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We Sing the Shoreline
Hymns by Richard Leach

Hymn text collection

Author Richard Leach
Released July 2005
Catalog no. 125-425 (Soft-cover, spiral binding, 48 pp.)
Price $12.50 (U.S.)

Read the introduction by Richard Leach.

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We Sing the Shoreline is a collection of 25 hymns for Advent, Christmas and Jesus’ ministry. "O Christ, We Sing the Shoreline," with a musical setting by David Ashley White, is the title selection. It describes the shoreline where Jesus calls his first disciples as a meeting place not only of land and water, but of earth and heaven, and past and future--a most suitable image for these songs about Jesus' entry into our world and our encounters with him. "A Harp Too Great," a hymn of praise picturing each human life as a string played by the Holy Spirit, opens the collection. A reflective and hopeful hymn called "Jesus, Can You Still Surprise Me?" closes it. The texts also include several unusual and delightful hymns based on legends which grew up around Jesus' birth. "The Cherry Tree Carol" is such a song, and Leach has written four new ones, culminating in "The Eagle, the Hen and the Dove," in which those three birds talk together about the birth of the Savior. All of the tunes in the book are new, except one; all are immediately singable but not trite. One tune from The Southern Harmony is included, in an arrangement by Hal Hopson. Twelve contemporary composers, including Carson Cooman, Peter Cutts, Dan Damon, Al Fedak and Amanda Husberg as well as David Ashley White contributed to this collection.

Introduction by Richard Leach
"O Christ, We Sing the Shoreline" is the hymn which gives this collection its title. The shoreline of the hymn is where Jesus calls his first disciples: a meeting place not only of land and water, but earth and heaven, and past and future. It's a good title for a collection of hymns on Advent, Christmas and Jesus' ministry.

This collection is a companion to Honey from the Rock, which includes hymns for Lent, Easter and the life of the church. Here as in the introduction to that volume, I offer warm thanks to all the composers whose music is in this book, and to all the others who have set my hymn texts. In particular: Carson Cooman, with his music-writing energy (sometimes returning a setting via e-mail within an hour of receiving a text); Amanda Husberg, who blends gospel music and Lutheranism, Minnesota and Brooklyn, and whose careful reading has improved many of my texts; and especially David Ashley White, my good friend, and composer of the setting for the title hymn. He is a musician’s musician--literally, because he is a Professor of Composition and Director of the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston--and in every complimentary sense as well.

Thanks to Linda and Brad Harmes, who commissioned "O Christ, We Sing the Shoreline" for St. Andrew by the Sea, a community church in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in honor of Linda's parents Curt and Myra Branyon. The text included here is adapted from the commissioned one, which ended with these lines: "Bless all that we have built here, and all that is to be; bless us, your gathered people, St. Andrew by the Sea."

Richard Leach
Lackawaxen, Pa., March 2, 2004



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