Church of the Servant is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 New Psalm Contest:
“All Creation Sings God’s Greatness” (Psalm 66) co-written by Benjamin Brody and Jacque Jones takes first place.
“City of God” (Psalm 87) co-written by Keiko Ying and Dan Jaasma takes second place.
The Church of the Servant New Psalm Contest, in memory of Ben Fackler, has now completed its tenth year. The contest continues to garner Psalm songs from a diverse pool of song-writers, from students to professors, from lay musicians to paid worship leaders, from congregants within our local church to writers from across the oceans, from many denominations and traditions. We are blessed by the music all our contestants have shared with us.
From this diverse pool of entries, the judges unanimously selected “All Creation Sings God’s Greatness” (Psalm 66), co-written by Benjamin Brody and Jacque Jones to win first place.
Their song is both accessible to congregational singing and creative. The rhythmic pattern between 6/8 and 4/4 provides a consistent pattern that propels the song forward with a strong rhythmic energy. The chord progressions, particularly going into the first line of the refrain, are creative, but not jarring. In fact, they work well to build up to the climax in the refrain.
The text all fits well with the music. But the judges were especially excited about the way the refrain builds musically and you find yourself singing exactly what the words are saying. They also appreciated the way this setting avoided using male pronouns for God.
“All Creation Sings God’s Greatness” (Psalm 66): PDF
Because of the number of quality entries over the years, the judges were looking for ways to recognize and promote more than just one entry each year. A couple of times in the ten-year history of this contest, the judges decided to split the award money between two entries. But this year, for the first time, we planned to award a second-place winner, with its own prize money.
The judges were pleased to select “City of God” (Psalm 87), co-written by Keiko Ying and Dan Jaasma, as this year’s second place winner.
There were many things both musically and lyrically that the judges appreciated about this song. Musically they liked the movement from the key of G in the verses to the key of D in the refrain and the way it led you back to the verses very naturally. In the verses, they appreciated the way the E chords gave a freshness to the harmony. Lyrically the judges appreciated the way the text moved beyond a simple recitation of the Psalm to bring out Christological connections in verse 2, and evangelistic connections in verse 3.
We will be premiering both winners on Sunday, February 2, 2020 during our morning worship service. We would be pleased to have you join us, whether you are local or perhaps going to be in town for the annual Worship Symposium at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI.
To celebrate ten years of this New Psalm Contest, Church of the Servant will also be hosting a Psalmfest, featuring the winning Psalms from all ten years. We will sing together and we will hear about the contest’s origins and what it has meant to various composers.
Sunday, February 2, 2020
Worship Service at 10:00am
Psalmfest at 2:00pm
The goal of this contest is to encourage Psalm singing and writing. So in addition to awarding a second-place winner, the judges would like to share several other of their top choices. (Some links forthcoming.)
- “Give Praise to Jehovah!” (Psalm 29) by Esther Church: PDF, MP3
- “Songs of Deliverance” (Psalm 32) by Philip McMillan: PDF, MP3
- “Lord, Have Mercy” (Psalm 51) by Jonathan Gabhart: PDF, MP3
- “Song of Thanks” (Psalm 65) by Seth Koerner: PDF, MP3
- “Forevermore” (Psalm 111) by Seth Koerner: PDF, MP3
Thank you to all those who submitted a composition for this year’s contest. We were blessed to sing, discuss, and reflect on the submissions and are pleased to see so many musicians undertaking the work of writing new Psalm settings for worship.
Thank you also to our judges, who volunteered many hours to make this process possible. If you would like to read more about our judging process, please visit our description of the process here: Judging Process.
COS and the judging committee are grateful for the generosity of the donors who have faithfully funded this contest for 10 years. If you are interested in donating to the New Psalm Contest please contact Maria Stapert at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contribute online HERE.
You can stay up to date on COS Psalm Contest news or subscribe to our mailing list HERE.
You can print and hear the winning entries from past years at www.churchoftheservantcrc.org/newpsalmcontest