Growing (March 15th)
Last week I began indexing the 1995 Chalice Hymnal to create a list of where to find the tunes therein set out in Numbered notation. This will make the entire thing more useful with pianists who have learned to play from numbers (a system familiar in East Asia) rather than from notes in 5-line staffs. I didn’t know when I began how big the project would turn out to be. The first thing that I dropped out was the idea of having a list of url’s so that computer versions of the tunes could be accessed. That was REALLY going to mean running down a rabbit hole.
The Chalice has 725 items (hymns, litanies, prayers, inspirational sayings, etc.) plus a selection of psalms with sung responses. I skipped the psalms, cutting down the number of things to deal with to 725. Then I skipped anything that didn’t have a tune, further cutting my task to about 600 items. As I worked through the Chinese hymnals and songbooks available to me, I figured that anything in the Chalice that was written after 1980 would NOT be in my sources. That cut me to about 450. I think I’ve found better than 350 of those. My next job will be to find more recent Chinese “youth song books”, which may have some stuff from 1980 and later.
Other things I discovered in the Chalice (which will be useful as time passes) are those litanies, prayers, inspirational sayings, etc. Rather than writing my own, or doing “copy and paste” from the internet, it will become my practice to choose from the hymnbook and say, “turn to # 319 in your and let’s read together what we find there”. It will also serve to imprint on the participants the usefulness of the book and the quality of what’s presented to us there NOT in musical form.
A hymnal is more than a songbook, and worship is more than listening to a sermon. Maybe, at age 65, it’s time that I grew up as a pastor.