Tuesday, May 21, 2024


I have collected a pretty good selection of hymnbooks from various Christian traditions, recent, and some from the past. One of the more curious is Towner's Male Choir (1894) described by its editor as "a most helpful accessory in the service of praise, more especially for Y.M.C.A., Y.P.S.C.E, and Evangelistic meetings." My copy is stamped inside the front cover "Alfred University School of Theology," which was the Seventh Day Baptist theological school. It was common around the turn of the last century for college-age male quartets to travel the country in the summer break months singing at SDB churches and at revival services. Towner was often what they sang from. Leafing through my copy this afternoon I found Towner's version of "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," a familiar hymn, but, of course, here arranged for a male quartet. The image can be enlarged.

D.B. Towner, Towner's Male Choir, Fleming H. Revell, 1894.

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