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March 08, 2017


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Favorites: "Sanctuary" and "Blessed Be the Lord, the God of Israel"

Least favorite "Shine, Jesus, Shine" because it gets really shouts really fast and any song that was originally written to be a solo ballad and is therefore unsuited to congregational singing (solo ballads are great, they just don't transfer)

I know the trads disdain it, but I have a soft spot for "Gather Us In". I feel similarly about "On Eagle's Wings". I've heard it at too many funerals for me to feel at all snarky about it.

I spent my college years hiding from the Gather hymnal at an Episcopal church, where I was shocked to find a congregation that seemed to be born knowing how to read music and harmonize.

I hate to write a novel in your comments, but I have a theory that in many places, church is the only place where people sing. Many people can't read music. In some sense, they've forgotten how. My hometown church sang the same rota of a dozen or so songs because that's what everyone knew. Combine that with having the same priest for 20 years, and the congregation nearly revolted when the new priest showed up and started to play around with the liturgical music and hymns. "He wants us to sing in Latin," my mother disdained. "He's got some strange ideas about music*."

(*Mom translation: "This is making me learn something new and makes me uncomfortable, so I hate it.")

Very curious what your favorite/least are.

When I saw your post I trotted downstairs and pulled out my giant Gather accompanist book; I was frequently the accompanist for my mom (a cantor) and at Youth Encounter masses.... I haven't been a practicing Catholic since 1992 (and am only Christian in the sense that I aim to love God and love others), but I do have very tender feelings for many of the songs in this hymnal and play/sing from it a few times a year.

My favorites tend to be those with fun accompaniment and/or in minor keys: "Lord, to Whom Shall We Go" (Haas), "My Soul in Stillness Waits" (Haugen), "You are the Voice" (Haas), "Sing of hte Lord's Goodness" (Sands--in 5/4!), "Alleluia, Sing!" (Haas--in 10/8!!). (I also like "On Eagle's Wings" for fun accompaniment and in general even though it feels overdone...and I hadn't thought of "Gather Us In" until I saw it above, but I like that one too.

The ones I dislike are the ones that were the most overdone..."Love One Another," "Here I Am, Lord," "Be NOt Afraid," even if I liked them at one time. I still like "Peace is Flowing Like a River," though.

Hmmm. I went to an evangelical church with a full band for many years more recently, and they had some great songs. (Also some terrible "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs, but....) My all-time favorite might be "Beautiful Things" by Gungor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spkhp41ig4) although it is really better as a duet than for congregational singing. Gungor's 2010 album, also called Beautiful Things, is pretty great overall but not really suited to congregational singing. (Also check out "You Still Have Me"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpATmuPr84Q and "Late Have I Loved You"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WoCwuPXhvM--later based on St. Augustine.)

Can't think of any contemporary favorites for actual worship right now, though, as I haven't been attending for a few years. I'm always curious to see what songs crossover from denominational hymnals to other denominations, and which of the contemporary songs make it into Catholic services.... I know songs used at Mass are supposed to more strictly be based on Biblical texts etc. (which is probably why some of the more personal songs that I deride as "Jesus is my boyfriend" strike me as banal). Anyway, I'll be following!

I am a sucker for all the old-school (to me) 70s and 80s stuff. That's the music of my church childhood. I played flute at mass through college and grad school so those are all cemented in my brain. Plus some of the best liturgical music I've heard and been involved with was in college. Lots of fond memories of that.

Sometime in my childhood, I heard these songs described as "written by a bunch of hippie Jesuits sitting cross-legged and barefoot on a coffee table" and now that I have worked among the Jesuits (and indeed, even some of THE St. Louis Jesuits. Heard Roc O'Connor sing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun". Yep.), that probably isn't far from the truth.

Some faves: Shepherd me O God, Marty Haugen
Behold the Lamb of God, Bob Dufford.
Blest are they: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzH-Vo4ocRo
And the Gloria we did in college (the Mass of Light), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjZBoFv3kZA And only the old version, not the new translation.

I never said I had good taste in music. ;)

Sing a new song, Dan Schutte

and Though the Mountains May Fall (also by Schutte!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghXT5IOzt8g

I love them both for pure nostalgia. And I have a soft spot for any song that was on the "Hi, God" album by Carey Landry.

Also love Now We Remain by Haas.

Least Favorites:
One Bread, One Body
On Eagles' Wings
Gather Us In

boring, overdone, overdone.

If I had more time I could name a bunch more on both sides.

el-e-e, my husband sings One Bread, One Body as "One Bed, Three Bodies". That song is forever trashed. You're welcome, all that read this. But your favorites are awesome, for the nostalgia as you say. And Now We Remain is stuck in my head. :)

Oh, I forgot one that I dislike -- The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor. A certain priest in college, may God rest his soul, LOVED this one and it was always played in a dirge-like fashion. I recently learned it does NOT need to sound like a dirge and was astonished.

Mary, I didn't want to repeat but many of your faves are mine, too. (But I guess Jamie needs that info if this is a true poll.) LOVE "One Bed, Three Bodies! HA!

And that was a fun Gloria. I miss it. :) I loved the descant/harmonies.

Oh, I'm glad we agree, el-e-e!!
He has another one that I thought of this morning -- "We are Many Parts, We are All Dismembered".


I hate "Lord of the Dance" with the fire of a thousand purifying smudge pots.

My all time favorite contemporary song is "Lord I Need You" (Matt Maher).

And I leave you with this:

Coming back, first, to agree with bearing about "Lord of the Dance". Ugh ugh ugh.

Second, I kept seeing "On Eagle's Wings" (Eagles' Wings? Eagles Wings? Oh dear.) pop up on everyone's hate list and thought, "Huh, that's a lot of vitriol. It's not that bad. Is it?"

Cue to this morning when I was doing a neti pot at 4am, thinking of all manner of hateful things, when I remember the chest-heaving verses: "Upon their hands (breathe!) they will bear you up (breathe!) lestyoudashyourfootagainstastone."

Oof. Now I remember the eye-rolling.

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