The Music Of Keith and Kristyn Getty
Modern Hymn Writers
Keith Getty is a Northern Irish composer, best known for pioneering “modern hymns”. Many of his songs are co-written with his wife, Kristyn Getty, and veteran British, English songwriter and worship leader Stuart Townend. In re-inventing the traditional hymn form, Getty has created a distinguished catalog of songs teaching Christian doctrine and crossing genres by connecting the world of traditional and classical composition with contemporary and globally-accessible melodies.
That’s a very accurate assessment of how the Getty’s and Stuart Townend have changed church music as I learned it in the 1970’s before they were born. It’s hard to believe, but they have written more than 750 “modern hymns” since they started working together in 1995.
The Choir at St. Bartholomew has performed about a dozen of these songs over the past three years. We had to add a few to round out all the music we needed for our Easter Vigil Service in April. Their singable Celtic melodies are easy to learn and follow, but the insight of the lyrics is what always “gets” me. I don’t get tired of these songs the way I do with many of the popular worship songs that come from Hillsong Church and similar publishers. And I don’t find myself arguing with the doctrine as it is presented in their lyrics.
Our Viscount Chorum 60 is integrated with a Roland Integra 7 synthesizer so that I can program Irish instruments and drums to accompany these songs in the proper Celtic style. You have only to listen to our YouTube Playlist of The Getty’s songs to understand the instrumentation required such as violins, guitars, piano, fiddles, hurdy gurdy, penny whistles, bodhran and uilleann bagpipes.
The Viscount Chorum 60 (as well as all new Viscount organs) allows the organist to set the synthesizer codes for any individual instrument tone – or instrumental ensemble – on any general or divisional piston. I find it easier to play the bodhran drum and bass guitar on the pedalboard, and then group the other instruments on the manuals in various combinations. The Roland Integra can layer and split up to 15 instruments simultaneously. The clear Silbermann Baroque samples on the Chorum add “body” to the sound when the whole congregation joins in to sing.
These organs are amazingly affordable for even a small congregation like St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal in Richmond VA. If the music program at your church would benefit from the technology that Viscount brings to our music, please give me a call at 804-572-3598 to schedule a visit. I can help with all phases of planning, installation and integration of a new Viscount Physis or Chorum organ.