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Bringing back the old hymns?

(188 Posts)
ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 21:37:36

I'm part of a music team in a large state primary. We do Singup which is good but does feature a fair number of songs about apostrophes and sentiments such as "it's you, it's me, it's us that makes community".

We are not church school and I'm an atheist.

I feel that, in this day and age, we ought to be able to re-introduce some of the old hymns on the grounds that they are (i) great music and (ii) have lyrics that hint at life not always being rosy

I'm thinking of suggesting it to my colleagues. Ironically they are Christians and so it would need to come from me so as not to seem like a church-school-by-the-back-door thing.

Hymns I remember and miss include:
He who would valliant be
When a Knight won his spurs
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Give me joy in my heart keep me singing (etc)

Hymns I remember and would not foist on the innocent include:
There is a Green Hill Far Away
and anything else that's massively into the whole crucifixion details....

anyway, I wondered what people thought, and if you could nominate some hymns you wish you still heard. It's odd that we keep the Christmas Carols but not the rest of the year hymns.


longest Thu 02-Oct-14 21:41:25

I went to a very catholic primary school and bloody love all the old hymns.

Colours of day
Bind us together
Haul haul away
Bread of life
May is the month of Mary
lord of the dance

Etc etc

Unfortunately I think it'll be a cold day in hell when any of these come back into schools on a regular basis. I'm a primary teacher and have worked In lot of schools as supply. Schools with regular singing (never mind hymns) are few and far between.

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 21:43:31

Interesting point re Catholicism

We'll sing Diwali songs - but would we ever sing a traditional Catholic song? No way!

Mind you, I was sent to Catholic secondary at the age of 11 and for me only Ave Maria compares to the Protestant hymns. But is that just upbringing?

Katisha Thu 02-Oct-14 21:47:07

I think it's a great idea OP. at the very least these are part of our heritage. I sing in a church choir and when we do weddings it's patently obvious nobody knows any hymns even though they feel they need to have some.

cruikshank Thu 02-Oct-14 21:48:43

How many Diwali songs have you ever sung, ontosecondary? The answer for me is 0. Sung plenty of Xtian ones though. And I am unconcerned about the lack of reach of the Xtian church in the UK when the monarch is also head of the Church of England, there are unelected bishops in the House of Lords and every school is required by law to have an act of worship 'of a broadly Xtian nature' every day. Xtians do quite nicely the UK in terms of power and influence.

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 21:49:39

thanks Katisha.

It's sad about the weddings sad

I feel we are far away enough now from the old hymns that they don't oppress us non-believers like they might have done once.

LynetteScavo Thu 02-Oct-14 21:49:45

Oh, I'm so with you on this, and I know a lot of people my age 42 are too!

I do like There is a Green Hill Far Away, though, but can't stand All Things Bright and Beautiful. I've known a few people have this at their wedding, just because they were sure all the guests would know it and be able to sing along.

I didn't go to a church school, but we did sing all these hymns, and Come By Ya, (which my DD does sing at school)

She also sings "Autumn Days When the grass is jeweled...", which I sang at school, but not We Plough the Fields and Scatter" which although somewhat a dirge, should be compulsory IMO.

You can keep "I can sing a rainbow" though. The line "Listen with your eyes" is just confusing for a small child. And DH, under pressure, still thinks the rainbow is "red and yellow, and pink and green, purple and orange and blue" hmm

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 21:51:16

I am unconcerned about the lack of reach of the Christian church too.

But I have good taste in music.

And so did those Victorian hymn writers.

Songs about punctuation just aren't good enough music (though plenty of singup stuff is great).

We wouldn't not study the masses of Mozart and Bach in A-level music would we?

LynetteScavo Thu 02-Oct-14 21:53:50

I've been going to the same (Catholic) church for 7 years, and in all that time have only only known one hymn! I think it's because I was brought up on CofE hymns. <<shrugs>>

I would also like to hear Jerusalem being sung in schools. If it's good enough for Billy Bragg wink

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 21:54:14

Lynette - there's something important about singing the songs your mother sang I think....

My kids recently learnt "I do like to be beside the seaside" and my parents just loved being able to sing along.

squirrelkiller Thu 02-Oct-14 21:58:42

Brings back memories!

I agree, OP!

joanofarchitrave Thu 02-Oct-14 22:00:22

Morning has broken
Daisies are our silver
Immortal, invisible
Make me a channel of your peace
Guide me, O thou great redeemer
Swing low sweet chariot
Lord of the dance

2kidsintow Thu 02-Oct-14 22:03:06

Do you have a pianist? If so, you need the Come and Praise and the Junior Praise books.

If not, this is quite good (if a bit elevator music in some of the tracks)

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 22:03:14

love that squirrelkiller.

I feel that "We Plough the Fields" should be sung once a year. Once when you are five, once when you are six.... that way it means something.

Ooh Morning has Broken!!!

thinking about the lyrics, is it me, or does the more obnoxious stuff tend to be in the second or third verse? (like those second verses of Christmas carols that bang on about children behaving well).

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 22:04:41

It was finding Come and Praise in the back of the cupboard that made me think about this....

Blast. None of us are pianists. Though we might be able to find some.

2kidsintow Thu 02-Oct-14 22:04:50

I love the favourites.
Autumn Days
Give me joy in my heart
He's got the whole world
When a knight won his spurs and so many more.

You could also look on worshipworkshop I think it is called as they have downloadable mp3s inc the backing tracks or teaching tracks and the lyrics for many of the 'traditional' hymns. Inc lovely ones like 'If I were a butterfly'

OverAndAbove Thu 02-Oct-14 22:06:15

I am not remotely religious but I love the old hymns, as you say, for the music and the poetry. I would like to hear:

We plough the fields and scatter
Now thank we all our god
I vow to thee my country
The church's one foundation
Guide me O thou great redeemer
Gracious spirit, Holy Ghost (not old but reminds me of school)
Onward Christian soldiers (but I can't see that going down well...)

And my all time favourite - How great thou art!

2kidsintow Thu 02-Oct-14 22:06:29

You have to register, but it's free and then you can download whatever you want to your computer.

CoreyTrevorLahey Thu 02-Oct-14 22:08:00

I'm pretty sure a lot of the old Catholic classics are still sung in schools where I live (Glasgow). I have noticed quite a difference in the Protestant services I've attended - fewer (melo)dramatic weeping laments, more happy clappy 'child friendly.'

But I love the Catholic hymns of my childhood - we sang Ave Maria in Latin at my wedding and I honestly didn't know 'O Come All Ye Faithful' was a real thing until I was about 15. I saw folk singing it on Blue Peter at Christmas and was like 'why have they made up these stupid English words to Adeste Fideles'?!

LynetteScavo Thu 02-Oct-14 22:09:01

Indeed, ontosecondary, DD and I had a good old sing along in the car the other evening singing "He's got the whole world in His hands" Does that count as a hymn?

longest Thu 02-Oct-14 22:09:56

Oh lovely, I've just been inspired to listen to a few of my old catholic childhood hymns on YouTube.

Here I Am Lord and How Great Thou Art.

Bloody lovely.

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 22:10:07

I bloody loved "If I were a butterfly".

I wonder if we can sneak them in?
As a Victorian day?
As singing Welsh songs for St David's Day?
As "what our grandparents sang" and invite them in?

Not to sneak the religion in but to sneak the great tunes in.

2kidsintow Thu 02-Oct-14 22:10:14

It does. We sing it (complete with actions) regularly.

ontosecondary Thu 02-Oct-14 22:11:50

'why have they made up these stupid English words to Adeste Fideles'?!

Brilliant, sneak some more in as Latin. Are there any non-carol ones that are commonly done in Latin?

2kidsintow Thu 02-Oct-14 22:12:04

Why would you need to sneak them in? It's a requirement to have an act of collective worship daily and hymns take a part in that.

Lots of the 'traditional ones' don't mention the word 'God' so could be sung in a general 'thankyou' way without relating it to any particular religion.

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