Posts Tagged 'Video'

Trinity Psalter Hymnal Recordings

Eenige Gezangen

Today I’ve collected a list of YouTube videos to go along with the portion of the psalm section of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal that is in the public domain or administered by the OPC/URCNA Joint Venture. All in all, there are about 60 videos, between a fifth and a quarter of the total psalm selections in the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Hopefully this number will grow as time goes on.

Thanks to the gracious permission of our friends at, I have adapted a table of contents from their online documentation of the songbook, which already includes many psalm and hymn texts and page scans. Now the table links to texts, page scans, and videos when available. You can view the finished product here.

These links can help pastors, musicians, and church members in several ways, particularly during this season of livestreaming services.

  • The page scans make it easy to dive into the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. It is almost effortless to pull them up on a phone, tablet, or computer, as well as to integrate them into a conferencing platform (depending on your church’s livestream setup). Of course, only a portion of the book’s contents are available this way, and you should really buy a complete digital PDF edition of the songbook if you or your church are planning on using it in electronic format long-term.
  • Even when a particular page scan isn’t available because of a copyrighted tune, you can still often read the complete lyrics. This means members can sing along to many selections without needing to have their own copies of the hymnal handy. Of course, it would be ideal if churches could loan their pew editions of the songbook to families until they are able to hold corporate worship services again, but quarantine restrictions in some areas might have already made this a logistical nightmare.
  • Choosing videos to include wasn’t easy, but I searched long and hard for recordings that would be easy to sing along with. Some are a cappella, some with voices and instruments, some with instruments alone. The musical styles vary. For some, the quality is pretty shabby. But I looked for recordings that provided a simple, effective rendition of the psalm setting that will be easy for musical and non-musical members alike to follow.
  • Both during and after this season of uncertainty, pastors and musicians can use the video links to become familiar with the tunes of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal in order to make the most fitting choices for worship services.

Will I be able to add videos for the hymn section next? I’d like to. But no promises.

That’s all for now–please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.


Resources for Remote Worship

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created numerous challenges for churches in many countries where public gatherings are now temporarily forbidden. As church leaders wrestle through questions of live-streaming services, singing is a major question. To my knowledge, no free streaming platform can deliver the synchronization needed for a group of church members to sing digitally together.

So, at this point, many of us are settling for second-best options. One of these is simply for the pastor to lead the singing as part of the livestream, if he has a strong singing voice. Another option is to gather a small slice of the congregation in person to provide the music for the livestream, which other members can follow along with from their own homes. Still another option is to leave singing out of the livestream entirely and to encourage families to sing together in a separate time of household worship before or after the service.

There are plenty of online resources that can assist with some aspects of planning music during this time of upheaval and confusion. For the sake of time, I will only mention two right now; I will gather more resources as I have the opportunity.

  1. The publishers of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal have announced temporary permission for churches that already own the songbook to use any of its music that is under the public domain or copyrighted by the OPC and URCNA in livestreamed services until May 11, 2020. At this point I am not clear on whether this includes digitally reproducing the sheet music for these songs, or merely for streaming a recording of them.
  2. The website, the most comprehensive index of hymns and hymnals available to my knowledge, includes a vast array of free resources including sheet music and sometimes audio recordings. Page scans of all public domain songs and OPC/URCNA copyrighted songs from the Trinity Psalter Hymnal can be viewed for free on this website. A more limited set of resources is also available for the 1959/1976 CRC Psalter Hymnal (blue).

Worship leaders may also find some of the archives of URC Psalmody useful during this time. In particular, our YouTube channel includes playlists with many recordings of the songs in the blue Psalter Hymnal. (Unfortunately, there is no such resource yet available for the Trinity Psalter Hymnal.) Many of these recordings were created by congregations and choirs and are thus easy to sing along with. Some of the recordings even have lyrics integrated into the video.

The West Sayville URC has asked me to provide a list of songs available online to suggest for family worship tomorrow, and I am including them here in case they are helpful to other churches as well. Depending on how the next days and weeks play out, I may continue to post suggestions for singable family worship music here for future Sundays.

(The numbers are coordinated with the Trinity Psalter Hymnal for those who have personal copies of the songbook.)

148b. Hallelujah, praise Jehovah
Lyrics and music:
Recording with lyrics:

415. We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing
Lyrics and music:
Recording (lyrics for v. 1 only):

476. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
Lyrics and music:
Recording (no lyrics):

245. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
Lyrics and music:
Recording (no lyrics):

I am sure we all look forward to worshiping with one another in flesh and blood as soon as it is safe and feasible to do so. May God get the glory during this time of change and uncertainty.


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 and, 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!


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