In November 2023, chapter member Daniel Stipe led a meeting and workshop on effective hymn-playing, including harmonizations and improvisation. It was
wonderful, and soon I was thinking, “I’m sure I could do that!” If you have had similar thoughts that day or over the years, we have a project for you!

The Executive Committee is sponsoring a summer project we’re calling ‘Reharmonizations 2024,’ and we’re inviting all members to participate. The
primary goals of this project are for members

  • to try something new,
  • to stretch our hymn-playing chops,
  • to put together a booklet of these reharmonizations for the members,
  • to have fun.

Between May and September, interested members are invited to try their hand at writing new harmonizations for public domain hymn tunes. We have provided
a list of about 85 public domain tunes, and have guidance on how to determine whether or not a tune is in the public domain, if you want to use
another hymn tune in the member packet (download here) . (This allows us to publish the reharmonizations without facing copyright issues.) The reharmonizations are to be written

  • for congregational singing,
  • without regard to the text (which often is not in the public domain), and
  • with the tune prominently heard.

You are not restricted to the tunes on the list – BUT – any other tune(s) you choose MUST be in the public domain. The list has tunes that might be most
familiar with particular liturgical seasons, as well as those that are used throughout the church year. Plus, there is a tune that is on the list for just fun!

The online website Hymnary.org was used in determining each tune’s copyright status. If you wish to try a tune that is not on the attached list, search for the tune
on this website. You’ll find all kinds of information on the composer, the texts used for the tune in many hymnals, the meter, the typical key, the hymnals in
which the tunes appear, and the copyright status.

There may be other websites with public domain information on hymn tunes.

You can use notation software if you have it, or can write out the reharmonizations on score paper and we will transcribe it into software for you.

When you complete your harmonizations, you will need to sign the Participation Letter in the member packet (download here) when you submit them for the booklet.

All submissions and the completed Participation Letter can be scanned and emailed to Kenna Payne at kennajohnp@aol.com or mailed to her at 3605
Corrotoman Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060. If you have any questions, please call or text her at 1-804-512-5804.

On or before September 15, 2024, we’ll collect all submissions, format them into consistent presentation, and put them together in a booklet. We hope to get 1 – 3
new pieces from each member who participates.

We anticipate copyrighting the resulting submissions in the name of the Chapter so we can distribute them among our own members. Who knows? Maybe we’ll
have created a best-seller!!

This is not a competition, nor is it mandatory – it’s just a way for each of us to try something new and share it with our chapter colleagues.

So, give it a go – you don’t have to submit anything at all, or you might find that this is a new skill that you can develop in coming months and years.