January 28, 2010
Writer: Writer: Laura Di Giordano

Join Brigham Young University-Idaho's University Choir on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m., in the Barrus Concert Hall for the upcoming Hymn Festival, a night of praise through song.

This event will feature new hymns written by members of the BYU-Idaho community. Some songs will be new verses written to familiar tunes, while others will be entirely fresh compositions.

The original Hymn Festival occurred five years ago and was started with two main purposes-to celebrate existing hymns and to provide the opportunity for people to explore the art of composition. An additional benefit has been realized along the way. Because of the Hymn Festival, music majors studying the organ have the opportunity to practice and showcase their talent.

Students and faculty of BYU-Idaho write most hymns for the festival; however, it is open to all interested people in the surrounding area. Those interested submit their work in November and await the February or March début.

Student Jonathan Kirkham shows nervous excitement for the upcoming event. "This was a very spiritual experience for me, and required constant prayer," Kirkham said, who rewrote words to two existing hymns, "Let the Holy Spirit Guide" and "Awake and Arise." The second hymn holds special importance for Kirkham because his great-grandfather, Theodore E. Curtis, originally composed the work.

Music Department faculty member Daniel Kerr said, "This is a great opportunity to sing the ‘world premiers' of newly composed hymns. The Hymn Festival is free and open to the campus community as well as local residents. Event dress is required.