Getting to Know the Assembly Song Companion to All Creation Sings

Feb 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM / by Augsburg Fortress

Picture it: You and your colleagues are sitting around a table (or meeting over Zoom), making plans for Lent and the Three Days. You have recently become familiar with All Creation Sings and are considering what new hymns you’ll introduce. You come to ACS 930, “Three holy days enfold us now.” The tune, ROCKINGHAM OLD, is familiar to your congregation. But what about this new text? The note on the bottom of the page indicates the hymn is “especially fitting as a gathering song prior to the confession on Maundy Thursday,” but you would like to know more. This is when having the newly released Assembly Song Companion nearby is especially valuable.

Turning to p. 51, entry 930, you discover when and why the hymn was written—at the request of Gabe Huck for a resource to help Christian families enter more fully into the Three Days—read about its author, Delores Dufner, OSB, and learn the scripture passages that inspired the hymn—Colossians 1:26 and Philippians 2:6-11. You can also learn more about ROCKINGHAM OLD, the tune ACS pairs with Dufner’s text.

You’ll note, however, that the entry at #930 also refers back to ELW 307 because Delores Dufner wrote several hymns included in ELW (nine, to be exact). These cross references make this new companion work together with the Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (available in both print and eBook formats). Paul Westermeyer, author of the Hymnal Companion to ELW, also provided the commentary for this new ACS companion.

The Assembly Song Companion offers more than background and commentary, however; it provides guidance to musicians sourced and edited by practicing church musicians. Perhaps a musician wants to teach ACS 934 “Christ is living/Cristo vive” during the Easter season but isn’t quite sure how best to accompany it. The commentary for each hymn/song in All Creation Sings is followed by a brief Musicians Guide chart with suggestions for pulse, tempo, style, and accompaniment, and other additional information as needed. Below is this guide for ACS 934.

An excerpt from the Assembly Song Companion showing a chart labeled Musicians Guide, with notes on the pulse, tempo, style, chpt ref, accompaniment, and additional information.

This content will be enhanced when used alongside the Musicians Guide to ELW, a resource that provides song leading guidance in specific genres and styles to which both the Musicians Guide to ELW and the Assembly Song Companion to ACS refer. (Note the Chpt Ref above to Chapters 3 and 10 of the Musicians Guide to ELW.)

With its brief entries (approximately one page per hymn/song), this resource is not intended to be exhaustive. Bringing elements of both the Hymnal Companion and the Musicians Guide to ELW, it’s a kind of “volume 2” to both. A person doing scholarly hymnody research will need more, but for pastors and musicians serving congregations, this is an excellent starting point to support and enhance your use of All Creation Sings. Turn to this companion to:

  • Learn more about the background of a hymn/song you are introducing in the congregation
  • Prepare for musical leadership of a hymn/song that is new to you
  • Share with your musical ensembles as they learn a new hymn/song in ACS
  • Reference for a newsletter article or other teaching about a hymn/song

We hope you enjoy exploring the content of All Creation Sings in new ways with this companion resource.

Topics: Hymnody, All Creation Sings

Augsburg Fortress

Written by Augsburg Fortress

Augsburg Fortress develops engaging resources for Lutheran congregations In our ministry as the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we create substantive and innovative materials to support the ministries of faith communities in communicating the good news of God's liberating grace. To meet the evolving needs of Lutheran communities, we continually invest in the development of new ministry resources, seeking ongoing input from theologians, educators, church leaders, and church members.

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