‘Anthem’ tradition

May 25, 2015 by

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To say that “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (“606” in The Mennonite Hymnal) was just “plucked from an 1830 edition of the Boston Handel and Hayden Society Collection” (Editorial, May 11) is to miss much of the connection that the anthem has with Mennonite sing­ing. The “Dedication Anthem” (the hymn tune name before it was called “606”) was included in the 1876 Harmonia Sacra, the song book published in the Shenandoah Valley and beloved by singing groups since then. It has probably been sung every year at the New Year’s Day singing at Weaver’s Mennonite Church since it began in 1903 (except for the years the singing was canceled for the flu epidemic). At every Harmonia Sacra singing I have attended, the “Dedication Anthem” is sung enthusiastically. When the number for this anthem is called, the leader or one of the singers usually says: “We have to stand for this one.”

Gary Smucker
Alexandria, Va.

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