Richard Van Auken’s first three books, Hymn Introductions And Verses, are available now combined into a single book. In addi- tion to the tunes in those books, he provided notes and sugges-tions to organists. This combined book is in print and may be ordered from Frog Music Press. This new book, 25 Introductions & Verses on Familiar Hymn Tunes, is a continuation of those books, settings of hymns that have been requested by organists to add to their collections. Some of these musician’s names appear as dedications.
The difficulty in using alternate accompaniments with congregations is that the people expect things to be done in a certain way and any varia- tions become matters of concern. As organists who choose to raise the pitch of the last verse know, as many people who love this are equal to those that do not.However, Richard Van Auken is an experienced church musician and as a result, knows how to make it possible to overcome and convert the nay-sayers in your church.
Since the problem is that they are “used to things the way they are,” the solution is to create a new way of doing things, one that is con- sistent. Consistency results in acceptance.
In his arrangements he begins with an introduction, one that in- dicates to the people that this is not just a hymn played right out of the hymn book. People like knowing what is going on, no surprises.Following the introduction, verses are sung with a standard har- monization until the last verse. The congregation hears something very different during the singing of the last word, notice that something spe- cial is happening. A modulation with themes based on the hymn raises the pitch as well as the expectations of the people.
The last verse then soars throughout the building to a full, glori- ous ending.It’s beautiful, it’s consistent and it works.©2012 Richard Van AukenNoel JonesHymn Tunes with page numbers:
America 1 Angel’s Story 3 Beecher 6 Darwall’s 148th 9 Ein’ Feste Burg 12 Faithfulness 15 Foundation 18 Germany 20 Hamburg 22 Hanover 24 Joy To The World 26 Lambilotte 29 Lasst Uns Erfreuen 31 Laudes Domini 34 Lobe den Herren 36 Moscow 39 O Store Gud 41 Puer Nobis Nascitur 45 Salzburg 47 St. Flavian 50 St. Thomas 52 The First Nowell 54 Truro 57 Wareham 59 Wunderbarer König 62 Hymnary.org and other websites have comprehensive lists of the texts that may be sung to these tunes.