Vintage hymns

Vintage Hymns

If you live within travelling distance of Sudbury, Suffolk, there is a Hymn Festival taking place next Saturday, 5th October 2019 at St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury CO10 1BA between 2.00 and 5.00 pm.

Whilst not a Hymn Society event, it is organized by two of our members, Philip J. Price and Nicholas Markwell.

“Vintage Hymns” is an event designed to promote hymn singing. Phil has chosen 30 texts (with 32 tunes) which, along with the tunes, have both been edited by Nicholas and which are included in a book of the same name.

As a publication ‘Vintage Hymns’ is unique in restoring the authors’ original texts, and the composers’ original musical settings (the latter with a few editorial amendments). Many of the texts and musical settings appear in ‘Vintage Hymns’ for the first time since their original publication.

Should this event prove successful, it is hoped that it will be the first in a series of events promoting hymn singing.

Admission is Free but contributions will be in aid of No 72 Family Community Centre and St Gregory’s Church.

Interestingly, October 5th 2019 is also the 83rd Birthday of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Introduction from the programme:

Vintage Hymns

30 of the most popular classic hymns, with their original words and music. Selected by Philip J Price. Music and text edited by Nicholas Markwell.

Welcome to Vintage Hymns, a collection of classic hymns. To prepare this, we went back to find the texts of the hymns as they were written, often including verses that have disappeared from view, but contribute so much to the hymn. If you find the layouts and some of the words a little eccentric, this is because we have reproduced them exactly as they first appeared in a hymn book. They are there because that is what the author wrote.

For the tunes, our musical editor Nicholas Markwell has chosen either the original version, or the best quality settings we can find. In some cases he has written new descants or four part settings.

A good harmony setting of a hymn does not mean that it will be hard to sing. Hymn singing in harmony is not just for the choir—it is emphatically for everybody. The best hymn tunes and settings are specifically designed to be basically easy to sing, yet elegant and expressive.

I think we do ourselves a great disservice when we settle for unison singing or anything less than the best versions we can find of these powerful, passionate hymns and the uplifting music by which they fly. We hope you enjoy singing these great hymns and will be emboldened to try the harmonies.

Hymns like these used to be part of everyday life, whether at school, in church or on public occasions. Now they have, sadly, all but disappeared. This book has been prepared so that we can sing them again, and experience the pleasure and thrill of group singing, and can celebrate a once ubiquitous part of our culture.

This copy is provided on loan for a Vintage Hymns singing event. Please leave behind on departure. Copies may be purchased from for £4.00 (+£1 P&P per order, free P&P for 5 or more).

The poster as a PDF file is available to view here.