BRIDGING THE GAP

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to work with all styles of church music… from the traditional hymn settings to the latest songs on Christian radio… and pretty much everything else in between. I love the variety, and that rich truth and heartfelt worship can be found in texts across that stylistic spectrum.

While it’s easy to incorporate hymns into the traditional worship setting, it can sometimes be tough to do so in the more contemporary, often praise band-driven services. In my own church, our worship tradition is very much organ and hymns, along with liturgy, but our praise band leads the services about two times per month. It can be a challenge to choose music for our group that’s contemporary, appropriate for guitars and drums, but that still respects our heritage and gives our congregation a sense of the familiar, so they can be active participants in worship, and not just listeners.

Over the years, I have found that it’s the hymns that bridge this gap perfectly. We are fortunate that many of our modern worship artists have also come alongside us with fresh settings of these hymns, sometimes as stand-alone songs… and other times with new refrains added.

Whether you direct a praise band or a choir.. or both, your singers and musicians can be a huge part of this bridge. Our “Praise Everlasting for Choir and Congregation” series was designed for this purpose. Some use the choir only, and others add in optional vocals for a praise team and children’s choirs. They work great with piano (or organ) and orchestra, or just as well with the band. You can link to these anthems on our YouTube channel by clicking on each of them.

 

Cornerstone (with “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” and “He Is Lord”)

Crown Him (Majesty) (with “We Worship and Adore You” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns”)

Great I Am (with “Holy, Holy, Holy”)

Great Are You Lord (with “How Great Thou Art”)

He Shall Reign Forevermore (with “Angels We Have Heard on High”)

How Can It Be (with “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”)

 

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Stacey Nordmeyer is the Church Choral Editor for Hal Leonard Corporation and the Praise Band and Handbell Choir Director at Unity Lutheran Church in Brookfield, WI. She has been active in church music for over 30 years and has served as a Worship Leader and Pianist at various churches throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. She holds a music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, with an emphasis in music theory, and she is a member of the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble. Stacey is married to Kevin, and they have one son, Ryan.

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