Try the "Chorus Songs"

A good song service before the sermon is a matter of importance.

By ROBERT S. FRIES, Pastor, Pleasantville, New Jersey

A good song service before the sermon is a matter of importance. One should do all he can to have the congregation join heart­ily in singing to the praise of King Jesus. Prominent song leaders are using chorus songs because they are easily memorized, and folk love to sing them. The majority of people do not read music from a songbook. We all know what happens if a song is announced with which they are not familiar—the song leader sings a solo, while the people listen. But chorus songs, are easily learned. Most of them consist of a sentence repeated several times. For example: "Jesus never fails ; Jesus never fails. Heav'n and earth may pass away, but Jesus never fails." Any audience can memo­rize the words and the tune after hearing it once, and how they do enjoy singing songs from memory.

Remember that chorus songs are not sung just once; they are repeated a number of times. Have the women sing, then the men, then all together. If some person in the audience has a good voice, cal) on him or her to sing, and then have everybody sing it again. A de­lightful surprise is in store for one who has never used chorus songs, in seeing how effec­tive they are, in winning the good will of the congregation.

If a stereopticon is used, you will find that chorus songs will get the people to singing much more quickly. A beautiful picture of Jesus, shown with the words of this song, "Be Like Jesus," will soon convince anyone that people love to sing chorus songs. Another excellent way to use chorus songs is to use one as your "theme song" for the entire week. In our meetings, we sing the "theme song" just before the sermon. Throw on the screen Mtmkacsy's painting of "The Crucifixion," with the words of "I Love Him." After sing­ing it once, have the audience hum or sing softly. A spirit of reverence will then come over your audience, preparing the way for the sermon. Use the same chorus every night for a week. Tell the people to sing it during the day when they are at work. It will help to lighten their burdens and cares.

For the second week use, "You must open the door, you must open the door ; when Jesus comes in He will save you from sin, but you must open the door." When "Heaven" is pre­sented, use, "There is joy in that land where I'm bound." When the Sabbath question is reached, there is no better thought to present than is found in the theme chorus, "It pays to serve Jesus, it pays every day, it pays every step of the way," and later on, "Keep me true, Lord, keep me true. May all I say and all I do, prove, dear Lord, I'm true to you." Thus your theme song preaches, as well as your sermon.

Occasionally we give the evening song serv­ice over to singing all the chorus songs the people have learned. Let them call for their favorites. With a few well-chosen words from the song leader before or after each chorus, this will make an evening long to be remembered. Then there are songs in the same key that fit together very well. Without a break we go smoothly from one chorus to another, and back again. Try this combina­tion: Sing the chorus of "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know ;" then, without stop­ping, sing, "Precious name, O how sweet." Then go back to the first one once more, and thus you swing from one chorus to another without stopping. Sing the double chorus three times, and listen to the people sing. With a little thought, other chorus combinations will easily suggest themselves to your mind.

Occasionally we combine three songs to­gether into one, using a stanza and the chorus of one song, then a stanza and the chorus of a second song, and close with the chorus, "Keep me true, Lord." Here is one that goes well—one stanza and chorus of "We thank Thee, 0 God, for the Son of Thy love," then a stanza and the chorus of "0 happy day that fixed my choice," then the chorus, "Keep me true." You will notice that all these songs are in the same key. Call attention to the words before singing. We thank God for Jesus our Saviour in the first song; then we sing of the happy day when we accepted Him as our Saviour, then we have a prayer in our heart that He will keep us true to Him. Thus a beautiful, effective sermon in song is sung by your con­gregation.

The words and music for a large number of these chorus songs are found in the following books: "Songs and Choruses," by Mary Clarke; "Rhodeheaver-Ackley Choruses; "Triumphant Service Songs," utility edition ; and "Praise and Victory Songs." We suggest getting all four books, for no one of them contains all you will want to use, and the price is nominal. Your Book and Bible House can order these chorus songs from the Rhode-heaver Company. [For further, information, see Page 44.—Editor]

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By ROBERT S. FRIES, Pastor, Pleasantville, New Jersey

October 1940

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