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Hallelujah for the ‘new normal’

Like many SA music leaders around the globe, Dr. Harold Burgmayer, the Music and Creative Ministries Secretary for the USA Central Territory, has struggled with the loss of live music-making under the constraints of isolation and social-distancing. The worldwide pandemic has forced congregations to pre-record and livestream services. A groundswell of interviews and collage videos have brought people together virtually and one Salvation Army worship music resource that has reached across the globe has been the ‘Hallelujah Choruses’. Here, Harold Burgmayer explains their value as we face a ‘new normal’ future.

‘Hallelujah Choruses’ is a collection of songs and choruses intended to enhance congregational praise and worship through music. Its purpose is to bring freshness to our expressions of worship by supplementing new arrangements of the great hymns of the church with accessible settings of contemporary songs. The resource is versatile because the products can be used in worship, no matter what the congregation size, or whether live music is offered. The accessible arrangements are attainable by musicians in an average corps ensemble and the collection’s brass accompaniments, ‘Praise Pak’, songbooks in English and Spanish, keyboard books, audio tracks and lyric videos are now being used around the world. The series has proved to be valuable during the recent months of isolation necessitating the live streaming of worship services, during which we have been fielding inquiries from churches in need of lyric videos with a vocal track as a guide for congregational singing. Fortuitously, the ‘Hallelujah Choruses’ lyric videos sync song text, line-by-line, with the vocal demonstration recording!

Looking ahead as we transition into what may be called ‘the new normal’ and back to live worship services, initially music forces may be limited to a single pianist or small praise team as social-distancing measures continue