Academic journal article The Hymn

The Singing Thing Too: Enabling Congregations to Sing

Academic journal article The Hymn

The Singing Thing Too: Enabling Congregations to Sing

Article excerpt

The Singing Thing too: Enabling congregations to sing by John L. Bell. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc., 2007. 143 pp. ISBN 13: 978-1-57999-690-1. U.S. $15.00.

Finally it's here! Ever since the publication of The Singing Thing: A Case for Congregational Song (GIA, 2000), John Bell has promised a second "how to" volume. As he explains in the introduction to this volume, the delay was due partially to the difficulty of putting into words what he and other enablers of congregational song do. The fact that he was also serving as music editor of a major hymnal revision for the Church of Scotland until 2005 may have also been a factor! At any rate, The Singing Thing too was well worth the wait.

The inimitable wit and humor of John Bell is present throughout the book; the chapter titles alone are worth the purchase price. The first six chapters treat the stated subject of the book: enabling congregations to sing. A seventh chapter, "God's Worldwide Church," reprints a lecture given at the University of Newcastle (2001), starkly contrasting the relationship between first and third world Christian communities shortly after WW II and today. Most Hymn Society members will find the themes of this chapter familiar from Bell's conference appearances in recent years.

The first chapter of the book is a cautionary reminder that leading a choir is far different from leading a congregation. The second chapter presents nine principles/techniques for teaching congregational song. The first is: "Forget everything that works with choirs." The third chapter addresses, in a Q & A format, further aspects of teaching the congregation new songs. The fourth chapter of the book moves to "advanced" techniques: teaching the congregation to sing in parts, unaccompanied. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.