I love hymns. I grew up singing them, playing them on the piano and hearing them sung in formal and not so formal settings. I come from a tradition of singing these songs in four-part harmony. It is a way to worship, remember, find solace and be part of a community. I began arranging old familiar tunes for piano a number of years ago because I enjoy combining what I hear in my head with what I’ve heard all my life. It allows me to find my place in a long tradition that I value deeply.
I hope others will find something in these hymns. Whatever you believe, there is something about the way words and music combine that allows us to see beauty, find comfort and connect with history. Some stir up feelings of sadness, disappointment, disillusionment and sorrow. Some remind us of our childhoods and people who are no longer with us. Some bring joy, encouragement and calm. Some make us angry for what they imply or represent. As I’ve spoken to friends and family, it is clear what may seem like simple songs of faith carry with them much – good and bad. I want to spend this year exploring all of that and retrieving what, for me, is inspirational and comforting.
If you would like to order a copy of the book containing all 54 arrangements from my year of song, please contact me using the form below. The cost is $35 plus shipping.
Digital downloads of some of the hymn arrangements are now available on the Sheet Music Plus website. This is an ongoing project and more will be posted as they are prepared. Enjoy!
Carla Klassen is a piano teacher, accompanist, professional chorister and church musician. If you wish to contact her, please do so via the contact link.