Church of the Servant is excited to announce two winning songs—both co-written—in its 2013 New Psalm Contest: Kathy McGrath and Carol Browning’s “Psalm 139: Search Me, O God,” and Bruce Benedict and Wendell Kimbrough’s “Psalm 113: Who Is Like Our God?”
Though many of the 50 entries could have easily won, the judges decided on McGrath/Browning’s “Search Me, O God” for its lovely lyrical quality and flowing vocal line, complemented beautifully by an oboe descant. The whole musical arrangement cradles the text wonderfully, conveying the wide-eyed wonder of the Psalm text. Benedict/Kimbrough’s “Who Is Like Our God” is a surprising interweaving of Psalm 113 and Philippians 2. Its simple folk style is the perfect choice for realizing a complex theological idea, but is also is the right music to encourage us to respond in faith.
The two winning songs represent very different approaches to Psalmody, and the other 48 entries represented even more distinct styles. Perhaps this stylistic breadth is the behind the first split award in the four years of the COS New Psalm Contest. The judges spent many hours evaluating song quality and usability within the Church of the Servant worship context. This was no small task, and we are very grateful for their time and expertise. We are also grateful to all the writers who submitted their music and texts, and hope that they will continue to create for the greater good of the Church. Finally, we are thankful for those who have funded the annual contest in memory of Ben Fackler, creating a fitting musical memorial.
The winning songs will premiered on Sunday February 2, 2014 at the 8:30am and 11am services of Church of the Servant. We would be pleased if you would join us, especially if you’re visiting the Calvin Worship Symposium that weekend.
Questions about this year’s contest or inquiries about future contests can be directed to Greg Scheer (firstname.lastname@example.org). Those who would like to ensure the contest continues into the future are encouraged to email about contributing.
See our Submission Guidelines for more details.
Previous Psalm Contest Winners:
2013 – Kathy McGrath and Carol Browning’s “Psalm 139: Search Me, O God”:mp3
Bruce Benedict and Wendell Kimbrough’s “Psalm 113: Who Is Like Our God?” Demo, COS service mp3, COS service video, pdf (SATB), pdf (lead sheet)
2011 – Carol Browning “Help Me Have the Faith of a Child” (Paraphrase of Psalm 131): mp3, pdf published by GIA
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