Mennonite Church and Special Choir Recordings to be SAVED
The Society will begin collecting and archiving recordings of Mennonite Church Choirs. Recordings in all forms will become part of the library. It will include LP, 8 Track, tape, and CD.
The music won’t just remain trapped in their original forms. All music collected will be copied from their original form into mp3 format. This will allow the younger generation to appreciate the rich contributions to history by the church.
Why Save Mennonite Choral History
I think the young writer of an article entitled, This Whole Mennonite Singing Thing featured in The Mennonite says it best: “I didn’t know that a simple act of singing together could hold such purpose and theology in the flesh. It is only unfortunate that it has taken me this long to understand the value of song, and . . . a singing community”
She concludes her article with this recommendation to the Mennonite church do the following: “As you sing with older and newer Mennonites in your midst, find ways to speak the theology you so beautifully live so as to find even more worshipers who are creating community with you in song.”
We are encouraged by this young writer not to let this tradition become extinct in the Mennonite church. We, the Mennonite Society of Musical Heritage, hope to capture what has existed and continue to offer and train young children in the practice of communal singing. To do, at least in part, is to create a library of those who have sung before us. They are the model the musical heritage.
Why Mennonite Church Choirs
American and Canadian Mennonite churches have had a rich history of achievements. One of them is the music that the individual churches have produced in the past century.
College and school choirs have long recorded and archived their own events. Some large community choirs, like the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Choir, that have run for years have kept a trove of their treasures. But, no one has stepped up to collect and archive the recordings done by the individual churches. That is where we step in.
Why Save Mennonite Choir Recordings Now?
We have lived in a time in history where advances in technology met old world skill and talent. As a result, those founded in old world traditions were proud of their talents and accomplishments. So much so, that they used technology to capture their productions and their stories.
Members of churches with old world Mennonite choral traditions had, therefore, grown up singing four part harmony during worship and singing jointly in choirs. They took boundless pride and found great joy in producing and performing in choirs for their churches and community audiences. Mennonites even joined college and other performance choirs to continue to share in the joy of making music together.
When along came the technology to record their musical accomplishments, they seized the opportunity to do so. Churches and special choir groups spent the energy , time and money to record their choral productions. Since there is little value in the general market for this small and obscure niche in the music industry, it is up to someone to archive these recordings. This talent and recordings will be lost to the world now if we do not take the time to save these individual church works.
Library of Mennonite Church Choirs seeking Donations
We will save the hymns and other musical selections recorded by the more obscure Mennonite choirs over this past century. Whatever we can find…. Whatever will be donated … We plan to make a library of any and all music recordings of Mennonite Church Choirs for all to enjoy for centuries in the future.
We therefore strongly encourage you to donate your Mennonite choral music – all of it – to the Mennonite Society of Musical Heritage. If the music belongs in another archival library, we will pass it on. Here is a place to give what you and your children no longer value. We value it and see the value in it for future generations.
Contact Marjorie Wall Hofer at Marjorie@mswh.me