Hymns & Songs of the Brethren
Several years ago, I was invited to help provide creative music resources to the worship services with my local congregation of Brethren. Intrigued by the opportunity to seek new forms of expression, I explored the Brethren/Mennonite hymnal (Hymnal: A Worship Book: Pew Edition Brethren Press, Faith & Life Press, Mennonite Publishing House. 1992) for innovative and inspirational songs and hymns. During my exploration, I found multi-national folk songs, Gregorian chants, traditional church hymns and contemporary tunes. Early creative attempts included drumming; fiddle, whistle, and gospel-style piano arrangements; acapella, canons, and sing-a-longs; and even egg shakers distributed among the congregation members! I was drawn to the songs in the hymnal that worked well on my 12-guitar, and I now use more than 100 in a special collection for the early service. The hymns are arranged as folk songs and use a traditional string band for accompaniment. The main instrument is the 12-string guitar tuned in DADGAD. This modal tuning lends an archaic mood to the songs with the droning strings giving a sense of calmness and serenity. Other instruments included in the recording are: String Bass, Octave Mandolin, 5-string claw-hammer banjo, and a 6-string guitar.