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100 Songs

100 Songs



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askedus to prepare “100Songs Every ParishShould Sing” (Summer 1994 issueof CHURCH) we developed ourlists separately, but chose almostidentical hymns and songs, andmerged them into a single list. Sincethen, new hymnals have been pub-lished, new composers and hymnwriters have established themselves,and the Roman Missal has a revisedGeneral Instruction.Parish musicians, too, have workedhard to develop singing congrega-tions, placing on the lips and in thehearts of singers the words of faith.The stated goal in our original arti-cle was to develop “a common coreof high-quality songs that they knowwell and sing with feeling, the kindof songs they would gladly pass onto the next generation or two.”Our goal this time is similar: to offeralist of songs with texts that expressour faith and solid tunes that sup-port the texts. These are hymns wecan sing by heart, in church and outof church, wherever Catholics gath-er. Many of the original “100 hymns”remain on the list, with additionstaking into account new composi-tions and expanded ideas. Such acore can provide unity to a mobileCatholic population, looking to be“at home” wherever they attend thecelebration of the Eucharist.While these are not the
hymnsa parish needs to sing, the list is astarting point. Most parishes will al-ready know many of the songs.Music directors might teach thiscommon repertoire to every con-gregation. Publishers might evenagree to include this core wheneverthey revise their music books, put-ting it into the hands of everyparishioner! The rest of a parish’srepertoire of music may be as variedas need and competence allow.We have had several concerns• that the texts express a sound the-ology, since they become a sung cat-echism for people of all ages• that many use texts based onScripture• that Latin chants are included toensure continuity with our tradition• that, since so many parishes aremulticultural, we include African-American hymns and English-Span-ish texts for all to sing. As othercultures increase, or in regions withlarge ethnic populations, non-Eng-lish hymns might well be included.• that, mindful of ecumenism, weinclude some hymns previouslythought of as “not Catholic,” but ap-propriate for Christians.What will you
find on this list?Christmas hymns and responsorial
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100 SongsEvery ParishShould Learn
Sheila Browne & Richard P. Gibala
By Heart
Ten years after publishing a popular list ofchoice songs for parishes,we asked the samemusician-authors to update their selections.
psalms, mainly, since these are al-ready sung throughout the land.Pending the publication of the revisedRoman Missal, we have not includedEnglish settings of the Ordinary of the Mass. Currently, most frequentlysung are Mass of Creation (Haugen),Community Mass (Proulx), St. Louis Jesuits Mass, Peoples Mass (Ver-mulst), and Mass of the City (Haas).Other popular Mass parts are Gloria(Lee) and Lamb of God (Isele).What you
find are songs thathave passed the test of time and oth-ers that seem to us destined to do so.1.
A Mighty Fortress
(EIN FESTEBURG) Written by Martin Luther,this is one of three hymns stronglyconnected to our Christian history.It is easily adapted to fit new hymntexts, including Christopher Idle’s“Christ’s Church Shall Glory.”2.
All Creatures of our God and King
(LASST UNS ERFREUEN) It is avery singable and playful tune. TheSt. Francis text makes for a timelyecological hymn. Other very finehymns set to this tune include: “YeWatchers and Ye Holy Ones,” forsaints days, Easter, and Marianfeasts (Mary is the “bearer of theeternal word” in verse 2) and “AHymn of Glory Let Us Sing” for theAscension. The song also proves thatone cannot sing too many alleluias!3.
All Glory Laud and Honor
(ST.THEODULPH) Sung throughoutthe world and in many languageson Palm Sunday, it deserves to beincluded in the parish’s first hun-dred hymns.4.
All People that on Earth Do Dwell
(OLD HUNDREDTH) One of thegreat hymns of the Christian church,it can be used as a processional for or-dinary Sundays or for great feasts.Organ preludes and other musicalarrangements of this hymn tune fororgan, brass, and other instruments(notably by Ralph Vaughan Williams)
make it appropriate for the most fes-tive occasions. It is also known as theDoxology—“Praise God from WhomAll Blessings Flow.”5.
(chant) This chant says“It’s Easter!” and people all over theworld know it. It can be usedthroughout the Easter season as thegospel acclamation. Mode VI is thechant most familiar to parishes andis easily sung unaccompanied, evenon weekday mornings.6.
Alleluia, Sing to Jesus
(HYFRYDOL)There are only six notes used in thistune (do through la) yet its noble sim-plicity invites all to join in! The text isappropriate during Easter as well asordinary time, at weddings and evenfunerals. Another well-known textsung to this joyful tune is “Love Di-vine, All Loves Excelling.”7.
Amazing Grace
(NEW BRITAIN),sung in all Christian denominationsand by many people in and out of church, the song’s text and tune reachthe heart. The tune is considered theAmerican hymn tune in our country.8.
At that First Eucharist
(UNDE ETMEMORES) The three short versesof this well-know hymn, eucharis-tic in nature, speak of unity and rec-onciliation.9.
Attende Domine
(chant) This sim-ple chant associated with the Lentenseason can be easily learned by anycongregation. A cantor or choir cansing the verses, with the assemblysinging the refrain. Although organaccompaniments are available, it ismost beautiful when sung unac-companied.10.
Be Joyful, Mary
(REGINA COELI)This text and tune can be sung dur-ing the Easter season, especiallyduring May when parishioners ask for Marian hymns. This hymn, theMarian anthem for Compline dur-ing Easter, is very singable and easyto learn.11.
Be Not Afraid
(Bob Dufford) Ac-cording to several surveys of the lastdecade, this is one of the most sunghymns in America and is now in-cluded in hymnals of other Christianchurches. People love the comfortingwords of this Scripture-based text.12.
Blessed Be the God of Israel
(FOR-EST GREEN) For those who singmorning prayer the tune is perfectfor the Canticle of Zachariah. Thetune is also a splendid alternate forthe Christmas text “O Little Townof Bethlehem.”13.
Blest Are They
(David Haas) Agood contemporary setting of theBeatitudes, this song works with con-gregations and with cantor or choir.14.
Celtic Alleluia
(Fintan O’Carroll& Christopher Walker) It can beused as a gospel acclamation. Itsvarious texts can be used as a gath-ering song, to accompany the sprin-kling rite, and as a dismissal song.The song seldom fails to arouse a joyous response.15.
Chant Mass: Kyrie XVI, SanctusXVIII, Agnus Dei XVIII
These simplechants are easily learned and arepart of our musical heritage asCatholics. They are especially usefulin multilingual celebrations.16.
The Church’s One Foundation
(AURELIA) This strong metricaltune, attributed to Samuel Sebast-ian Wesley, is another of the threetunes strongly connected to ourChristian history. Once a congrega-tion knows the tune, there are manynew texts available, including “YouWalk Along Our Shoreline” and“For All The Faithful Women.”17.
Christ Be Our Light
(BernadetteFarrell) This text and tune have manyuses in planning liturgies. With can-tor or choir singing the verses, therefrain is easy for a congregation tolearn, though it might quickly learnthe entire hymn, too. The music isversatile since it lends itself to organ,piano, and other instruments.18.
Come Holy Ghost
(LAMBILLOTTE)Another long-time parish favorite,it has received new life in Kevin Keiland Maryanne Quinlivan’s “OneSpirit, One Church.”19.
Creator of the Stars
(chant) Thissimple chant from the ninth centu-ry (
Creator Alme Siderum
) has passedthe test of time, can be found inmost worship aids, and can be sungunaccompanied.20.
Crown Him with Many Crowns
(DIADEMATA) Another stronghymntune set to a text with imagesdrawn from the book of Revelation.The song can be used during ordi-nary time (especially the last fewSundays) and during Easter.21.
Dismissal Chants
Every congre-gation should be able to respond tothese chants, especially if the bishopor a singing visitor priest appears!22.
Eat this Bread
(Taizé chant) ThisCommunion chant has a simple re-frain for the assembly with versesfor cantor or choir. Like most Taizésongs, the instrumentation is versa-tile, fitting any parish or group.23.
For the Beauty of the Earth
(DIX)People particularly like singingphrases that speak of the joys of human love, family, and friends.You may want to use this song inseasons when nature is particular-ly glorious. The hymn tune is verysingable and is used with manytexts, such as “As with Gladness”for Epiphany, which focuses on thetheme of light, praising Christ “oursun which goes not down.”24.
Faith of Our Fathers
(ST.CATHERINE)One of the three tunesstrongly connected to Christian his-tory, this is truly a Catholic hymntune. Another good hymn text “ALiving Faith” can be found in some
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newer hymnals.25.
For All the Saints
(SINE NOMINE)This strong hymn tune by contem-porary composer Ralph VaughanWilliams is coupled with a poetic text,and can be used during ordinarytime, especially toward All Saints andAll Souls Days and at funerals. Thetune is versatile and lends itself wellto the new text, “Go to the World”written by Sylvia Dunston.26.
Gather Us In
(GATHER US IN) by Marty Haugen. People findthemselves in the text—old andyoung, rich and poor—all are men-tioned as gathered together in thekingdom. It has become a powerfulgathering song that assemblies of all ages sing well. Instrumental partsare available to “dress it up.”27.
Gift of Finest Wheat
(BICEN-TENNIAL) A fine song for Com-munion procession, with versessung by cantor, choir, or even theassembly. This American Catholichymn was composed for the Eu-charistic Congress in Philadelphia1976, hymn tune by Robert Kreutz,text by Omer Westendorf.28.
Go Make of all Disciples
(ELLA-COMBE) This strong hymn is cou-pled here with an equally strongtune. It is suitable for Ascension,Pentecost, missions, evangelization,and feasts of the church.29.
God We Praise You
(NETTLE-TON) This hymn tune dances! The
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How to Read a Hymn
n most pew editions of hymnals, each hymn has amelody (
) only, with thetext (
) underneath. Choireditions include harmony(
) for choirs to sing, and fororganists/pianists, accompani-ment books are published.Often the title of a hymn is thefirst line, although that is not al-ways the case. For example, weknow the hymn which begins:“You satisfy the hungry heart”is actually entitled “Gift of Finest Wheat.”Underneath the hymn, credit isgiven to the person who wrotethe text (
) and to the per-son who wrote the music(
). Occasionally, it is oneand the same person. Also in-cluded might be significantdates when the hymn waswritten, the publisher of thehymn, and necessary copyrightinformation.
 Just as you and I are given a name,so a hymn tune is given a name.For example, the popular Christ-mas carol, “What Child Is This?”is usually sung to the tuneGREENSLEEVES. Some hymntunes are names of persons(MOZART), saints (ST ANNE),seasons (PASSION CHORALE),geographic locations (DUKESTREET and AMERICA), etc.There are interesting stories as tohow and why hymns are so named.
Why would you need to deter-mine the meter of a hymn? Per-haps you found a wonderfulhymn text that you would like touse, but the tune is unfamiliar toyour congregation. If you deter-mine the meter of the text, per-haps you can substitute a morefamiliar tune. For example, countthe syllables in this verse:
O God our help in ages past (8)Our hope for years to come. (6)Our shelter from the stormy blast (8) And our eternal home. (6)
The meter is 86 86, or CommonMeter (CM). Now look in themetrical index of your hymnal.(Most hymnals now have a met-rical index of hymns.) You seethere a number of hymn tunesthat are in the same meter. Weusually sing this hymn text tothe tune ST ANNE. You mightwant to test this idea of fittinghymn tunes and hymn texts bysinging this hymn to some of the other tunes listed for Com-mon Meter.The study of hymnody is quitefascinating. If you would like tolearn more, THE HYMN SOCI-ETY (www.thehymnsociety.org)is an ecumenical organization of people who study hymnodythrough their journal and annu-al conferences.

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