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Easter to be celebrated through hymns

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By Kirsten Laskey

Worship service at United Church of Los Alamos will be done a little bit differently April 13.Rather than the service presented in the form of a sermon, it will be offered in the form of music and song. The program, titled “For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” will be a festival of Easter hymns.Suzanne Johnson, United Church music director, said the Easter hymns date clear back to the 15th and 16th century. Plainsong chants will be included the program along with great chorale pieces. Nineteenth century gospels will be presented along with contemporary pieces. The choir will perform hymns as anthems but the congregation will be able to participate, too.Additionally, the history of the different hymns will be included in the program.Johnson explained she selected Easter hymns because it is still the Easter season and there are so many “wonderful” Easter hymns that there wasn’t enough time to perform them all on Easter Sunday. Additionally, “(I’m) often looking for different ways to use music in worship,” Johnson said.While the church hosts a major musical event two or three times a year, the Easter hymn festival is new, she said.A hymn, Johnson explained, “is a song of praise to be sung by the whole congregation as they worship.”She added, “(We) try to use a different medium to deliver the world of God.”There will be an abbreviated version of the festival at the 8 a.m. service before the full program is presented at 9:30 a.m. The festival is open to everybody, Johnson said, “Especially if they enjoy singing joyful music.”United Church of Los Alamos is a multi-denominational church. “We are the original church in the Los Alamos community,” Johnson said.For more than 25 years, Johnson said, the church as offered a variety of choir programs.