Candler School of Theology to offer evening of Methodist hymns

Candler School of Theology will present "The Music of Early Methodism," a program of words and music used by 18th century Methodists, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, in Cannon Chapel. The Candler Choraliers will perform several hymns and anthems with simple arrangements by Steven Darsey, director of choral music at Candler. Timothy Albrecht, University organist, will provide accompaniment and voluntaries. Arthur Wainwright, professor of New Testament emeritus, who planned the program, will provide commentary on Methodist hymnody.

"John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist movement, had great interest in the theological and poetical content of their hymns. They also were very concerned with the musical style of these hymns. While they wanted them to be exuberant and spirit-filled, they made sure they possessed a certain decorum and worshipful character," said Darsey.

"Many of us know Methodist hymns as we hear and sing them today, but over time, the tunes have changed as they have been included in various hymnals," said Darsey. "The program and background by Dr. Wainwright will give us a chance to see how early Methodists sang these great hymns."

The congregation also will join in singing old tunes such as "The God of Abraham Praise" and "Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending," according to Darsey. In fact, one of John Wesley's favorite anthems, "Vital Spark," as sung by the Candler Choraliers, will be included in the program. The concert is free. For more information, call 727-5607.

-- Joyce Bell