block logo of The Hymn SocietyThe Verse

                                               A monthly newsletter

The Hymn Society

in the United States and Canada

June 2011
In This Issue
Summer Conference Update
Valparaiso Program for German and Organ Study
Hymn Contests
Upcoming Canadian Events
Upcoming Hymn Festival in Singapore
Recent Hymn Festivals and Events
Recent Hymn Contest Winners
Hymnal Available
News of Members
Quick Links

It's nearly conference time!!  Last minute details are swirling all around me.  In fact, somehow it got to be July 1 before I finished this newsletter!! 
Despite my focus on conference plans, there are still many other hymnological events to share with you!  
As we enter a holiday weekend to celebrate our country's independence, please take a moment to be thankful that our democracy gives space for all to worship (or not) as each sees fit.  I'm thankful that for many of us our worship choices include singing!   




Deborah Loftis


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2011 Hymn Society conference logo
July 17-21, 2011

Summer Conference Update


It's not too late--you can still register to attend the conference!!  Last day we can receive registrations with on- campus housing is July 5.  Conference program information and registration are available online.  Click on the link to check out the details!   conference information and registration 


We currently have over 260 people registered so come and join with us!!  


If you haven't returned your information sheet with tour choice, banquet entree, and shuttle needs, please do so right away!!  The more information we have before you arrive, the more smoothly plans will go during the week. 


The Pike's Peak and Art Museum tours are closed.  Other interesting options are still available!!


Do we have any percussionists among our members who are coming to Colorado? We need someone to play a snare drum part during the Tuesday hymn festival.  If you can help, please contact Mark Alan Filbert right away.  <>  


When you pack, include a jacket.  Even though the forecast is for quite warm temperatures during the day it will get much cooler in the evening.  And remember to take your jacket if you're headed to Pikes Peak!!


And did we remind you to drink lots of water??  You'll find a wonderful gift in your tote bag to help you remember.  Many thanks to John Thornburg and his Ministry of Congregational Singing for providing a water bottle for each registrant.


See you very soon!




Valparaiso Program for German and Organ study


Students at Valparaiso University studying German and organ can take advantage of a new exchange program with the Hochschule fr Kirchenmusik in Rottenburg am Neckar. In spring 2010, Emily German (Fort Wayne, Indiana) was the first Valpo student to spend a semester at the Hochschule; while there, she had the opportunity to play a variety of organs, sing with the Hugo-Distler-Chor in Berlin, and take courses and lessons in organ and voice while perfecting her German skills. The exchange is supported by the Henry and June Giebel Scholarship from Valparaiso University; other scholarships are available, as well. If you know students who could benefit from this great program, please direct them to the Valpo website:


Thanks to Linda Lewis for making the connection!




Hymn Contests 

Macalester Plymouth United Church of St. Paul, Minnesota, announces a sixteenth international contest for English language hymn writers. It is our understanding that hymns can motivate the church to be more actively involved in social reform, a vital part of its ministry.  It carries a prize of $500 for the winning entry.  Our 2011 contest will be a search for hymns that express dismay over the growing gap between rich and poor and call the church to action to work for greater economic equality. Please visit our website for contest details or call 

(651) 698-8871

Pascack Reformed Church in Park Ridge, New Jersey announces a contest for English language hymn writers. The church celebrates the 200th anniversary of its inception from September 2012- 2013.  The theme of the anniversary celebration comes from the first two and last two verses of Psalm 90:

  Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,       from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

  Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.

  Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us, and establish the work of our hands upon us;

  Yes; establish the work of our hands.

The contest carries a prize of $250 for the winning entry. This is a search for both new text and music. Entrants should provide four copies of each hymn which should not include the entrant's name. The hymn should, however, be titled at the top of each page.  Please provide a cover letter with your name, address, telephone number, and the title(s) of your entry or entries. All entries will be acknowledged within two weeks of receipt.

All entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2012.  The judges will arrive at their decision by March 31, 2012, and their decision is final. The winning hymn will be announced by April 30, 2013. Copyright for the winning hymn will be retained by its composer(s), but the author(s) agree to permit the use of this hymn by Pascack Reformed Church in Park Ridge in perpetuity.  

Please send entries and correspondence to:

Hymn Contest

Pascack Reformed Church
65 Pascack Road
Park Ridge, NJ  07656


Web site:

Upcoming Canadian Events   


The Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society will be very busy this summer.  Please contact George Bell for more details about these upcoming events.


A special city-wide celebration of Pentecost will take place at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church on June 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm.  All are welcome.  The celebration will feature the three winning hymns of St. Andrew's-Wesley's "New Ways to Sing Praise" hymn competition.The international competition invited hymn writers to create Easter hymn texts that express contemporary attitudes and modern theological outlooks. Sponsored by St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church and the Cunningham Theological Foundation, the competition drew entries from three continents and from professional hymn writers and talented amateurs alike. The first place winner was Brian Wren, FHS, for "If Christ is risen from the dead." The two second place winners were Ellen Clark-King of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver for "Christ Sophia" and Shirley Erena Murray, FHS, for "Thank God for Bursting Life." For more information, contact Darryl Nixon, Minister of Music at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church:; 1-604-683-4574 x231


And for more opportunities:  


1. Jazz Vespers Service - July 3


Brian Barlow is leading a jazz vespers service at Christ Church Deer Park featuring the music of Duke Ellington, on Sunday, July 3rd, as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. Brian recently co-led a SOCHS workshop on Jazz in Worship.

2. Hamilton Organ Festival - July 17 to July 21


The RCCO is featuring hymns at its Hamilton Organ Festival. The dates are exactly the same as the ones for the Hymn Society Conference in Colorado, July 17-21st. However, for those who can't go to the Hymn Society Conference, the RCCO events may provide a nice alternative. Day attendance is available.  See The RCCO program includes a hymn tune competition final and a lecture on hymn improvisation by Simon Irving.


3. The Church with Psalms Must Shout - July 24


Noel Edison, Michael Bloss and the Elora Festival Singers are presenting "The Church with Psalms Must Shout" as part of the Elora Festival. Here is the website: A number of other events of interest are scheduled.


4. Amazing Grace Hymn Sing - July 31


Organist Chris Dawes, Tenor Dan Lichti and Oboist James Mason are leading a hymn sing, "Amazing Grace: More Favourite Hymns of All Time," at the Stratford Summer Music festival ( Come for an afternoon filled with songs of praise and thanksgiving.


Later in the festival, from August 11 to August 13, Britisher Andrew Gant will be giving lectures on the Anglican evensong tradition.


5. Hymn Play-a-Thon - August 5


SOCHS member Frances Mae Balodis will be having a Play-a-Thon at St. Thomas Anglican Church in Ullswater. Frances will be playing through all the hymns in Common Praise, the Anglican hymnal beginning at 9 a.m. The purpose of the play-a-thon is to raise money to make the church handicap-accessible. If you happen to be in Muskoka at that time, be sure to drop in on Frances' event. 



7. The Worship and Music Symposium "Enlivening Worship" will be held on August 29, 2011 at Concordia University College of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.  Andrew Donaldson will be the clinician and be joined by local clergy and musicians to present a variety of workshops.  The day-long event will end with a Hymn Festival open to the community.  For further information, contact Joy Berg at 

Upcoming Hymn Festival in Singapore


Forthcoming Hymn Festival: Hymns of Praise

Place: Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, Singapore

Date: August 28, 2011


During the ministry of The Rev. Dr. Kang Ho Soon a hymn festival has been held annually on the last Sunday of August at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, a unique congregation in Singapore with worship services in Mandarin, Tamil, Bahasa Malay, and English. The theme for the 2011 festival is "Hymns of Praise." It will feature hymns from China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, North America, Taiz (France), Sweden, England and Wales. Dr. S T Kimbrough, Jr., Research Fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition of Duke Divinity School, planned and will lead the festival.  


Thanks to S T Kimbrough, Jr. for this news


Recent Hymn Festivals and Events

Look for updates each month on recent festivals that have come to our attention.  The Stanza will continue to provide a cumulative list semi-annually.  If your congregation or community holds a hymn festival, please the office know about it and send copies of the program if possible.

May 1, 2011 - Rev. Peter B. Irvine addressed the Illinois Huguenot Society on "The Old French Psalter: Hymn Book of the Huguenots"

June 5, 2011 - Brian Wentzel led an "Easter Hymn Festival" at First Lutheran Church, Lorain, OH. The church's Adult and Handbell choirs and Guitar and Percussion groups joined with professional trumpeters to enhance the singing of Easter hymns from a wide variety of times and places.


June 25, 2011 - "Sing A New Song To The Lord - A Hymn Festival in Thanksgiving for the Ministry of Professor I-to Loh" held at Trinity Theological College Chapel, Singapore.  We celebrate with I-to Loh, FHS, and look forward to hearing his plenary addresses in Colorado Springs!


Recent Hymn Contest Winners 


St. Peter's Catholic Church in Charlotte, N.C. announces the winners of their recent contest. First place co-winners are John Carter and Mary Kay Beall (Columbus, Ohio) and Dr. Paul J. Nienaber SJ (Winona, Minnesota). Second place winner is Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL (Orange City, Iowa) and the third place winner is Jann Aldredge-Clanton (Dallas, Texas) 


Macalester Plymouth United Church of St. Paul, Minnesota, is pleased to announce the winners of our church's 2010 hymn contest. The $500 prize went to the Rev. Paul Bailie, pastor of Iglesia Luterana San Lucas in Eagle Pass, Texas, a Spanish-speaking ELCA congregation near the US-Mexico border. An Honorable Mention went to William Allen Pasch of Griffin, Georgia.  You can find more details about the winners of this contest under News Bits on our website.


Congratulations to thes winners!!  


Hymnal Available

Elizabeth Hansbury <> writes that she has a copy of Hymns New & Old published 1887 by Fleming H. Revell. The body of the book is in good condition; covers loose.  Please contact her if you are interested in obtaining this hymnal.


News of Members


Harry Eskew, FHS, who grew up in Spartanburg, was interviewed on June 4 by South Carolina Educational Television on the Wofford College campus in Spartanburg concerning the life and work of Spartanburg's William (Singing Billy) Walker (1809-1875), who was a popular singing school teacher, composer,  and compiler of four music books, the most famous of were "Southern Harmony" (1835) and "Christian Harmony" (1867). The documentary will introduce Walker to visiting school children at the Hall of Fame and will also be shown on S.C.E.T.V. 


A rich selection of Hal Hopson's ideas from his 2002 book, 100-Plus Ways to Improve Hymnsinging, has been recently added to Harry Eskew's new hymnology web site: Soon Mabel Stewart Boyter's "Growing a Hymn Loving Church" will be added to this web site. He welcomes your feedback and suggestions.