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Sources of Hymns and Songs

The primary hymn book in the parish is Common Praise (Anglican Church of Canada, 1998).  Hymns and songs may also be sung from the alternate hymnal, Hymns for the Family of God (Paragon, 1976), a locally-produced song book that is licensed under CCLI, or from other sources such as Lambeth Praise.  The Choir of the Chapel Royal also uses a number of sources for anthems and motets, including The New Church Anthem Book (Oxford UP, 1992).

Click here to hear the Choir of the Chapel Royal singing "Thou Visitest The Earth", a paraphrase of Psalm 65
composed by Maurice Greene (1695-1755), on Harvest Thanksgiving, Sunday 9 October 2011.

John Wesley's Rules of Singing

1. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.

2. Sing lustily, and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of it being heard, then when you sing the songs of the world.

3. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, as to be heard above, or distinct from, the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

4. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before, not stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

5. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing God more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

A History of Music in the Parish of Tyendinaga

Narda Iulg came to Christ Church to play thirty years ago.  She notes that there was a good choir in place and that the congregation was full.  "It was a lot of fun playing on the old organ which had a great sound but was very unpredictable due to weather, bats, mice, or all three.  I used to wear a long red robe with a white top, much like choir boys wear, just so I could stay warm enough.  I tried not to use mittens, but sometimes you had to or else the fingers wouldn't work."  There were enough people in the congregations of Christ Church and All Saints' to do special music at Christmas, which generally took the form of a cantata.  On the night of one performance, there was a terrible ice storm, but people still came out to hear the choir.  Everyone had a lot of fun.

At the same time, All Saints' had at least six choir members of the time (there are three now).  When Narda first came to All Saints', the choir had just purchased bright red gowns, which are not worn anymore, but which are still in the vestry closet.  Narda moved away and Debbie Vincent took over the organ bench in both churches for a number of years.

Over time, the choir at Christ Church went on to become the Mohawk Singers augmented by other Mohawk speakers from in and outside of the community.  They toured to sing in other places like Toronto and Ottawa and eventually made a record of the songs they had been presenting over the years.  In 1999, the Mohawk Singers sang at our Cathedral Church of St George in Kingston to commemorate Molly Brant Day.  Today there are fewer Mohawk Singers but they still make an appearance at many funerals and try to hold an annual concert to benefit the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory Food Bank.

When St Mark's Church, Deseronto, was deconsecrated a number of its parishioners migrated to Holy Trinity, Shannonville and seeded a small choir that existed until the deconsecration of Holy Trinity in 2007.  The music programme in the parish is reasonably diverse, consisting of hymns from the Anglican hymnal Common Praise and a more charismatic hymn book, Hymns for the Family of God, as well as a great number of devotional and praise songs from a variety of sources.

Today, both churches have a choir.  The music is generally from one of the three hymn books the parish uses with some songs from a customised song book produced under licence.  The Parish Choir has been built up into a cohesive unit which, from time to time, invites "ringers" from other choirs to round out the parts.  Although there is not much Mohawk sung in the two Mohawk churches, most weeks the congregation at Christ Church is treated to a carol or hymn from the Christian tradition with Mohawk lyrics.

As the future unfolds, the Anglican Parish of Tyendinaga will continue to develop its music programme, drawing from the best of the English choral tradition and the contemporary body of praise music.  St Augustine said that when you sing you pray twice.  In this parish we pray that the Creator will hear our prayers and be pleased.

Thanks to Narda Iulg for her notes and memories. 

We are a parish of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario in the Anglican Church of Canada
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