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The Hymns Project

The Hymns Project

Sue Rinaldi speaks to Jonathan Veira about his new classic hymns album.

The hymn factor

The distinctive voice of Jonathan Veira breathes new life and vitality into a sublime collection of 12 much-loved hymns on a brand new release from Essential Christian called The Hymns Project. Sue Rinaldi opens the hymn book to find out what’s inside.

I will sing the wondrous story… 

Hymnody has been part of Jonathan’s life for as long as he can remember. Being brought up in church and learning to play many of the popular hymns on the piano from the age of 12, they are part of his musical DNA. “I learnt a lot on the piano by sight reading hymns,” explains Jonathan, “and I still know many of the words and the old tunes off by heart. They taught me theology, they enacted the stories of Jesus and told the story of redemption, and often within the same hymn. The writers wrote from personal experience and reflected so much truth about God.”

Love divine… 

Jonathan’s love and respect for the historical and musical substance of hymns is evident when you listen to the beautiful and inspiring arrangements augmenting his richly versatile voice. As well as firm favourites like “I Stand Amazed”, “I Surrender All” and
“Joyful, Joyful” recorded in their familiar melodic clothing but with gloriously fresh arrangements, there’s also six hymns adeptly outfitted with new tunes. These include “And Can It Be”, “O For A Thousand Tongues” and “To God Be The Glory”.
“People are finding the new melodies easily singable and memorable, and I hope they will become classics. As with my show ‘An Audience with Jonathan Veira’, the songs are diverse in style - from contemporary to classical and everything in between. Suitable for a band of any size or a choir, they are to be sung and enjoyed by all.” 

Joyful, joyful… 

Singing is something Jonathan feels passionate about, which is no surprise considering he is an experienced opera singer. To encourage group singing and promote the use of harmony, there are beautiful choral arrangements on “Just As I Am” and “Love Divine”. 
“Hymns are public declarations,” enthuses Veira, “where people, old and young, come together to sing. There is a strength in that. Singing is a physical act of worship, celebrating the creative spirit within and the fact that God has given us the ability to speak, which, when sustained, becomes singing. So, when you sing the words of a great hymn, something very special happens.”

O love that will not let me go… 

A re-imagined melody, an added chorus and an exquisite arrangement generates an alternate perspective on this outstanding hymn and could also attract a new audience. Writer George Matheson, who became blind whilst studying theology, faced a heart-breaking experience when his fiancée broke off their engagement. This hymn, written in 1882, was the fruit of that suffering.
“It is written from such personal hard-fought experience and in an extraordinarily poetic way,” adds Veira,” that I wanted to write a new tune to reflect that depth.”

To God be the glory 

Another of the new-tune hymns is one of Jonathan’s favourites. Easy to pick up and treated with a delicate musical buoyancy, “To God Be The Glory” serves as a fitting opener for The Hymns Project.
“In a matter of one or two verses,” says Jonathan, “it tells the story of the Christian message and recaptures praise and celebration. I believe we have lost a sense of praise in congregational singing, which is often replaced by intimate worship, which is not a bad thing, but there needs to be both. When people sing, ‘ Praise to the Lord, Let the earth hear his voice ’ they are smiling and loving it.”
The Hymns Project finds Jonathan Veira at his very best…passionate, innovative and comfortable in his surroundings, and along with the vast and varied skills of ace producer Mark Edwards, each hymn has been treated with the utmost care and astute creativity. These new and familiar melodies will stir people to worship and reflection, and provide a fabulous new musical resource for individuals and churches. A radiant and stirring release from one of the UK’s favourite artists. 
As Jonathan tours these hymns next year across the UK and with appearances at every Spring Harvest, be sure to go along. Time and again his events earn a response – “a great evening of inspiration”.
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Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
The Hymns Project CD (CD-Audio)
Veira, Jonathan
Retail price: £12.99
Your price: £10.99

The Hymns Project Songbook (Paperback)
Veira, Jonathan
Retail price: £9.99
Your price: £7.99