Hymns and Songs of the Brethren

by Brent Holl

Released 2006
Shen Fine Music
Released 2006
Shen Fine Music
Hymns and songs from the Brethren/Mennonite Hymnal arranged for 12 string acoustic guitar, string band and vocals.
Several years ago, I was invited to help provide creative music resources to the
worship services with my local congregation of Brethren. Intrigued by the
opportunity to seek new forms of expression, I explored the Brethren/Mennonite hymnal (Hymnal: A Worship Book: Pew Edition
Brethren Press, Faith & Life Press, Mennonite Publishing House. 1992)
for innovative and inspirational songs and hymns.

During my exploration, I found multi-national folk songs, Gregorian chants,
traditional church hymns and contemporary tunes. Early creative attempts included
drumming; fiddle, whistle, and gospel-style piano arrangements; acapella, canons,
and sing-a-longs; and even egg shakers distributed among the congregation
members! I was drawn to the songs in the hymnal that worked well on my 12-guitar,
and I now use more than 100 in a special collection for the early service.

The hymns are arranged as folk songs and use a traditional string band for accompaniment. The main instrument is the 12-string guitar tuned in DADGAD. This modal tuning lends an archaic mood to the songs with the droning strings giving a sense of calmness and serenity. Other instruments included in the recording are: String Bass, Octave Mandolin, 5-string claw-hammer banjo, and a 6-string guitar.