In the spring of 2022, BYU-Idaho plans to hold its 17th Annual Hymn Festival, celebrating religious music and commemorating lyrical and composition talents of participants. Hymn texts submissions are an important element to the festival.  

Daniel Kerr, the director of organ studies and musicianship at BYU-Idaho, will be one of the reviewers of submitted texts during the hymn selection process. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he emphasized that good hymn texts should include distinct meter, rhyme scheme and lyrical timelessness. Although there is no limit to hymn text topic, Kerr advised against text submissions that are structured like journal entries and void of consistent rhythm. 

Hymn text selections are subject to editing at the discretion of the Music Department faculty members over the festival, though original authors are actively involved in the editing process. All hymn texts submissions should accurately reflect doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and include two scripture verses which support the main message of the text. 

After hymn text submissions are selected, they will be passed along to composition students who will then create written melodies and harmonies to underscore the lyrics. All compositions are then learned by student organists/pianists and played as accompaniment at the Hymn Festival. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Brother Kerr explained one of the meaningful goals behind this annual hymn festival. 

“The overall goal I think is just to enrich the hymnody of the restored church. We have a great hymnal. We know the Church is working on a new hymnal, but everyone can write something. Musicians can craft new tunes. Why not add to the corpus of music that we have in the Church and make it even richer and fuller?” Kerr said. 

Hymn texts are being accepted now until Monday, December 6. Submissions can be submitted via email or sent to Daniel Kerr’s P.O. box. For full submission details, please visit the Hymn Festival information page.