Please forgive the terrible pun that calls this edition of WorshipSongsOnline to purpose! As you have probably guessed, our new blogs are all centered around our legacy of hymnody. These musical and theological treasures have for centuries lifted our worship and praise. They are a treasured part of our sacred heritage and act as a sound track to our journey of faith. Their encouragement of corporate singing has built in us a strong sense of community and given confidence to worship gatherings of almost every denomination through the years.

For many, like myself, your first piano lessons included learning to play from the hymnal. I remember standing next to my mother as she held the hymnal for me to sing as her mother did before her. This connection to the past makes these messages in song not only foundational to our understanding of essential theological elements, but also enriches them with a sincere nostalgia with precious sacred moments of the past. Hymns decorate our Memorial services, weddings, graduations, baptisms, and a myriad other important times in our lives. It is only natural that even in this day of praise chorus and artist driven worship experiences that hymns still maintain their impact on the hearts of worshippers around the world.

We hope you enjoy our bloggers reflections on hymns and congregational singing! Remember to look at the close of each BLOG for new publications of anthems based on hymn texts or tunes.

Much grace…



Joseph Martin, a native of North Carolina, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Subsequently he earned a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas, Austin. Joseph taught for five years in the Piano Pedagogy Department of the University of Texas. His piano teachers include Jimmy Woodle, David Gibson, Amanda Vick Lethco, Martha Hilley and Danielle Martin. While at Furman University, he was accompanist for choral director and composer Milburn Price and, inspired by his teaching, Martin began to compose. He is a member of the staff at the Hal Leonard Corporation and Shawnee Press, Inc. as Director of Sacred Publications, with responsibilities for overseeing the editorial and creative direction of the company and also coordinating the recording and production aspects of future sacred publishing efforts. Joseph has performed solo piano recitals and has been the featured artist with symphony orchestras in the United States and Mexico. As winner of the Nina Plant Wideman Competition, he performed with the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. His solo recital in Ex-convento del Carmen was broadcast nationally throughout the country. Joseph is Artist in Residence at Concordia University in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Sue, and his children Jonathan and Aubrey.

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