A Modest Proposal: Making More Hymns “Familiar”

A few weeks ago, I was asked to lead music for the dedication of our new Stake Center. As usual, I was asked to select only “familiar” hymns for the congregational singing. As usual, I selected two hymns from among the ten or so that never get rejected or changed by the Stake Presidency at the last minute. It made me sad. Sad because we have so many beautiful hymns that are becoming lost to us, sad because we are too afraid to sing joyfully together even if we make mistakes, sad because I am convinced that God knows more than 10 hymns and would like us to learn to sing with him.

There are good logistical reasons for picking hymns everyone can easily sing in Stake meetings, and I’m not questioning my Stake Presidency’s judgment in this manner (so please don’t feel compelled to defend them in the comments or call me to repentance–at least not about this one thing!). But I think there are simple things we can do to learn more hymns together. I suppose this post is a plea to choristers and Ward Music Chairs everywhere to consciously teach the “unfamiliar” hymns in their wards. This is how I do it when I get to be in charge in my ward:

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