Steven Rodriguez wins the 2015 Church of the Servant New Psalm Contest
From a field of 110 submissions, Steven Rodriguez’s “Remember the Deeds of Our God” (Psalm 78) rose to win the 2015 COS New Psalm Contest.
Though there were many fine submissions in a variety of genres, Rodriguez’s song distinguished itself in a number of ways. The refrain is short, memorable, and immensely singable. Interestingly, Rodriquez paired this folk style refrain with chanted verses. The chant is fresh, but obviously written by someone who understands chant. The sacramental focus of the refrain creates a meaningful lens through which we receive the words of Psalm 78. The song is a profound musical exegesis of the Psalm. Many of the submissions faithfully set the Psalm texts to music, but this went a step further, helping us hear scripture with new ears.
We are grateful to all who submitted songs to this year’s contest. From the quality of submissions, we can tell that a Psalm renaissance is underway and many local churches are blessed by your talents. Many thanks are due the judges, seven church members whose musical, theological, and poetic skills are only surpassed by the discernment they exercised as they reviewed submissions and the grace they displayed with each other while coming to a decision. Additionally, we are grateful to donors who continue to fund this contest in memory of Ben Fackler; their donations encourage the writing of Psalm songs and a flourishing of Psalm singing.
Steven Rodriguez’s “Remember the Deeds of Our God” (Psalm 78) will be premiered in worship at COS on Sunday, January 31, 2016, the same weekend as the Calvin Worship Symposium and right down the street. We’d be pleased to have you join us. Questions and donations can be directed to Greg Scheer (firstname.lastname@example.org). This contest is a labor of love, funded and run by those of us who love Psalm singing. You can stay up to date on COS New Psalm Contest news at https://www.churchoftheservantcrc.org/cos-new-psalm-contest-2/ or request to join our mailing list.