“Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ” Will Grow on You

Confession is good for the soul. I admit that when the TCBC choir first read “Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ” I wondered if I had made a mistake. Paul S. Jones’ composition isn’t easy, and I feared that the hymn wouldn’t prove to be useful, especially for the average congregation.

Well, our choir introduced it to our “average congregation” last week, and my mind has decidedly changed. It was very well received, both when the choir sang it and when the congregation sang it afterward. Jones’ tune is strong, allowing the worshiper to sing out heartily, as if making a celebratory pronouncement. The robust sound reflects what I believe is a robust text which covers almost every phase of Christ’s work. Even the change to a minor key in the middle of the verses, which I feared would be distracting, is effective and enjoyable, providing vocal variety and allowing the worshiper to anticipate the resolution and “Hallelujah!” of the chorus. It was a joy to sing. Nice work, Paul!

“Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ” is loaded with gospel truth that will cause churches to reflect on the person and work of Christ in fresh and powerful ways. Give it a try. It could be ideal for Christmas, as several lines emphasize the incarnation. Above all, don’t be intimidated by it, and don’t assume that because you’ve not mastered it after hearing it once that it won’t be effective. I’m confident that it will grow on you, hopefully in a big way. There’s textual and musical meat here that will reward a little effort!

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Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ (Text by Chris Anderson; Tune by Paul S. Jones)

Full Page / Half Page / Notes & Discussion / MP3 Sample

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Now, here are some tips that may help if you’re going to sing it chorally. As I said, we introduced it chorally, then sang it congregationally. If possible, I think that’s ideal. (In fact, I think that’s an ideal way to use your choir and keep prepared music intentionally congregational, but that’s for another post.) Here’s how we did it:

1. We sang the first verse in unison. This allowed us to begin with a very robust sound, and it also helped introduce the melody to the congregation. We did split into parts for the second line of the refrain, which was nice.

2. We had the sopranos and altos sing the second verse. We found that a 2-bar piano interlude (which was essentially a replaying of the last 2 bars of the chorus) was helpful.

3. We sang parts on the third verse. The text focuses on Christ’s passion, so we adjusted the tempo and mood to reflect that. We sang it a bit slower and legato, shifting from a bright choral sound to one that was more meditative. Again, our pianist was key, providing for us an interlude and essentially making the transition for us. Just be careful not to drag.

4. After another brief piano interlude, we were back to a tempo and unison for the climactic final verse.

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3 Responses

  1. Very glad to hear this. Good music will always keep you coming back for more, too.

  2. Sounds like it could be part of the James Montgomery Boice hymns written the year he died. Good work.

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