Music Review – Hymns of the Church #2

Just over a year ago, the AIIA held a conference in Bangor, Maine. This apologetics conference, named “Why Jesus,” featured famous speakers such as Ravi Zacharias and Lee Strobel and quickly sold out of its 6,755 tickets. Saturday morning at 8:45, an acapella choir of 37 Anabaptists stepped out onto the stage of the Cross Insurance Center. Thousands of people in the arena gazed at them expectantly and were not disappointed as the Oasis Chorale burst into the joyful tones of “Shout for Joy” and then spent the next half hour performing other songs.

Why would a group of conservative Anabaptists be invited to lead the worship at such an evangelical event? Simply put – because they are good. Oasis Chorale is likely the most well-known conservative Anabaptist choir in the United States. Alongside of their performance at the “Why Jesus” conference, Oasis has recorded 8 albums, toured all over the United States, sung in Ireland, England, and Wales, and has even been reviewed by the WORLD magazine twice.

The 40 members that make up Oasis Chorale this year come from all over the United States as well as Canada. Most of them have sung in acapella choirs for years, and a handful have furthered their musical education in college. Their director, Wendell Nisly, holds a Masters of choral conducting and does an exquisite job of interpreting their songs. Oasis Chorale is an extremely talented group of musicians!

Oasis Chorale primarily sings choral arrangements; however, they are also very committed to promoting the singing of hymns, especially in churches. This leads us to their latest recording, Hymns of the Church #2. This is the second volume in Oasis’s ongoing partnership with John D. Martin to promote his new purple hymnal “Hymns of the Church” as well as hymn singing in general.

Hymns of the Church #2 features sixteen selections ranging from newer hymns such as, “A Dark and Silent World” to the timeless favorites “How Great Thou Art” and “Rock of Ages.” Each song includes Oasis’s trademark choral quality with flawless tuning, impeccable diction, and wonderful dynamic contrasts, but there is minimal arrangement of these hymns. Aside from the occasional men’s verse, ladies’ verse, or solo, these songs are recorded exactly as they are found in the hymnal, making this album perfect for learning the hymns yourself or for teaching them to a congregation.

The hymns on this CD are rich both musically and theologically. Many of these hymns have stood the test of time by lasting for decades. They are the songs of our faith. As the WORLD magazine states, “It is… music for the head as well as the heart.” Click here for more information or to purchase Hymns of the Church #2.

Troy Troy Stauffer’s home lies just north of Hershey, PA (the sweetest place on earth) He is 24 years old, the eldest child with four brothers and one sister. Here are a few of his favorite things: sports, ice cream, being with friends, videography, strategy games, water scenery, electronics, technology, math, a perfect trial balance, singing, playing piano, music in general, and most of all Jesus Christ.

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