Book: The Creative Church Musician Series Series Vol. 2: The Creative Use of Choirs in Worship

Hal H. Hopson. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 1999 (Code 8013).1-800-323-1049. 222 pp. $49.95.

Keeping with the idea of musically planning worship, let me suggest another valuable resource. Hal H. Hopson treats over a thousand (!) hymns with creative suggestions for choir directors to bring hymns to life. Many times the suggestions are simple: have the choir alone sing the stanza SATB or in unison. Many times the suggestions are brilliant but more complex: text-painting suggestions; originally-composed music by Hopson for a hymn stanza; canon suggestions; handbell and other instrumental suggestions; and so on.

  • Pros: This is a one-volume “must have” forchoir directors. Since permission is given to photocopy Hopson’s music for your choir, imagine hundreds of hymn concertatos of your own making and design for the price of one (albeit hefty price of $49.95). The sweep is overwhelming but exciting.
  • Cons: The comment here is not to the author but to the user. Because of the breadth and ingenuity of suggestions, one is tempted to use only this resource to add variety to hymn singing. And why not? It’s all here! But that would be like cooking from only one cookbook. Like all good things, this is best savored a bit at a time.

Even though many of Hopson’s suggestions will need to be adapted for your situation (you could just as well think “Praise Team” for “choir” for instance), there’s plenty to use here, a real treasure trove to be mined.

Randall D. Engle (randyengle@aol.com) is pastor of North Hills Christian Reformed Church, Troy, Michigan.