I found myself, a strong traditionalist, in a church that had suddenly become contemporary. I missed the sense of worship and reverence, what with bands thumping out praise songs with a night club beat and an informal style throughout the service. Despite what I say, these services have been a blessing to many and brought new people into the church.
One night I found myself dancing and singing – most uncharacteristically – to verses from Scripture. I wrote down the tune and knew that God had given me a new gift which was the beginning of Singing Scripture. (See webpage here.) When I sit at the piano with a passage of Scripture before me, the melody just comes and no one is more surprised than myself. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and has changed my life.
Strange to say, one of my criticisms of contemporary music was its repetitiveness. But in my first score, "I will praise the Lord with my whole heart”, I had far out done those songs! It is something I have continued, but no longer to excess, in my scores – it teaches Scripture.
But other composers who have missed the theology found in the great traditional hymns have started writing new hymns which sometimes sound like sermons! Others, like me, are writing new tunes for old hymns. The well-loved words and melodies are so familiar that we tend to sing them automatically. New tunes force us to concentrate on the words.
While Singing Scripture will continue to be my main interest, I shall sometimes write a new tune for an old hymn. Here are some you may listen to on YouTube Merle Lamprecht or download on https://musescore.com/user/164474
The king of love my shepherd is
Hark! The herald angels sing
Once in royal David’s city
Praise my soul the king of heaven
In the cross of Christ I glory
There is a green hill far away
A blessed New Year