Monday, April 16, 2007

The Singing of Hymns

Alison Krauss

This weekend brought two experiences that I will not soon forget, if ever.

Almost two years ago, my friend, Billy Ray Hearn approached David Hamilton and myself about this idea he had to do a "Hymn-Sing" with the Nashville Symphony in the new $126 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville.

Well, his dream came true this past Friday and Sunday night, and oh what an evening (of the worship of God through the singing of some of the greatest hymns ever writen) both nights were.

(To read more about the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, scroll down on the right panel of my blog to Archives and click on May 2006 and find my entry dated May 11, 2006)

Billy Ray insisted that the evening be about the singing of these great hymns. I want to believe his wish was accomplished in grand style and with great fervor. The balance of some fantastic guest artists singing a great hymn, along with the amazing Nashville Symphony playing some of the most gorgeous hymn arrangements ever penned by both Ronn Huff and conductor, David Hamilton (including an orchestration by one of our church orchestra members, David Shipps!) allowed the evening to flow smoothly.

Steven Curtis Chapman served as a "down home" host for the evening, and when he sang "Fairest Lord Jesus" with his guitar and sang the words, "that makes the woeful heart to sing" - I just about lost it.......and that was only the 4th song of the evening. CeCe Winans singing "Blessed Assurance", the Fisk Jubileee Singers singing two spirituals, Steve Green singing "What Wondrous Love Is This" (on Friday night), then David Phelps singing it on Sunday night, followed by everyone singing "It Is Well With My Soul" acappella, then Alison Krauss came out and humbly and graciously offered her rendition of "Be Thou My Vision"

Last night, I was able to take my entire family including my mother and father-in-law, and we got to sit in a box literally over-looking the stage. My son, Ben was amazed watching the (6) arco players right below him (he could have reached out and touched them!), Seth was stunned by vs.3 of David Hamilton's movie-score-sounding version of "A Mighty Fortress", and then maybe the most moving experience I have had in some time was to sit next to my 17-year old "jock" son as he sang EVERY lyric to EVERY hymn we sang all evening.

I have pondered that all the way home last night, after I got home from the event, and this morning as well. How is that? How is it that a teenage young man would know these hymns and be willing to sing them aloud (especially sitting in a box perched above the stage where EVERYONE can watch you!)? I so want to believe that he has paid attention in worship for these past 10-11 years or so that he has sat in the balcony with his friends. I want to believe that the years of kids choirs where wonderful teachers and helpers taught him that these hymns are as important to him as learning Math, History, and English.......

I don't wish to take any credit here - I only rejoice that I got to sit next to him and listen......that I got to experience with my family the joy of worshipping God in the singing of these gems of theology........and I got to do that in a room that was designed for people to appreciate (and yes even sometimes "worship") great music!

This past Friday night and Sunday night, we heard some of the greatest music ever written, and yes we appreciated it, but I pray we were more overwhelmed and appreciative of the Creator of that great music - I know I was.......