There are many excellent opportunities to uncover good Christian music online. Of course, as always, everything listed here has not been vetted, so check the lyrics. This short report will highlight only a few of the many freely-available hymn resources that are already online.
A few choir concerts online
Bethany Lutheran College (ELS) Homecoming Concert May 28, 2014
Martin Luther College (WELS)
archive of streamed concerts
Wisconsin Lutheran College (WELS)
Christmas Concert 2010
The Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus (WELS) Concert 2014
National Choral Festival (WELS) Sacred Concert 2015 hosted at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School, Jackson, Wisconsin, November 13-15, 2015.
Online Christian Hymnals
Hymnary.org is the "master site" for hymnals, texts, and tunes. Sometimes it lists only where a hymn is printed in a hymnbook and information about the author (e.g. the excellent Good Friday hymn "You That Like Heedless Strangers Pass Along"). But typically this site indexes thousands of hymns and links to text, scores, and MIDIs if they are available. When you search the entire Hymnary site, typing the name of a language in the search box may uncover hymns in both English and another language. I had the best luck with "Spanish." Many hymnals online have strong copyright restrictions the reader should be aware of.
The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (ELS) and Christian Worship: a Lutheran Hymnal (WELS) are page-scanned with text and score available for most of the hymns. When a MIDI is not available on the WELS or ELS hymnal site, check at the bottom of the page for the hymn you are looking for where it says Media - "More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages" and you may find a link to a MIDI of the tune.
The Lutheran Hymnal
(LCMS, 1941) is scanned with score and text and is the hymnal I grew up with. The Lutheran Hymnal Online has MIDI versions of all of the hymns as well as text of all the lyrics. This labor of love by Rev. Richard Jordan, copyright 1998, is for personal enjoyment (and inspiration) only. The copyright statement is strong and precludes free distribution with current technology. Questions of use can be sent to an email address.
The United Methodist Hymnal has many hymns familiar to me, some including a MIDI file, text, and music score.
The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (1940) includes scanned pages of the hymnal with text and music score.
The Baptist Hymnal site has downloadable text of over 500 "good old Baptist Hymns and Spiritual Songs, lyrics with PDF." Many are familiar and used in our churches. If you are just looking for a hymn text to print out, this may be a good site, but translations may differ (for example, check "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.")
Additional Freely-Available Worship and Praise Music
Lutheran Hymns is a lovely collection of 87 videos, many with choir singing and subtitled text to sing along. Individual hymns can be downloaded to computers or transferred to cell phones.
A collection of Public Domain Hymns. Continuously updated, this resource includes sheet music, lyrics, MIDI, PPT Music and Finale files, as well as Spanish language hymns..
Free Christian Worship & Praise Music has ZIP files to download: 125 MP3 hymns, 127 MP3 hymns, 4500 Midi hymns, and 319 hymns with MIDI, sheet music, and lyrics.
Chris Driesbach, who sings and tells his story in ELS and WELS congregations throughout the United States, composes and performs his own creations. His website provides a few links to YouTube videos of some of his songs and a freely available copy of the lyrics of all of his music.
YouTube has Christian hymns in many different languages. Search "Christian music + whatever language you are looking for." Be aware that ads will pop up on YouTube. Some of the videos are hours long, filled with music and they can be downloaded.
Christian Music Online For Personal Use or Sharing with Others
Music from groups or individuals singing good Christian music can be found on YouTube, Vimeo, and in church archives. You can even search for hymns sung in many different languages. I download some of my personal favorites, keep them in a folder to my computer and on my phone, and listen to or watch them often. Six examples from my folder:
John Ylvisaker singing his hymn, "I was there to hear your borning cry"
Peter Hollen's a cappella video of "Mary did you know?" by Mark Lowry"
Michael Joncas' "On Eagles Wings" (based on Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31)
"The Tree of Life," hymn tune by Bruce W. Becker, text by Stephen P. Starke (1995), here sung by the choir at Peace Lutheran Church (ELS), North Mankato, Minnesota, and listed as an example of how a local congregation or mission can produce its own "music videos" for distribution locally on cell phones.
"You Raise Me Up," written by Secret Garden (music by Rolf Løvland, lyrics by Brendan Graham) is sung here by two Chinese children in English with Chinese subtitles. Like the widely popular "Amazing Grace" which sadly does not mention the source of grace, Jesus, there is no direct Christian message in this song, but it can easily be interpreted by a Christian witness to someone who loves the song as an introduction to the Gospel message.
An old vinyl record of Christian music sung by children, directed by Mr. Fred Bartel from Madison Lutheran School in Madison, Wisconsin, has been digitized and put online. The quality of the recording from the early 1960's is not perfect, but the voices of the children and their message are.
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