This is the time of year when many of our churches are thinking of their fall and winter music. New choirs will be organized in many places and new members added to old choirs. Study will be given to adding new music to the choir repertoire.
The new book, Choir and Solo Melodies, which came off the presses of the Review and Herald in time to be used at the General Conference session, is being well received in the field. About two thirds of the first printing of this 96-page book were bought in less than three months. Many of our choirs are already using it. It was used by the massed choir at the General Conference session. Nearly six hundred voices joined in the choir the first weekend and approximately four hundred the second week end. The numbers in this new book that were sung by the massed choir are as follows:
"Why Was He There?" page 1; "Jerusalem, My Glorious Home," page 2; "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," page 5; "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah," page 11; "Christ Is Coming!" page 33; "Lead Me Gently Home, Father," page 42; "All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name," page 57; "Great Is The Lord," page 80; "My Home," page 94. Choir responses used were "Be With Us, Gracious Lord," page 77, and the chorus, "I've anchored my soul" from "Rest In The Lord," page 23.
Useful to All Types of Choirs
In the compiling of this book, wide counsel was sought from our college music department heads, singing evangelists, choir directors, and other denominational musicians. The aim was to compile a book that would meet a wide need, selecting numbers that would not be too difficult for amateur choirs and yet including enough new and challenging numbers to satisfy our larger church and college choirs. We believe our larger choirs will particularly appreciate some of the following numbers which may be new to many of our musicians. "Why Was He There?" page 1, which is a beautiful new poem written by James McRoberts of Glasgow, Scotland, to the tune, Finlandia. Another excel lent number from the British Isles is the Welsh hymn, "The Lord's My Shepherd," on page 13, with a descant. "Unto The Hills Around Do I Lift Up," page 15, also has a descant. Among other numbers the following will be found very interesting and challenging: "Lead On, O King," page 26; "The Lord's Prayer," page 31; "Our God Shall Come," page 44; "Redemption Chorus," page 62; "The Heavens Resound," page 63; "Great Is The Lord," page 80; "The Ninety And Nine," page 86; "When These Things Begin To Come," page 92; "Jerusalem, My Glorious Home," page 2, and "Psalm 117," page 73. The music to this last number was written by George Wargo, head of the music department at Washington Missionary College. He was inspired to write this tune by the statement in The Desire of Ages, page 672: "Before leaving the upper chamber, the Saviour led His disciples in ... the joyful notes of the Passover hallelujah: 'O praise the Lord, all ye nations.' "
Amateur choirs and others will be interested in the fact that eighteen numbers in this volume were carefully gleaned from Christ in Song and several from Hymns and Tunes.
"Choir AND SOLO Melodies" Notice that the name is Choir AND SOLO Melodies. Some thirty selections in this book about one third the total number are suitable either as choir numbers or as solos. For instance, on page 1 is the excellent number, "Why Was He There?" which we have already mentioned. I became acquainted with this new three-stanza poem to Finlandia while I was in London in 1952. Here are the moving words of the first stanza: "Whefl I behold my Saviour there on Calv'ry, O soul of mine be still, reflect awhile; Gaze on that face, those hands, His feet and side, Into those eyes, portraying naught of guile. Why was He there: by God and man forsaken? The Man of Sorrows bows His head to die."
Then on page 5 is the song, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," which Del Delker sings so effectively as a solo. Raymond Turner-also uses it a great deal in his evangelistic work. "The Lord's ;My Shepherd," and "Unto The Hills," on pages 13 and 15, are effective as solos, with a violin playing the descants. One of the favorite songs of Ellen G. White, "The Beautiful Hills," appears on page 24. "I Need The Prayers" has been sung through the years by the King's Heralds and has been a great favorite with their radio and public audiences. This can also be used effectively as a solo. It appears on page 68. On page 86 is an arrangement of "The Ninety And Nine" with a special high ending for solo voice.
"A Song Of Heaven And Homeland" has been a perennial favorite with Seventh-day Adventists for many years. I believe it was first popularized among us as a people by George W. Greer. Now you can have the music to this favorite in this new book. We cannot mention all the solos, but among others we believe you will appreciate "Wonderful," "All Your Anxiety," "My Love For Him," "Paradise," "The Broken Heart," "The Lamb Of God," "We Walk By Faith," et cetera.
Another interesting feature about Choir and Solo Melodies is the fact that in twenty-eight of the numbers in this volume either the lyric, the music, or the arrangement was written by a Seventh-day Adventist musician. This is indicated by an asterisk in the index, where the solo titles also appear in boldface type. Choir and Solo Melodies can also be used effectively by a mixed quartet.
Those who have the responsibility of organizing choirs in connection with our evangelistic campaigns will" find this volume immensely practical. Every selection in the book was chosen carefully, and we believe every number could be used effectively in an evangelistic 'series. There are no "fillers" in the book, chosen simply to fill space. We believe, too, that those attending our evangelistic meetings will be interested in purchasing the book for their own use if it is available at the bookstand. With Choir and Solo Melodies right in their home, they will begin singing some of the numbers used at the meetings, and in this way become more attached to the meetings and to the mes sage.
This volume fills a great and long-felt need in our ranks. It is available through your Book and Bible House.