For many Moravians, the glorious strains of “Sing Hallelujah Praise the Lord” or “Christian Hearts in Love United” from a booming pipe organ make Sunday worship a memorable experience. But what if your organist is down with the flu, or the organ is being refurbished, or your church doesn’t have an organist or accompanist…what can you do?
Thanks to a generous grant from the United Brethren Church (UBC) Elders in Staten Island, New York, Moravian congregations in the U.S. and Canada now have access to high-quality organ recordings of every public domain hymn in the Moravian Book of Worship!
These organ recordings were performed by Ryan Morrow, organist for Schoeneck Moravian Church in Nazareth, Pennsylvania over a series of four, day-long recording sessions. During those sessions, Ryan played more then 220 hymns, which were recorded and edited by Mike Riess of the Interprovincial Board of Communication. Each of the organ recordings include all verses called for in the printed version of the Moravian Book of Worship.
These professional performances make it possible for churches to include public domain hymns in their services if they are without an organist. The recordings can also be used for promotional videos and choir practice tracks. The only thing required is a method for playing MP3 files through a congregational sound system, which could be as simple as connecting a computer or audio player to the sound board of your church.
This project focused on the public domain hymns available in the 1995 Moravian Book of Worship. Due to copyright restrictions, we are unable to include hymn music with outside copyrights. IBOC maintains copyright on these recordings themselves, but offers blanket permission for Moravian congregations and agencies to use them for in-person and streaming services.
The recordings are available to Moravian entities in downloadable MP3 format. As part of their grant, the UBC Elders requested that the recordings be made available at no cost, so the downloadable versions can be used for free. IBOC will also make available a USB flash drive with all 220-plus hymns for $10 each.
To access these recordings, contact the IBOC via e-mail at [email protected] with your congregation name, music and/or technical contact and a short description of how you intend to use the music. You will be provided with download links and a password for obtaining the files. You can also request the USB version via this address.
Many thanks to the UBC Elders and to the Rev. Lance Fox, pastor of Castleton Hill Moravian Church, for spearheading this effort.