Congregational Singing

How to Host a Lenten Hymn Sing

Last week, I posted a 3 steps to hosting an easy hymn sing and talked about it on the podcast. This week, I have a template for a “Journey to the Cross” with 60 hymns to choose from, so you can have a cohesive hymn sing focused on the Cross.

The hymn sing’s theme is “Journey to the Cross,” with four progressive sub-themes:

  • a Christian’s walk with God (“I want to walk as a child of the light”)
  • God’s presence on the journey (“When through fiery trials”)
  • adoration of Christ on the cross (“What wondrous love is this?”)
  • proclaiming the cross (“The love of Christ proclaim”)

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Posted by sarah.bereza in Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, 0 comments

3 Steps to an Easy Hymn Sing

Hymn sings can be grand affairs, with special anthems combining choir with congregation, extra instrumentalists to plan for and rehearse, and scripture readings to coordinate with the hymns’ themes.

But a hymn sing can also be very easy to plan and host.

Here’s the 3 basic steps:

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Posted by sarah.bereza in Congregational Singing, 0 comments

Singing through the Year: Coming Full Circle

Singing through the Year has come nearly full circle, back to Advent. I wrote about experiencing the Incarnation in Advent and Christmas hymns early this January (a theme I returned to in this month’s Music and the Church newsletter), and I decided to continue posting a hymn every week. At first, these were hymns I was singing to my son, then I posted hymns I chose for services at Immanuel Presbyterian, where I have been the organist this year.

This is my last Singing through the Year post. I hope you’ve enjoyed these hymns as much as I have!

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Congregational Singing

Ep. 5: Bringing a Researcher’s Mindset to Music Ministry, with Carrie Allen Tipton, and the 4 Sundays of Advent

Try This At Church: If your church serves alcohol at functions (like a Christmas choir party!), make sure there’s something non-alcoholic that’s equally festive to drink.

In the Field: The Four Weeks of Advent—have recurring themes! Crawford and I discuss what hymns fit which each Sunday’s themes, including one that delighted my son in utero.

InterviewDr. Carrie Allen Tipton is a musicologist who hosts the podcast Notes on Bach, sponsored by the Bach Society HoustonNotes on Bach is a monthly series of interviews with scholars and musicians who work with Baroque music and issues around music like theology. Today, we discuss the benefits of bringing a researcher’s mindset to the ministry of church music.

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, History of Church Music, Music and Theology, Podcast

Ep. 2: Planning Service Music and Recitals as an Organist-Choir Director, with Yun Kyong Kim


Interview: Dr. Yun Kyong Kim, organist and choir director at Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton, Ohio, discusses her approach to directing a choir while also playing the organ, planning her repertoire and hymnody, and crafting organ recitals to make the most of an instrument’s unique sound and acoustic space.

Check out Yun’s website, where you can listen to her play and see the albums she’s released, including her recent Wild Card.

In the Field: Crawford and I discuss our approaches to planning hymns, choir anthems (especially for a volunteer choir), and instrumental music.

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Choral Music, Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, Instrumental Music, Podcast