Music of the Germans from Russia: Jamestown College Concert Choir

Music CD funded and produced by Prairie Public Television and Jamestown College, Jamestown, North Dakota; recorded by Makoche Recording Company; producers: Donald Christianson and Bob Dambach; cover design: Les Skoropat, 2004, 56.36 minutes

The music, which defined the faith and culture of the German-Russian population along the Volga River and Black Sea regions, traveled with them when they left Russia and arrived to settle the North American prairies and plains. This unique collection from the Jamestown College Concert Choir honors those ethnic traditions with performances of German Russian hymns and folk songs, traditional German chorales in contemporary settings, and anthems of F. Melius Christiansen – as well as new gospel and spiritual arrangements.

The German Russian music was performed for a 2005 Prairie Public Television documentary. Funding for the performance was provided in part by grants from the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the North Dakota Humanities Council.

The choir performs these songs: 1) "Grosser Gott, Wir Loben Dich! 2) Holy God We Praise Thy Name; 3) Schönster Herr Jesu (Beautiful Savior); 4) Beautiful Savior; 5) In Dem Garten; 6) Garbe und Krone; 7) Ich bin der Docktor; 8) Jetzt ist die Zeit; 9) Praise to the Lord; 10) Children of the Heavenly Father; 11) Built on the Rock; 12) Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring; 13) Ashoken Farewell; 14) O Day Full of Grace; 15) He Came Here for Me; 16) It Is Well with My Soul; 17) John the Revelator; 18) Praise His Holy Name; and 19) Battle of Jericho.

The Jamestown College Concert Choir presented their Spring 2004 Tour, "Hymns of Faith Both Great and Small," with Dr. Donald G. Christianson, Director. The following text appears in the Spring 2004 Tour Program: "Music, especially singing, was central to village life [in South Russia]. Their hymns traveled with them from their native Germany as did the hymnals. Church elders and teacher-deacons lead services when a pastor was unavailable. Choirs were formed, and pipe organs became common at the end of the 19th Century."

"Folk music also flourished - which were brought with them from Germany, while variations and new songs developed in their new Russian homeland. These songs were performed on many different occasions - a cappella, or accompanied by accordion, zither, or harmonica. The young men especially favored singing on the street corners in the evening, often to serenade prospective brides."

"For many, their history does not end in Russia but continues on the plains and prairies of Canada and the United States. The colonist freedoms, which originally brought them to Russia were being revoked during a period of Russian nationalization. Spurred on by the Homestead Act and other promises of free land, many German Russians sailed for America with few possessions, enormous hope, and their enduring "Hymns of Faith" in a faithful God."

Music of the Germans from Russia

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