Church of the Servant is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 New Psalm Contest:
First Place goes to “A Refuge of the Weary Saints” (Psalm 46)
written by Elise Massa (lyrics adapted from Isaac Watts).
Second Place goes to “Come and See what God Has Done” (Psalm 66)
written by Seth Koerner.
The Church of the Servant New Psalm Contest, in memory of Ben Fackler, now completing its twelfth year, continues to garner many quality Psalm songs from a diverse group of songwriters. While some writers faithfully submit their songs year after year, we are impressed by and grateful for the number of new writers to submit each year. We hope that this contest will be an encouragement to songwriters to continue writing. And we hope that this contest will be a blessing to the Church, continuing to provide it with new Psalm songs for congregations to sing.
From this year’s pool of entries, “A Refuge of the Weary Saints” (Psalm 46) by Elise Massa quickly rose to the top for our judges. Among other qualities, the judges appreciated the good use of musical form to make the song memorable and accessible for congregational singing. Accessibility for congregational singing is a high value for our congregation at Church of the Servant and for our judges, and not an easy thing to accomplish while also making a song musically and poetically interesting. Massa re-worked Isaac Watt’s lyrics in a way that fit the tune well and helped the judges understand and internalize the Psalm in a new way. Massa brought freshness to both the Psalm and to Watts’ translation of the Psalm through her adaptation and songwriting.
“Come and See What God Has Done” (Psalm 66) by Seth Koerner caught the attention of the judges with its energy and its possible uses in worship as a Call to Worship or as an Assurance of Pardon after confession. They thought the song was catchy and solid, and the text fit the style of music. The song would require the right musicians to carry the percussive rhythm needed to sustain the energy, but when done well could appeal to younger congregants. The judges also appreciated the richness of the text, particularly in contrast to other songs in the same style.
“Come and See What God Has Done” (Psalm 66): PDF, MP3, Bandcamp link
We will premiere both winning entries in our
worship service on
Sunday, February 6, 2022
We welcome visitors to join us for this service in person or by Zoom.
Visit our church website that morning to find the Zoom link to the service.
The goal of this contest is to encourage Psalm singing and writing. So in addition to awarding first- and second-place winners, the judges have also chosen an honorable mention that they would commend to congregations for singing:
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