Humpback whale song on YouTube: https://youtu.be/UOkcvGPHsgk
(Psalm 66:4, NRSV).
“Birds flying and fish swimming, whales singing in the ocean deeps”
(Psalm 8:8, The Message Bible).
Edwards continues by listing places where nature sings: “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). In inanimate life we see, feel, and hear it through wind whistling through the trees, the musical rhythm of the sea, and the soothing sound of rain falling on the roof. We also find evidence of music in animals: the bees singing to their hive and the songs of birds singing in the trees. As science has recently discovered, even the whales sing to each other! “The effect of music upon the human family has been the most wonderful of any gift with which human nature is endowed. . . . Music is a God-given faculty that by sounding its melody and harmony opens the doors to human hearts and souls and brings man back to his first relationship with God.”
I love to sing! As children we sang in the car, we sang on camping trips around the campfire, we sang in a children’s choir at church. As I write this, I can hear the singing on TV as my husband watches a European soccer game—loud, fervent, joyful, bonded. It seems too many people in America today have lost or never learned the joy of singing not for performing but for the sheer pleasure of singing together.
I have found a new place to sing, right here in Nampa. It is the Nampa Sacred Harp Singers. Sacred Harp singing is a tradition of sacred choral singing that started in New England and was later carried on in the Protestant American South. The Sacred Harp is your voice, always available even when there are no musical instruments. It uses a tunebook printed in shaped notes. Shape Note singing was kept alive in the rural South and is now having a rebirth around the world. It is a uniquely American form of music—perhaps even the original American form of music. The music does not follow the rules of conventional harmony. It uses a pentatonic scale, which may sound strange to modern ears, but it has its own beauty, and is designed so that each part is interesting to sing. The poetry set by these songs can be pretty jarring to modern ears too, due to its frequent focus on death. Many of the songs are written by familiar names such as Isaac Watts, John Newton, and Charles Wesley. And it’s fun! You don’t have to have a wonderful voice or know how to sing, you just join in singing! If you would be interested in joining us, our group holds a singing on the first Friday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm. If you are interested, please contact Kaysha at KayshaJoy@gmail.com.
This is an example of a Sacred Heart hymn:
And let this feeble body fail,
And let it droop and die;
My soul shall quit the mournful vale,
And soar to worlds on high;
Shall join the disembodied saints,
And find its long sought rest,
That only bliss for which it pants,
In my Redeemer’s breast.
And I’ll sing hallelujah,
And you’ll sing hallelujah,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah,
When we arrive at home.
O what are all my sufferings here,
If, Lord, Thou count me meet
With that enraptured host to appear,
And worship at Thy feet!
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again
In that eternal day.