Academic journal article The Hymn

Companions in the Way

Academic journal article The Hymn

Companions in the Way

Article excerpt

Hilariter with Friends, directed by Andrew Donaldson. Toronto: Seraph Music, 2011. SM007. Available through

"Come, dance thanksgiving, paint a Prayer Let loose the drums of joy; ..."

Andrew Donaldson

Rejoice, sing, lament, search, pray, live: Andrew Donaldson leads Hilariter, a Toronto- based group, in their third CD of songs for congregations.* A past president of The Hymn Society, Donaldson is a composer, musician, and worship enlivener. He wrote the title song "Companions in the Way" about discipleship. With Hilariter he has conducted workshops on world song and on leading liturgy with percussion. This CD encompasses the spectrum of Hilariter's singing. It contains songs from the Americas and Africa, along with music by its own members "as a way of celebrating, playing and praying with other people of faith."

Hilariter singers joyfully shape texts while their "Friends" interweave the sounds of clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, vibes, percussion, and piano, among the vocal lines. Artist Maca Suazo's cover, entitled "Dreams and Reality," creates a vibrant setting for the liner notes, images of singers and instrumentalists, and handwritten excerpts of song texts.

"All peoples clap your hands" (paraphrase of Psalm 47) welcomes the listener with clapping rhythms opening into song. Andrew Donaldson's "Haitian Kyrie" /"Feuilles-Oh" is a prayer for the Haitian people enduring the ongoing aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak. "Pilgrims' Improv" introduces the concept of a percussion meditation. It prepares the way for a thought-provoking sevenminute anthem with a colourful clarinet obbligato. In "Am I Welcome Here?" solo voices tell various New Testament stories of Christ's ministry. …

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