriate to close a service during Epiphany are "Go Now In Peace" by Natalie Sleeth (PsH 317), and "Rejoice In the Lord Always" (PsH 228). We have used both of these with Orff-instrument accompaniment only. Many schools own sets of Orff instruments for their music classes, and we were able to borrow the instruments for these two pieces. Children learned the ostinati quickly and played well in the service. Our congregation was so impressed with the music that they took a special collection so that we could buy our own set of instruments!
Other Songs Dealing with the Life and Ministry of Christ
"Have No Fear, Little Flock"
"If You Love Me"
Natalie Sleeth (Hinshaw)
"Jesus Loves Me"
"Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley"
(Hymns for the Family of God, 217)
"Seek Ye First the Kingdom"
"Sing Joy, Sing Love"
Judy Hunnicutt (G.I.A. G-1928)
"This Is My Commandment"
(The Worshiping Church, 600)