Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September Psalm Sing

On Saturday we had another psalm sing. We worked on two less-familiar tunes, Winchester and Howard, which we sang to psalms 8 and 92:12-15, respectively.  We still need to work on Howard a bit, so I won't post that recording, but here's the recording of Psalm 8 to Winchester:

I didn't care much for this tune before hand (partly because I kept confusing it with Farrant!), but after hearing it nicely sung in four-part harmony, I changed my mind. :)

After next month's psalm sing, all being well, we should have enough psalm recordings to make a set of two CDs.  Interested?  Details to come.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Project Psalms (x2)

I was recently informed via a blog comment about "Project Psalms."

Project Psalms, in a nutshell, is an endeavor to record the singing of all 150 psalms from the Scottish Metrical Psalter (1650) and to produce a comprehensive set of 15 CDs.  The project should be completed later this year, D.V.

This project is a great idea.  I love the idea of having all 150 psalms available as audio recordings.  Listening to recordings of the psalms is an excellent way for me to fill my mind with things that are true, pure, lovely etc.(Philippians 4:8)  And recordings of the psalms are very helpful to those of us who are trying to memorize the psalter.

On the Project Psalms website is a sample recording, of Psalm 23.  The psalm is sung as a solo by a professional tenor.  He has a very good voice, and the recording quality is excellent.

I do have a few minor quibbles with the project: for instance, some of the tune selections, the vibrato, the fact that it's a solo performance.  Nothing major.

However, the main obstacle preventing me from seriously considering the purchase of this CD set is the price: nearly 100 dollars!  While this is probably a very good deal considering that you are getting 15 CD's worth of professionally produced music, the price is prohibitive for those of us on really tight budgets like myself.

Thankfully, I have discovered a poor man's alternative. :)  A church in Dallas that sings the Psalms is singing straight through the Psalter at their monthly psalm sings, and posting the recordings online.  So far they have gotten through Psalm 18.  Their website cautions, "We're certainly not professionals, so don't tune in expecting anything other than a congregation of folks who love to sing the Psalms."  However, their singing is quite good really, only the recording quality is less than professional.  Perhaps someday their congregation (and ours) will be able to upgrade to better recording equipment. :)

My children and I have just started memorizing our way through the Psalter, and we have found the above recordings to be a helpful way to reinforce what we are learning.  Of course, some of the tunes are unfamiliar to us, since the church in Dallas uses the Comprehensive Psalter, which has a different tune selection; but we haven't found this to diminish the usefulness of the recordings.

Here again is the link:
Recordings of the Psalms

I'll add these recordings to this index of Scottish Psalter recordings soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Excuses, and More Goodbyes

I write, and I crochet.  These two activities are very different, and you would think that they would require the use of different parts of the brain.  But I've noticed that when I've been writing a lot, I have a hard time designing new crochet projects; and when I've been crocheting a lot, I can't seem to think of anything to write. So I guess I have a limited supply of creativity, and if I'm using it on one thing, I don't have any left to apply to the other.

So, I've been crocheting a lot lately. :) I've also opened a new Etsy shop selling recycled yarn.  The shop is off to a good start so far with a few sales already.  But with all the crocheting and listing and selling things, the writing part of my brain has been feeling quite dull.  I know, it's a bad excuse.

So, what's going on in Texas?  Well, life continues.  It seems that everyone is so busy these days, working and travelling and moving and preparing for weddings.

My brother-in-law Mark is off working the recent hurricane on the East Coast, leaving his wife behind to miss him.  It just so happens that Mark and Mercy will be moving soon (into Caleb and Leah's old house) so Mercy has her hands full, watching two little girls--and the youngest quite a squirmy and active little girl who needs a lot of attention!--and preparing to move, without her husband there to help.  The rest of us are doing our best to look out for her.

Caleb and Leah are, as I write, on the plane to Glasgow.  Due to visa complications, it seems that they will only be in Glasgow for six months at a time; the alternate six months, they will be back in Texas.  While we are happy that they are not leaving us for the full duration of Caleb's divinity studies, we are also sympathetic that Caleb and Leah are facing a major international move every six months for the next three years.  What a chore!  And Leah with two small children to care for, and another on the way!  (It's a BOY!)

Here's a photo from our last visit with Caleb and Leah.  Caleb showed us his new neighborhood in Glasgow via Google Street View.  He also showed us the Glasgow church building, where he will be doing his studies.  It looks like a beautiful building.  I hope I can visit it someday.
(the pink laptop is Leah's, don't worry)

In other news--I meant to start "properly" homeschooling Elijah this past Tuesday, but somehow I never got around to any lesson planning!  So perhaps the beginning of our school year will be pushed back a bit.  Lest you think I am shockingly careless about my child's education--our daily life includes quite a lot of informal education, and he is doing quite well academically despite not having formally begun school yet, so I feel as though I can get away with some laxity at the beginning. :)  Our primary focus at the beginning of the year will not be academic growth, but character growth--teaching him to focus, and apply himself, and work independently.

I'll leave you with a perfectly dreadful photo of us five siblings.  I'm sorry, it really is dreadful.  I promise that we are all really better-looking than this.  But there you have it.