Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My old hymn books

In my Memorial Day entry I mentioned the favorite hymn of my childhood.  In my entries about the cabin, I have talked about the old song books from Grandma Steven's little Zion Church of Christ.  My mom had saved several of these old paperback songbooks, and I have them now.  One of the books is at the cabin.  They really aren't as old as I thought; as you can see here, the copyright date is 1940.  I recall one time when Big Creek got out of its banks and flooded old Zion Church, Grandma put all these songbooks on her clothesline to dry.

The Church of Christ didn't (and many still don't) believe in instrumental music, so in order to make the music sound pretty, we learned at a young age to sing our parts... suprano, alto, tenor or bass.  With no piano to help us stay with the melody, our songbooks used shaped notes.  About every two or three years, someone would come through and conduct a "singing school" at church, and teach us to read the shaped notes.  I learned to sing alto as Mother, Daddy and I traveled in the car.  The three of us would sing our hearts out! 

The Churches of Christ in north Missouri were small congregations compared to the more widely-known Baptist and Methodist churches.  On the first (or fourth, I'm not sure which) Sunday of the month, a dozen or more congregations of the Church of Christ would meet for a "singing", with a basket dinner beforehand; each congregation would take its turn hosting.  Sometimes the song leader would take requests, and I always asked for "On Jordan's Stormy Banks".

The sad thing is, hardly anyone sings the old songs I loved so much.  Oh yes, we all sing "Amazing Grace" and a few select "classics" of the Church.  But so many have fallen by the wayside; I wonder, when I'm on my deathbed longing to hear the old songs, who will sing them to me?  Will anyone know them?


amiragabrielle said...

Amazing Grace I love to sing this Ole blessed song. I too, belong to the Church of Christ. First in Tennessee where, I was born. I have lived in Missouri since Nov. 79. We still sing with no instrumental instruments we belong to the Dix Road Church of Christ in Jefferson City, Missouri. I prefer to sing the songs I was raised singing as a child. The Old Rugged Cross is another I love. God bless you all.

Gabrielle Gengler

ksquester said...

I am sure you know the story of amazing grace.....and what a wonderful one it is too! That would make a great entry. We have the soundtrack of my favorite movie, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"  It's the only movie I have paid to see several times. "Oh Sister let's go down, let's go down, won't you come on down, Oh Sister, Let's go down, down to the River and pray."   I LOVE IT!    aNNE

tendernoggle said...

I remember my mamaplaying the piano at the little church we attended when we were small...she played by ear.....I can still hear "I was sinking deep in sin" and "On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross" being played on that piano by my mama.....the woman too shy to leave her home but brave enough to play for her church! I was very little, and she would let me sit on the piano bench with her!

My favorites are "IN The Garden", "How Great Thou Art", "Oh Holy Night", "Because He lives", and yes, "Amazing Grace" . (I love old timey gospel music!)
Take care,

domesticatedchic said...

I love to sing.. I used to also be in a choir but I sang soprano1.. it was a cappella.. without music mostly and it was a fun time..
I think that it is great that you still have those books.. that is so cool! :) Melaney

toonguykc said...

Maybe you need to google the lyrics and forward them to the many people in your journal community.  Smoking has given me a pretty deep voice, but I think I could still contribure.  What am I even talking about?  You'll outlive me by at least a decade!  ;)    Russ

csandhollow said...

I know the songs but I sing something terrible! But I love to sing them.

plieck30 said...

I too miss the old hymns. I have an old hymn book from the Methodist church where I grew up in a small Texas town. I can't sing well but those old hymns are so much easier to sing then the new ones. Paula

bookncoffee said...

We have a lot of new songs, but guess what!  We still sing I'll Fly Away, Old Rugged Cross, and Amazing Grace.  

purplemustang82 said...

Yes you are right our old songs from the old hymnals are long gone I thought until our Paster started playing the old hymns before Church services starts every morning and evening of Sundays and on Wednesday nights..   But  when he  stop preaching at our Church 07-06-2005 the music doesn't sound like the old Church hymns.  Its that modern UP to date music that don't sound like GOSPEL MUSIC the way that it was when we were children.... our Paster favor hymns SOME GOLDEN DAY BREAK... TEACH ME TO PRAY LORD... TO GOD BE THE GLORY... PEACE BE STILL.. TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY... I could go on but you know what I mean about the old song from old hymn they have been forgotten.. talk to you later prayerlady54@church.com 12-09-2005