Spirit-Tempered Hymnal, The

for Choir and Organ

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As a long-time Christian in the Reformed tradition, I have always been fond of the music of the Christian Church. When I was a member of a previous church in Bloomington, founded by my pastor brother-in-law, my wife and I, and several other families, I was inspired by a Christmas program given by the children of our church to write a new Christmas carol (albeit not one for the children in particular to sing). That work, "What Wondrous Christmas," launched a series of 24 hymns and carols, one in each major and minor key, all set to my own texts. The latter were almost always much more challenging for me to come up with, given that my training and expericence in writing poetry was minimal. Thus, the name of the entire collection, The Spirit-Tempered Hymnal, is obviously modeled on the Well-Tempered Clavier of JS Bach. I did do some experimentation and word-painting in these hymns, including hymns in three and five voices, and splitting to as many as seven parts on the word "divide" before going to a unison on "unite." These hymns have been sung in three different churches to date, although I have not promoted them. For a few years, back in the days when I had time to send out Christmas cards to family and friends, I was composing a new carol for each year's card. I believe this was done by the well-known carol composer, Alfred Burt, but I was not aware of his practice at the time.

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