NANCY HALL, BEVERLY HOWARD, KENNETH HULL, PAUL RICHARDSON
Ottawa, Ontario proved to be a spectacular site for members of The Hymn Society to explore Canadian culture, to renew relationships and meet other hymn enthusiasts, and to sing togedier! The 2007 annual conference of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada [HSUSC] opened on 15 July on the campus of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This year the 302 registrants hailed from 36 states, six Canadian provinces, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The theme of the conference, "Celebrating Hymn Heritages," was interpreted throughout the week in festivals, plenaries, and sectionals. The HSUSC also celebrated its 85th anniversary at this conference.
Although there was not a local arrangements committee for this conference, Gordon Johnston and Josephine Meeker assisted in hospitality.
May Daw and Anissa Bacon assembled the Conference Bookstore that made available the considerable materials available for purchase from the Hymn Society Book Service. Music Plus, a store from Kitchener, ON, offered a wide array of church music scores and resources.
This year the Lovelace Scholarship enabled these five students to attend the conference:
* Caitlin Reilley Beck, B.A. student from St. Paul University in Ottawa, ON, majoring in mission studies and inter-religious dialogue
* Sarah Kathleen Johnson, M.T.S. student from Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, ON, majoring in theology
* Geoffrey C. Moore, M.Div. student from Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX, majoring in theology and worship
* Anne P. Wheeler, M.T.S. student from Candler School of Theology, Adanta, GA majoring in music and worship
* Andrew M.D. Wymer, M.Div. student from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, majoring in worship.
During the week, Andrew Tice, former Lovelace Scholarship recipient and new Member-at-Large, gathered current and former scholarship recipients for a lunch meeting.
Sunday, 15 July
Checking in at the Residence Commons, arriving conferees heard a melange of languages: French, English, and Spanish. The Ceremonial Guard, in training at Carleton University, enjoyed a high profile with their uniforms and bagpipes.
Although a number of people arrived early to take advantage of activities in the area, most conferees checked in on Sunday afternoon, unpacked, explored the campus, and browsed the Conference Bookstore. This year, first-time attendees were honored at a reception where they had opportunity to meet members of the Executive Committee.
Dominion-Chalmers United Church was the location of the opening hymn festival: "The Scottish Heritage of Psalms and Hymns." Coordinator/enlivener John Bell led us in singing texts and tunes, reminding us of the Scottish heritage in North America through hymns. Stuart Muir provided energetic, thoughtful accompaniments to support our singing. Bell organized the festival into four large sections spanning preReformation polyphony to late twentieth-century hymns: The Beginning, The Barren Years, Fringe Elements Aiding Recovery, and Late in Time. Some selections sung included "Come from Hevin [Heigh] to Tell," Psalms from early Psalters, "Child in the Manger," "The Sands of Time are Sinking," "Beneath the Cross of Jesus," "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise," "Gather Us In," "Courage, Brother, Do Not Stumble," "Like Fireworks in the Night," and "Love is the Touch."
Although we tout our communal singing at the annual conference, we also pray together. Each day of this conference began with Morning Prayer, planned and guided by John Ambrose and Loretta Manzara, with musical leadership by Andrew Donaldson and Rudi Watson Henderson. Responses by Mary Truly Ermey framed a simple, clear pattern that was repeated each day. …