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Philocrites has a post up asking for readers' favorite Unitarian-Universalist hymns. I'm not terribly familiar with what hymns made it into the standard UU hymnals, but I was lucky enough to remember that we sang my favorite hymn of all time, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," at Miami Valley UU this summer, and thus I could vote for it. The question got me thinking about some of the other hymns I really like. Most hymns are not very exciting -- the same few "churchy" chords, and made up of only quarter notes (did people used to think rhythm was sinful?). But there are some that are really powerful musically. Anyway, since I was puttering around the web looking for sound files, I figured I'd blog my short list of favorite hymns. I don't know which of these are in UU hymnals, but this is my blog, and I'll do as I please. Ones that I've found sounds and lyrics for are linked, but be warned that the sites start playing the midi automatically when you go to the page.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" This was written for Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and is sometimes known as the Black National Anthem. There's a tendency for people to play it slower than I'd like (the midi I linked to is all right, tempo-wise).

"I The Lord of Sea and Sky"

"Earth and All Stars"

"Battle Hymn of the Republic" This used to be my favorite song, way back before I started listening to popular music. Unfortunately, a lot of arrangers tend to want to make it a slow, soulful, "Amazing Grace" type of song. I much prefer a version that keeps to the military march character of the original.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" I left Christmas songs off the list, but this one sneaks on because it's technically an Advent song, and it's quite underrated (as compared to most Christmas hymns -- I mean, does anybody need to be told that "O Holy Night" is a good song?).

"God of Grace and God of Glory" This was popular at Colgate's University Church (I think Harry Emerson Fosdick, the author, had some connection to Colgate). There's apparently an alternate tune, so when we sang it to that tune at Universalist Memorial in DC I was quite disconcerted.


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