Jerry Rushford on Timeless Hymns

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.

Pepperdine Bible Lectures

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.

Sharon and I pictured with Jerry Rushford in Falls Church, Virginia

Sharon and I pictured with Jerry Rushford in Falls Church, Virginia

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.

If you'd like to learn more about how to host a Praise & Harmony workshop at your congregation, find out more here.  Also, consider sponsoring your gifted song leaders to attend this year's Worship Leader Institute.

"Take The Lord With You" singing mission in Grand Cayman

Here's another aspect I love about a cappella congregational singing -- if you encourage everyone to sing whole-heartedly regardless of ability, and if you invest time equipping people to sing harmony, the results can be stunning! Even small groups can produce a joyful sound that brings to mind the robust volume typical of a much greater number.  Check out this video taken by Randy Lamp in Grand Cayman. Notice how the singing comes across as greater than the actual number in attendance.

The singers traveling with us invested time in learning the harmony parts to the songs before the trip. The Grand Cayman churches who participated also worked on the songs ahead of time.  After the Praise & Harmony Workshop, Acappella shared an edifying concert with us.  I counted multiple cell phones taping most of the concert.

Follow our ministry here on PraiseAndHarmony.com to learn of future trips. We especially need basses and altos to join us on mission trips, including Germany and England in 2015.

Posted on December 10, 2014 .

Georgetown Praise And Harmony Workshop

Three congregations of Georgetown, Grand Cayman joined together to host a Praise & Harmony Workshop in December.

This opportunity was the very first time that a  Praise & Harmony congregational workshop was combined with an Acappella concert.

This particular mission trip turned out to be very special because of the singers from across the United States who joined us for this Worship Workshop.

Instead of flying to Georgetown, the Praise & Harmony singers and families met in Fort Lauderdale to board a cruise with a singular stop in Grand Cayman.  The rehearsal, fellowship and worship times on the ship were priceless.

Speaking of cruises, we are finalizing plans for a singing cruise in January 2016 to feature congregational singing and a variety of concerts.

Posted on December 8, 2014 .

2015 Schedule: Join us for Praise and Harmony

Plan a road trip to join us and tell your friends about the dates in their regions across the nation.

January 10, 11        Eustis, FL

January 21-23        Lubbock, TX

February 7, 8         Jacksonville, FL

February 14, 15        Gainesville, FL 

March 7, 8           Mesquite, TX

March 13-15           Pegram, TN

March 18-21        Tulsa, OK

March 28, 29        Cookeville, TN

April 3            Oxford, MS

April 8            Brooklyn Park, MN

April 12            Rapid City, SD

April 15            Omaha, NB 

April 25, 26            Cullman, AL

April 30-May 3        Fairbanks, AK

May 16, 17            Killen, AL

June 3            Carson City, NV

June 7            Salt Lake City, UT

June 10            Bozeman, MT 

June 14            Jackson Hole, WY 

June 20            Meridian, ID

June 28-July 1        Nashville, TN

July 1-3            Nashville, TN

July 25 - 31        Tulsa, OK

July 26            Tulsa, OK

August 27-29        Lancaster, England

September 12, 13        Baytown, TX

September 19, 20    Lubbock, TX

September 24-26    Silver Maple, KS

October 4            Edmond, OK

October 9-11        Virginia Beach, VA 

October 17-18        Plano, TX

October 24, 25        Athens TN

Oct 31-Nov 1        Middletown, OH  

November 7, 8        Hot Springs, AR 

November 14-15        Childress, TX 

November 21-24        Rothenburg, Germany

Posted on November 28, 2014 .

Audition for the Nashville Recording Session of Praise & Harmony Worship

The dates for the Nashville recording session are set for June 28 - July 1 at Lipscomb University.

This video was taken in Plano, Texas at the Righteous God recording with Mike Rogers directing.

Join hundreds of talented, volunteer vocalists who audition as SATB quartets. Those who are accepted agree to regular rehearsals and to learning the music before the recording session in Nashville, Tennessee.   Check out the recording FAQ for more information.

Posted on November 16, 2014 .

Speaking to One Another in Song

Have you ever noticed how we usually sing to the back of the head of the person sitting in front of us?

Praise & Harmony Workshop

Wouldn't it be strange to carry on a conversation with someone and never see his or her face?  The Bible says, "Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," yet we normally orient our "singing conversations" to be speaking to the back of the head of the person in front of us.  We are also told to "teach" one another through song. With such an interactive command, perhaps we should re-evaluate our seating arrangements for mutual edification. 

The photo illustrates one of the many practical exercises of the congregational equipping Praise & Harmony Workshops.  More than just a singing seminar, the Praise & Harmony Workshop is designed for the long term benefit of the church's worship experience.

Posted on October 14, 2014 .