Twenty Twelve in “Film”

Most of the action on URC Psalmody occurs right here on our WordPress-hosted blog.  But did you know that URC Psalmody also has a twin YouTube channel that’s regularly being updated?

As I wandered the world-wide web looking for resources related to the Psalter Hymnal, one thing that particularly grieved me was the sore lack of real recordings of its songs.  You can find a computer-generated MIDI file for any psalm or hymn tune fairly easily with websites like Hymnary.org and CyberHymnal.org, but it’s a much more difficult quest to obtain an MP3 recording of an actual congregation singing.  I was quite excited to discover the online music recording library of Cornerstone United Reformed Church in Hudsonville, MI, yet even this resource was somewhat lacking in convenience and accessibility.

A YouTube channel seemed to be an ideal solution to this problem.  Thus, on May 21 I uploaded our first video, in which I played the Gloria Patri (Psalter Hymnal #491) on the pipe organ at Christ Reformed Church in Washington, DC.  After that came a simple organ recording of #181 (“Jehovah Sits Enthroned”) and a piano improvisation on #74 (“As the Hart, About to Falter”).

Then came Synod 2012.  As I prepared for this meeting, I inquired of the synodical planning committee whether it would be possible to professionally record the singing of the 200+ delegates, which I knew would be otherworldly.  They answered in the affirmative, and by the end of synod I had all of the resulting audio files ready for editing on my computer.

One result of this project was the CD recording My Heart Was Glad to Hear the Welcome Sound, which was produced and distributed by Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church, the convening church of Synod 2012.  As it turned out, however, URC Psalmody’s YouTube channel proved to be the perfect place to share this incredible music with the whole world at no additional cost.  Thus, our next 30 (yes, thirty) videos contained the various songs from synod, combined with a slideshow of pictures taken during the week.  Of these, the recordings of “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” (#399), “For All the Saints” (#442), and “Jesus Saves” (#377) have become the most often-viewed videos on the entire channel.

Later in the summer I uploaded more videos to YouTube—some musical selections from West Sayville’s Teens All Serving Christ (TASC) project, an improvisation on Psalter Hymnal #168 (“Lord, the God of My Salvation”), and a few recordings of the congregational singing of West Sayville Reformed Bible Church.  When considering songs for uploading I try to pick some of the Psalter Hymnal’s lest familiar selections, since these are always the hardest to locate online.

One fruit of my October trip out to Community URC and Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Indiana came in the form of two new videos: the recording of my Sunday School class, “Psalms for a New Generation,” and a video interview with Jim concerning Chapter 8 of Sing a New Song.  These are much longer entries than single pieces of music (about 35-40 minutes each), but they constitute an exciting and important part of the channel!

When I got back from Indiana, there was a package awaiting me from my good friend and loyal blog reader Reita Julien.  Inside was a cassette tape from Trinity Orthodox Reformed Church in St. Catharines, ON.  Mrs. Julien had obtained permission for me to digitize this sparkling 1989 recording and post it online.  The result was the 17-track album Songs of Praise, which is now available on YouTube in its entirety.

Most recently I’ve created ten playlists that arrange our videos, as well as videos from other channels, by numerical order in the Psalter Hymnal: #1-50, #51-100, #101-150, #151-200, #201-250, #251-300, #301-350, #351-400, #401-450, and #451-493.  And I’ve also continued to upload a variety of other recordings of Psalter Hymnal psalms and hymns.  All in all, just like the rest of the blog, I am confident that URC Psalmody’s YouTube channel will continue to expand and grow in the year 2013!

Below is our very latest upload: the West Sayville Reformed Bible Church choir singing Psalter Hymnal #198, “Thou, O Lord, Art God Alone.”  This arrangement was created for New Year’s Day 2012, and it seems to merit a special mention here as we look forward to yet another new year.  Enjoy!

–MRK

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