“Why do Mennonites sing in four-part harmony?” (page 23) should have been written in the past tense. It is a dying art form. Even my church, notable for musical talent, rarely sings a cappella. On a recent Sunday I was shocked at how anemic the part singing was. I think Voices Together inhibits robust part singing. There are too many unison hymns, many derived from Christian pop tunes with jaunty rhythms that are hard for even skilled readers unless they are familiar with the echo chamber of pop music. Someone should have told the text editor, who included 23 of his own lyrics, that tacking new words onto an old hymn is rarely an improvement. Any congregation interested in preserving this art form should make sure the 1992 and 1969 hymnals remain in the pews.
Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore
I grew up in the Mennonite church, and singing harmonies gives me a deep sense of worship. I once brought a Jewish friend (who thought I was Amish because I told her I’m Mennonite) to a service, and she exclaimed, “Wow! You guys can really sing!”
Derek Alistair Koch, Newton, Kan.