The Verse    

                                                   A Monthly Newsletter
In This Issue
Quick Links
THS website
Bookmark The Hymn Society's website and visit it often!  You'll find recent news (such as press releases regarding recent Fellow and other honors), links of interest, THS publications, information on scholarships and grants, and more.
Amazon Smile
If you shop for books and gifts on Amazon, you can help support The Hymn Society. A percentage of your purchases will be sent to THS. Every bit helps! Go to The Hymn Society's page at AmazonSmile. has launched a user survey. We are looking for feedback from people who use the site about how they use the site, including what features are most important to our users. We expect that the feedback will guide us as we work to make improvements. The survey should take 10 minutes or less, and you will find the link on the website. 

Diane Shapiro 

Hymn-Based Compositions

Thanks this month to
Joshua Brodbeck for reviewing hymn-based choral literature. You will find his reviews here

Joshua Brodbeck is Minister of Music and Artist-in-Residence at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio, and Artistic Director of the Delaware (Ohio) Community Chorus.

Canterbury Dictionary

Members of THS enjoy free access to the excellent 
Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology through our website. Email the office at
 if you've forgotten the password.

 September 2017

More than ever, these days I realize and appreciate that we are all connected.

Sometimes it takes a crisis for me to value our connectedness. A hiccup in travel plans, an unexpected diagnosis, a natural disaster, actions against loved ones -- any challenge can bring out the best in our shared humanity, if we choose to participate.  Recent images and stories of people helping each other, offering whatever assistance each could provide, across divides which suddenly seem much less significant than before, give me hope for the future.

I am grateful for you, my fellow members and friends of The Hymn Society.  I'm grateful that we can sing our connectedness and our faith, and in so doing, inspire positive change.  May we be on the lookout for more ways to do this and more in the midst of challenging times -- and may we sing to celebrate, too, with each other in good times.  In this newsletter you'll find some ideas.  I hope they spark more ideas in you.

Music matters in communities.  We can make a difference.  Spread kindness, and sing on!


The Center for Congregational Song

Don't miss the exciting launch of our newest initiative!
October 15-16, 2017, Dallas TX
A Roman Catholic Priest, a Methodist, and a Scotsman walk into a ballroom...and then we all sing our hearts out. It's not a joke! Join us for Harmony, the launch event for The Center for Congregational Song, where we will be led by an ecumenically and racially diverse group of experts. There's still time to reserve your spot at this event where everyone in the room will believe deeply in the power of congregational song. Everyone in the room will be passionate about how we can change the world using the power of song. Everyone in the room will leave inspired and empowered to bring congregational song to the forefront of our church and national cultures.
Location: The Room on Main, Downtown Dallas, TX
Conference Hotel: Hotel Indigo Downtown Dallas, TX  
Click here to register.  Registration is now $125, but because you are a friend and/or member of The Hymn Society, we're happy to offer you a discount code that will take $20 off your registration. Just use the code: MEMBER
We Sing in Solidarity
Our thoughts and prayers are with members and friends of The Hymn Society who have been affected by recent natural disasters such as hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada.  We are making efforts to be in contact with these members and will be posting updates in future issues of The Verse as more is learned about specific situations.  THS's collection, "Hymns in Times of Crisis," may help communities express comfort and support.
We Sing in Grief
Many members of The Hymn Society, because of their faith and ministerial contexts, are directly affected by the decision to rescind DACA. We grieve with those members and offer them our prayers and support. When congregations are hurt and tested, we must sing together even louder and with all our courage. For songs and hymns that may help you and your congregation, we once again offer our free collection, "Singing Welcome."

News from THS staff
The Hymn Society office has a new phone system which now enables callers to contact Jan, Brian, and Courtney directly.  Check it out at 1-800-THE-HYMN.  We hope that this technology helps us achieve our goal to be ever-more-helpful to THS members. If you've used the new system and have feedback for us, please contact Jan:

2017 Annual Conference News Releases 

Four new Fellows of the Hymn Society (FHS) were named at our 2017 conference in Waterloo:  John Ambrose, FHS; Melva Costen, FHS; João Wilson Faustini, FHS; and J.R. "Dick" Watson, FHS.  This is The Hymn Society's highest honor. To access press releases for each new Fellow and to see the full list of Fellows, click here.
We are pleased to announce the winning entry of our 2017 Tune Search, selected from over 100 submissions:  "We Belong to God," the setting of Psalm 100 written by Deanna Witkowski.  For the full announcement and to listen to and access Deanna's composition, click here
Each summer, three papers are selected from many to be presented at our summer conference by young scholars. These are then judged by a panel of THS members who choose a winning entry.  Congratulations to this year's winning co-authors, Sarah Kathleen Johnson and Carl Bear! For more information on the Emerging Scholars and to read about this years' winning paper, "Medieval Hymns on Modern Lips: An Analysis of Medieval Texts and Tunes in 21st-Century Protestant Hymnals," click here.  
2018 Annual Conference: "Song and the Public Square"

Mark your calendar now and plan to attend The Hymn Society's annual conference in at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, July 15 through 19, 2018.  We'll explore the intersection of song, the church, and the public square. We'll sing and we'll serve and we'll make a difference. Click here to see preliminary plans, and check back often! 
Sectional proposals are now being accepted for this conference.  The deadline is October 1, 2017. You will find a proposal form and more details here. Sectionals are chosen by a sub-committee of THS's Executive Committee; sectional leaders from the 2017 conference are asked not to apply, as preference is given to those who have not recently held leadership roles. Sectionals that match well with the conference theme are also given preference.   
Current graduate students and recent graduates are invited to submit proposals to present research on congregational song at the 2018 conference. Submissions are to be guided by the research parameters of Practice, Philosophy (Theology), History, and/or Context of congregational song. The deadline is April 1, 2018.  For complete guidelines, click here.   
Children's Choir Festival with CCS Event 
Calling all children's choirs!  A children's choir festival will be held concurrently with a one-day workshop on congregational song on Saturday, April 7th, 2018, in Washington, DC.  Clinicians are Brian Hehn and John Horman.  The concluding hymn festival will be led by the children's choir.  Click here for a flyer.

Please help us spread the word!  For more information, contact

Getting to Know You   
With the majority of our members on the East Coast and Mid-West, we cannot and should not overlook our members on the West Coast! With a high concentration of members in the San Francisco Bay area and a growing new group of enthusiastic and skilled members in Southern California following our time there in Redlands, California is singing their way to heaven.


Meet Judith (Judy) Lane Chatfield 
Current City:  Claremont, CA, U.S.A.
Current Employment/Degree Program: I have a DMin from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL.
What are you most excited about in your current work that you'd like to share?  
I'm excited about creating hymns. I started composing children's hymns and musicals in 1967, and the enthusiasm I experienced with my first song has been there with every hymn since.  I have been striving to find new ways to address the universal need for food, safety from traumas of war and other forms of violence, and the hope that comes from God's love and ours for one another.  It's an exciting challenge.
Favorite Hymn/Song:  "I was There to Hear Your Borning Cry," by John Ylvisaker (both text and music).
First Hymn Society Annual Conference:  2016 at the University of Redlands. The campus is 30 miles from where I now live and the school is my Alma Mater.   
Favorite Hymn Society Moment/Memory:  Taking a Hymn writing course with Adam Tice and Sally Ann Morris.  I loved the positive encouragement we got that encouraged us students to find joy in each other's work.
If you could have lunch with one Fellow of The Hymn Society, who would it be and why?   
Brian Wren.  He came to Garrett-Evangelical to lead a workshop in the early 90s.  He stayed in our house and shared his hymns with us.  They were profoundly moving.  He set a very high standard for me and it has become part of what I strive for.  I had the privilege of officiating at his wedding to Susan Heafield.
New paper by Timothy Dudley-Smith
From our colleagues in The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland (HSGBI):  "Faith, Hymns and Poetry," the latest Occasional Paper byTimothy Dudley-Smith, is available to THS members as a free download; we can provide Word, ebook and pdf formats.  (Additional printed copies, along with a number of previous Occasional Papers, can be purchased through the HSGBI website.)

Job Opening
Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University seek a Director of the Sacred Music Program. This is a full-time, tenured position in church music at the rank of Associate or Full Professor.  Click here to see the ad containing details.  Visit for complete job description and application procedure.  

For most complete consideration, applications should be submitted by November 15, 2017.
The successful applicant should expect to begin teaching in the fall of 2018.
More music for troubling times
GIA offers three downloadable hymns free of charge through November 1, 2017:
  • Diverse in Culture, Nation, and Race  (text: Ruth Duck, FHS; tune: TALLIS CANON)
  • If You Believe and I Believe (Zimbabwean traditional, arrangement by John L. Bell, FHS)
  • In Christ There Is No East or West (public domain; text: William A. Dunkerley, tune: McKEE)
To access these and a list of other moving songs involving justice, peace, freedom, and unity, click here.

New Psalm Contest
In an effort to encourage Psalm-singing, Church of the Servant invites congregational songwriters to submit a Psalm-based song to its 2017 COS New Psalm Contest. The winner will receive a $500 award. There is no entry fee and the contest is open to all. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by October 1, 2017. The song will be premiered in worship on January 28, 2018.

Church of the Servant is a Christian Reformed Church with a rich history of encouraging the arts in worship. Its worship is Reformed, liturgical, participatory, eclectic, and open to creative new worship expressions. This contest is made possible by a generous donation in memory of  Ben Fackler, who loved all things musical.
For more information, contact Larry Figueroa at

New Resources 
Deanna Witkowski has just released her new trio recording,  Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns. Featuring fourteen jazz arrangements of standard hymn tunes, the album also has a companion e-sheet music book with fully notated piano scores. Both items are available here; to see sheet music samples or to purchase individual scores, click here. A video interview about the project is here.  Deanna and Pam McAllister are also co-blogging a series of posts about the history of each hymn tune on Makes the Heart to Sing. Check out their first entry, on HYFRYDOL, here.

Deanna also has a new song, "We Walk in Love," in the free-to-download Justice Choir Songbook, Vol. I. Download the song here; the full book with 43 songs will be available in late September.

Hymnals Available 

About 75 copies of the "blue" Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church) are available.  Contact Joseph Groeneveld.

Mennonites Accepting Submissions for New Hymnal
The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is accepting submissions for a new hymnal collection to be released in 2020. This collection will represent the diverse ways Mennonites sing and worship throughout the United States and Canada.  An important element of the project is a call for new and original content. Authors, songwriters, composers, and artists are invited to submit their work online at
Additional information can be found at the same link. This online submissions portal will be active throughout 2017.

For more information see the Press Release.  

Colloquium on Church Music and the Reformation
The Center for Christian Music Studies at Baylor University will host a Colloquium on Church Music and the Reformation on September 28-29, 2017, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The Colloquium will feature plenary presentations by Paul Westermeyer, FHS, Emeritus Professor of Church Music, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and papers by a variety of scholars on different facets of the history, philosophy, practice, and influence of the Reformation on church music from the sixteenth century to the present. The program will also include hymn singing, organ music based on Reformation-era hymns, and a choral concert.
Registration for the colloquium is $80.00. For registration and other information visit  this link or contact David W. Music, FHS, at
Call for Papers, Summer 2018 Singing Events in Canada
Two exciting events for all interested in singing will take place in summer 2018 in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Indulge your musical, creative and scholarly spirit in Canada's most eastern province!

International Symposium on Singing and Song II (June 27-29, 2018)
This event, hosted by The Singing Network, will bring together scholars, performers, and pedagogues, representing diverse disciplines, to share international perspectives, research, and practices associated with singing and song.

Proposal submissions are invited that address multi-faceted contexts of singing and song such as artistic, physiological, cultural, sociological, historical, pedagogical, compositional, psychological, medical... and beyond! Symposium programming will include keynote and delegate presentations, performances, social gatherings and opportunities for stimulating dialogue and networking.
Click here for The Call for Papers and Presentations and online Proposal Form.  Submissions are due October 15, 2017.
PODIUM on the EDGE: Singing from Sea to Sea to Sea | PODIUM à l'extrémité: Chantons d'un océan à l'autre (June 29-July 3, 2018)
Podium is Choral Canada's national, biennial conference and festival, co-presented in 2018 by Choral Canada, The Singing Network, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. The conference and festival provide unique opportunities for professional development through national-international keynote presentations, interest sessions, lecture-recitals, conducting masterclasses, workshops, and reading sessions, for conductors, choirs, choristers, administrators, students and choral enthusiasts. Approximately 30 choirs and 60 presenters will be featured.
Both events will provide a unique place for exploring the wonders of singing and song in the oldest city in North America, a place filled with music, histories, and cultural traditions... and, oh yes, there are whales and icebergs galore this time of year!
Hope to see you there!
Ki Adams, Andrea Rose, and David Buley (Co-Chairs, International Symposium on Singing and Song II)
Ki Adams, Andrea Rose, and Kellie Walsh (Co-Chairs, PODIUM on the EDGE: Singing from Sea to Sea to Sea)
Upcoming Events Involving Members
October 1, 2017 -- "Hymnody: The Voice of Christian Unity," a festival of hymns old and new that are common to all christian traditions, will be presented on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Bob Batastini, FHS (narrator) and Huw Lewis (organ) will lead the festival in the main concert hall of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, Hope College, Holland, MI.  Click here for more information. 

October 22-24, 2017 -- "The Contagious Joy of Preaching," this year's Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship, an annual continuing education event for clergy and laity created by a partnership of five churches and ten seminaries, will be held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, ON. John L. Bell, FHS, will preach Sunday morning, serve as liturgist at the Sunday and Monday evening services, participate on a panel with the other keynote speakers, and will lead "A Big Sing."  For more information, click here.

October 29, 2017 --
"One Body, Many Parts," an ecumenical worship prepared by the Christian community of Holland, Michigan, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. John Witvliet, preacher, massed choir of combined participating churches conducted by Bob Batastini, FHS, with organist Rhonda Sider Edgington, and the DeSales Brass. 5pm at Christ Memorial Church, Holland, MI. For more information, visit

October 29, 2017 --
"Sing to the Lord a New Song" at an ecumenical service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, including the premiere of a new psalm setting by Antonio Alonso and Adam Tice.  The event is co-sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the Grand Rapids Chapter of the AGO, and the host church, LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI, with two identical services at 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. For more information contact Emily Brink, FHS (, on the planning committee with Larry Visser, minister of music at LaGrave.

Recent Events
September 2, 2017 -- Jan Kraybill led a concert and hymn-sing titled "Created to Sing" at
7:30pm at Community of Christ in Vancouver, BC.   
News of Members
Rae Whitney celebrated her 90th birthday in May.  To commemorate the occasion, her home congregation, St. Francis Episcopal Church in Scottsbluff, NE, hosted a party for over 100 people, and surprised Rae by naming the Rae E. Whitney Library in her honor.  During the church service, Fr. Mark Selvey said, "Rarely have I met a person with such energy, intelligence, and faith. ... (currently) she leads three Bible studies, leads music and speaks at our Tuesday healing service, and, in her spare time, writes hymns that are used in worship around the world." Congratulations, Rae!
Hymn Society Editorial Advisory Board member Alan Hommerding presented the talk "Hymns and Their Texts: Rhythmic, Rhymed Rituals of Language" for the Long Island Liturgical Music Institute in July. The full text of the talk was recently published on the Pray Tell blog (, edited by Anthony Ruff, for which Alan is a regular contributor. His series of posts on liturgical music, "Unnecessary Impoverishments" will run through the end of the year.

The Hymn Society in the US and Canada | |
7111 W 151st St, #374
Overland Park, KS  66223

Planning a hymn festival?  Need help with background information on hymns? Looking for a hymn on a particular topic?  Let us know how we can assist you in your ministry to encourage, promote, and enliven congregational song.