PALM SUNDAY RESOURCES--Part 3
Date: March 15, 2005
I. SOME SONGS AND HYMNS FOR PALM SUNDAY
Many churches have the joyful custom of waving palm branches
during the singing of these hymns, and whenever the words
"Hosanna!", "Hosanna in the highest!" "Hosanna to the Son of
David!" or similar phrases are sung. Several of these hymns are
good for processionals, whether indoors or outdoors.
Palm branches can be carried and waved during the processional,
which can include banners, the cross, streamers and other
liturgical symbols. It is customary to have children and youth
lead the procession, re-enacting the account of the Triumphal
Entry in Matthew's gospel. Many churches now process outside,
using this time as an outreach opportunity for their
1. All Glory, Laud and Honorthe Latin text to St. Theodulph's
hymn can be found at this website:
This hymn can be sung in two waysthe best way is to use the
refrain "All glory, laud and honor..." between every verse,
which permits you to sing the other five versesthis gives
everyone time to process outdoors, indoors, etc.
2. Hosanna, Loud Hosannasome churches wave branches between
verses two and three, while the organ plays music.
3. Lift Up Your Headsthis text is based upon Psalm 24:7-10,
and is typically sung to the tune "Truro."
4. The Palms (Les Rameaux)by Jean-Baptiste Faure. This classic
old hymn is found in the National Baptist hymnalan all-time
favorite sung in many African-American churches. It is also used
as a closing hymn, giving worshippers another chance to wave
their branches at the conclusion of the worship service.
5.Rejoice Ye Pure in Heartanother sturdy processional hymn.
Make sure to carry "festal banners" to "wave on high!"
6. Ride On! Ride on in majestylovely hymn found in many
Lutheran hymnals, with a moving text and triumphant ending.
7. Sing Hosanna, by Michael Jothen.
This is a great anthem that works well as a processional piece
or "anthem of the day." It was originally written to get five
choirs into and down the center aisle of a huge Lutheran church.
"Sing Hosanna" can be learned in about 20 minutes, and you can
use all choirs and/or worship teams to sing all five parts,
which are simple unison melodies. "Sing Hosanna" combines a
simple modal chant with a steady bass line that drives the music
forward. Light percussiontamborines, claves, maracas, guiros,
and clavescan add a Middle Eastern flavor, and Orff
instruments, handbells and choirchimes can also be employed for
an ethereal effect. Heavier Afro-Latin percussionbongos,
congas, djembesalso work well with "Sing Hosanna."
Flutes and oboes can double the first chant melody, and I prefer
to have a children's choir sing the chant first, and add the
other choirs on the second through the fifth vocal lines.
NOTE: In African-american churches (especially Black Pentecostal
churches), the following will occur as "Sing Hosanna" is sung:
A.The palm branches will be waved in sycopation with the music,
(waving on "2" and "4", not on "1" and "3") and all
congregational clapping will also be done on "2".
B. The choirs ALWAYS choreograph a syncopated "step" for the
processional. The step/dance will continue when the choirs reach
the chancel/front of the church.
C. The congregation will NOT remain seated, and will sing
all the voice parts with the choir, playing their own percussion
instruments and dancing in the pews/aisles and any open space.
Old church mothers and deacons will start their own procession
around the church, waving their palm branches in syncopated time
to the music.
D. The bass line will have a distinct funk sound, and the
bassist will improvise a solo some time before the fourth vocal
line is added.
E. All clergy will be waving palm branches, and the pastor will
demand a repeat performance of the anthem at offertory time.
By the time the offertory is completed, the congregation will
be singing all the vocal parts in harmony, and together, choirs,
congregation and clergy will "rock the house" in joyous praise.
II. OTHER SONGS/ANTHEMS FOR PALM SUNDAY
1. "Hosanna, Hallelujah"by Avery and Marsh. A lovely text and
lilting melody combine to give children a song that is not
"babyish", yet appeals to young hearts. Harp accompaniment works
well with this anthem.
2. "Lo! He Comes"John Horman. One of many good Palm Sunday
anthems for children and youth available from the Choristers
http://www.choristersguild.org or at Lorenz Publishers:
3. "The Singing Bishop"a "quickie" cantata based on the life
of St. Theodulph, also published by Choristers Guild. The
composer has written a simple melody in 6/8 time to the Latin
text "Hosanna Filio David! Benedictus qui venit in nomine
domini!" This chant can be used by itself during the
Palm/Passion Sunday worship service.
4. "The Holy City"by Frederick Weatherly and Stephen Adams.
This old piece was very popular in Protestant churches years
ago, but thanks to Charlotte Church's second album
(appropriately named "Charlotte Church"), we can hear this great
old song again. You can find various arrangements in
music stores. the text begins in "old Jerusalem" and takes you
to the "New Jerusalem." This is another perennial favorite sung
in African-american churches.
5. "Ride On, King Jesus"arrange this great black spiritual
yourself or use a simple arrangement found in any number of
hymnals. This song can also be found in SONGS OF ZION, published
by Abingdon and available through: http://www.cokesbury.com
III. WEBSITES FOR PALM SUNDAY HYMNS
"Jubilate Deo omnis terra!" (Psalm 100:1)
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