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With Joyful Psalm and Song DVD

Inheritance Publications

PO Box 366
Pella, IA 50219

From the perspective of a musician, psalm-singer, and mother, With Joyful Psalm and Song is a lovely way to introduce psalm-singing to children and adults alike. So often, psalm-singing is considered dry and dull, but the Children of Asaph make these Genevan psalms not only approachable but enticing. Being a member of a psalm-singing church, I am quite familiar with Genevan psalms myself, but I had not heard them paired with organ accompaniment before. It is a beautiful pairing. The children sing in lovely harmony, while the organ enhances and contrasts with their voices. The organist is very talented, and observing his performance gives a great introduction to the complexity of the organ as an instrument as well as the skills needed to play it. Two adult vocal soloists add depth of musical quality to the performance, while two of the children are highlighted with solos as well. For additional beauty and musicality, string instruments and a panflute are included in several of the tracks, harmonizing with the voices or even embellishing the tune. The combination of instruments and vocalists is stunning.

The filming is not particularly professional, and the overall quality of the production does feel somewhat homemade. While this can be somewhat of a downside, it could also be viewed as lending a personal touch, giving the feeling of sitting in on a concert at a church, very intimate and real-life. While the majority of the video is spent allowing us a personal view of the instrumentalists, vocalists, and conductor, there are also stunning landscapes, mountain views, running rivers, and crashing ocean waves inserted at intervals throughout the production. They frequently coincide with the psalm texts, which is a great way to remind the viewer what the children are singing about--God's creation as well as His people.

I appreciate the technical layout of With Joyful Psalm and Song. Each track begins with a heading to inform us which psalm we are about to hear, who arranged the music, and the names of soloists. That information is missing from the DVD insert, so it is very nice to have it in video format. I am a little disappointed that some verses are excluded from the psalms that the choir sings, because the texts are exceptional and the music is lovely. The back cover of the DVD does list the chapter and verses of the included psalms, but the insert with lyrics simply states the chapter, which can be a little misleading. While I am thankful the lyrics are included in the DVD insert, it would be even more helpful to have the music included along with the lyrics. That would really aid families in learning the psalms themselves and following along with better clarity, especially if they are unfamiliar with Genevan psalms.

Included with the DVD is a companion CD, which is a great way to carry the Genevan psalms into the car as well. Although taking away the visual aspect of The Children of Asaph's performance does diminish some of the intrigue, it can aid memorization and adaptability to have both medias used in concert with one another.

Overall, the DVD is a joy to watch and serves as an inspiration to continue surrounding my son with psalm-singing, as well as opportunities to learn musical instruments and join a children's choir. The Children of Asaph do well at attaining their goals of singing to the glory of God as well as teaching others to do the same.

Product review by Melissa Cummings, The Old Schoolhouse Magazin, LLC, November 2010

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