Academic journal article The Hymn

The Faith We Sing

Academic journal article The Hymn

The Faith We Sing

Article excerpt

The Faith We Sing

Westwood Lutheran Church, 9001 Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, Minnesota 55426, Tel. 952-545-5623. www.westwoodlutheran.org. No order number or price listed.

This recording is an eclectic collection of organ solos, choral singing, congregational singing, and two pop-rock solos. The choir, conducted by Zebulon Highben, does some very fine singing. Particularly moving and sung with a warm and an excellent SATB blend of sound are the a cappella renderings of "Were you there," "O bread of life from heaven," and "I will arise and go to Jesus."

There are five instrumental-only numbers: "Amazing grace," "Wake, awake for night is falling," and "What a friend we have in Jesus" (all three organ), "Let all things now living" and "Be thou my vision" (both harp); therefore, about eighteen minutes of the recording is only instrumental. The organist's (Kristina Langlois) rendering of "What a friend we have in Jesus" is indeed interesting.

The combinations of choral and congregation singing, in a grand hymn festival style are very well done and the diverse instrumental introductions (organ, harp, clarinet, handbells, etc.) to various selections hold one's interest. The strength of the recording is not in presenting hymns in their simplicity, rather in showing how many forces (instrumental, choral [children and adults], and congregational) can be brought together to celebrate standard hymnic repertory as a testimony to the faith the hymns proclaim. …

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