Matthew Hoch - Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982
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Matthew Hoch


The book discusses the importance of hymn singing and service music in Episcopal worship, as well as the history, structure, and content of The Hymnal 1982. While most parishioners participate in music making at some level (such as singing hymns or common responses), fewer people might understand the specific genres that comprise the music of an Episcopal worship service or the liturgical meaning behind each selection. This book provides a more in-depth understanding of this rich and complex tradition, discussing the history and evolution of music within the Episcopal Church, including its Anglican roots. Additional topics—such as psalm singing, anthems, major works, organs, and other Anglican traditions (such as Lessons and Carols)—are also addressed.

Book Reviews

Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982
Morehouse, 2015

An exciting new resource for musicians and anyone interested in the music of the Episcopal Church... Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982 by Matthew Hoch offers treasures!

Church Music Forward

[Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982] is clear, concise, and worth viewing as a resource that can be used to educate those not in our profession… Three chapters deal directly with The Hymnal 1982. Here, Hoch does his best work, effectively showing the deliberate nature of the hymnal and its intentional parallelism with the BCP. His work is especially noteworthy given the fact that, more times than not, many seek to lament its notable shortcomings rather than champion its sizable successes. The author uncorks hymn semantics and unveils such mysteries as tune names and meter, doing so in clear, precise language… [Hoch] This book could easily form the basis of a substantive parochial education program on the role of church music in the Episcopal Church. It is written with the novice in mind and any technical terminology is quickly and deftly translated… [It] has value and ample rewards for those “not of the cloth.” Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982 could well be a useful tool in your educational arsenal. Recommended.

The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

This book provides a concise but comprehensive introduction to essential musical matters that will be of help not only to newcomers to The Episcopal Church but also to many long-time members who have never explored the resources of The Hymnal 1982 or considered how Anglican musical traditions developed. In addition it offers clergy and other liturgical planners a means of becoming familiar with this dimension of worship so that conversations with parish musicians can be both more informed and more productive.

[The Rev. Dr.] Carl P. Daw, Jr.
Former Executive Director, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada

Welcome to Church Music and The Hymnal 1982, is a most welcome addition to the “Welcome to” series and fills an important need for Christian Formation classes in parish churches. One of the best things about the BCP is also one of its most confusing: the marvelous array of musical options and the variety of places they can be sung in the liturgies of the church. Matthew Hoch has provided us with a masterful road map through these many opportunities to “make a joyful noise” to our Lord. Welcome to Church Music has something for every adventurer into the “land of enchantment” called church music. From the church music novice in the pew to the master musician at a great cathedral organ, Matthew Hoch has given us a treasure chest to be explored with renewed excitement, and with challenging vision for the future as “…in our music God is glorified.”

J.D. Godwin
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist

Full of history, information, and heart, Welcome to Church Music offers treasures: the most important is its invitation to communities to learn with and from each other. While individuals can certainly gain much from Hoch’s thoughtful distillation, even more exciting is the potential the book presents for discussion, debate, and sharing “when two are three are gathered”: church leadership, formation study groups, newcomer gatherings, choirs, and others. Imagine, too, the consequent musical fruits!

Martha Jones Burford
SCLM, Task Force Congregational Song
Co-Editor, Church Music Forward

Matthew Hoch has assembled here a “brief” guide to the history of Episcopal/Anglican music. It is of significant scope and breadth, tackling a complicated and fascinating subject. From Henry the 8th to hip-hop, he delves into the many elements of this tradition, including history, liturgy, hymnals, the iconic Book of Common Prayer, choirs, organs, choral repertoire, and finally an interesting look at some of the latest styles of music. The book is lucid, helpful, well written, and surprisingly comprehensive as it covers such a broad array of terms, styles and traditions. As helpful as all of it is, for me the most interesting reading is near the conclusion, when Hoch delves into more contemporary styles such as praise, “paperless,” emergent, and even hip-hop music. Perhaps the venerable traditions of the Episcopal church have never been faced with a challenge equal to today, and there will in all likelihood always be parishes which hold to the traditional ways of worship, versatility, eclectic and broad-ranging styles will more and more be explored in many parishes as they seek to grow membership and attract new and younger people. It is a challenging era, but anyone interesting in exploring it will be assisted generously by this interesting, engaging and succinct book. If indeed liturgy is “the work of the people,” as it is often defined, all who value this great tradition, as well as those who are just discovering it, will find in this book a wealth of helpful, practical and interesting information.

Brian Jones, Organist (retired)
Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston


Click here to purchase Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982.

© 2015 Matthew Hoch