Largest U.S. Collegiate Men’s Choir Supports LDS Missionaries Through Song
March 30, 2013, Provo, Utah— For the first time ever, the Brigham Young University (BYU) Men’s Chorus, the largest collegiate men’s choir in the nation, will share its newest collection of hymns as free MP3 downloads.
Set Apart: Beloved Missionary Hymns is being released at a time when the missionary work worldwide for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is experiencing a dramatic increase, due in large part to the recent age requirement reduction. The album, created as a gift to all who share in the love of missionary work, will be available for download free of charge at setapartalbum.com on April 5, 2013.
“If any group in the whole world should make a missionary CD, it’s the BYU Men’s Chorus,” said Rosalind Hall, director of the choir. “You feel that tremendous power coming from them when they sing and the enormous collective goodness that they emanate. There’s nothing in the world that could be a stronger power for good than that.”
Set Apart includes 10 new arrangements of beloved hymns created especially for the choir. The songs were thoughtfully selected to especially honor prospective and current missionaries, all who share in the growing spirit and energy of missionary work, and people of all faiths. Over 60 percent of the current 180-member choir has served missions and many others await mission assignments.
“This is a truly monumental recording that will bless and inspire many lives,” said Kory Katseanes, director of the BYU School of Music.
Notable arrangers, including Matthew D. Nielsen, David Zabriskie, and Lane Johnson generously forfeited licensing rights so the BYU Men’s Chorus could offer the hymns in this album for free.
“The Men’s Chorus allows me to not only learn new music and increase my musical talents, but to share my testimony with those who come to our concerts and listen to our recordings,” said Josh Wood, member of the BYU Men’s Chorus, who served in the Michigan Lansing mission.
Stephen Jones, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, is very pleased with the choir’s work. “Testimony is felt in every phrase of this very impressive offering that honors all those who have served missions, and will inspire all who desire to share the gospel.”
Currently, among LDS youth, there is great fervor and excitement around missionary work, with “nearly five times the typical number of [missionary applications]” according to Salt Lake City’s Deseret News.
“Ever since President Monson made that announcement at General Conference, there’s been a tremendous upsurge in the level of excitement about the missionary program” Hall said. “Every time the Men’s Chorus sings, the moment they open their mouths, they are doing missionary work.”
About the Brigham Young University Men’s Choir
Walk into BYU’s Madsen Recital Hall at 4:00 pm any day during fall and winter semesters, and you will see an unusual sight – 180 men. Singing.
Judging by the power and beauty of their sound, you may assume that this is a class for voice majors. Not so. In fact, only 15 of them major in music. The other 165 spend most of their day in other pursuits – mechanical engineering, business, biology, and more. Most have part-time jobs. All have other interests. Many serve in the community. Yet all commit this hour every day to the extraordinary Men’s Chorus experience.
Sit through their rehearsal and you will hear a great variety of music – challenging masterpieces from the classical male choral repertoire, jaunty folksongs from all around the world, commanding anthems and heartwarming spirituals. But when you leave, what you are most likely to remember is the way that they sing hymns.
Nothing in their broad repertoire reaches more deeply into their own souls. Never do they shine more brightly than when they are inviting the divine into both their own hearts and those of every listener.
In this, their fifth album, they choose to share their performances of 10 missionary hymns at no charge. They hope to change the world. Maybe they will change yours.