If you've never heard Jerry Rushford share the historical backgrounds of favorite hymns, you have missed a special treat. My bucket list includes joining a trip to the U.K. with Dr. Rushford, who hosts hymn tours to the U.K. Recently, Rushford appeared on CBS's Sunday Morning in this clip:
Our children were blessed to be in England at the same time that Jerry was conducting one of his hymn tours. They share the special experience of visiting the very place where "Amazing Grace" was written, and my son-in-law, Allen Brantley, led the entourage in singing the hymn in that very place. Sharon and I visited the Handel House museum in London, but nothing compares to Rushford's retelling of the special moments that took place at that location.
It is no surprise that vibrant congregational singing is highlighted at the annual Pepperdine Bible Lectures, which Rushford directed for many years and is now led by Mike Cope. In traveling the nation to conduct our Praise & Harmony Workshops, I often hear of people including attending the Pepperdine Lectures on their bucket lists. Leading worship for this crowd is an exhilarating experience! But as much as I enjoy leading for the large crowds, experiencing congregational singing in the intimate atmosphere and soaring acoustics of Pepperdine's Stauffer Chapel is an unforgettable blessing. Here is an HDR photo I took of the chapel one year:
"In Christ Alone" is one of my favorite contemporary hymns because it is chock-full of the Gospel message. This song encourages us to reiterate and declare the tenants of our faith, which is one of the reasons that God intended for Christians to sing. We recorded "In Christ Alone" on our Praise & Harmony "Only God" CD which can be purchased here. We are passionate about equipping non-musicians and untrained singers in how to hear and sing harmony on these precious songs. That's why every Praise & Harmony album includes two discs: the primary CD featuring all the songs along with an additional "vocalist training disc," which isolates the harmony parts. This disc helps individuals sing along in harmony "by ear." Sheet music and powerpoint music notation slides for use in worship are also available at The Acappella Company on-line store.
Those who enjoy singing classic hymns along with contemporary worship songs will thoroughly enjoy our Singing Cruise Vacation. Information on how to sign up is available right here on our Praise & Harmony site.