The purpose of SOCHS is to support and promote congregational song among church folk and in the community at large. One of its goals is to encourage people to sing; and, specifically, to sing their faith.
Dr. Kenneth Inkster
We are sorry to report the recent passing of Dr. Kenneth Inkster. A memorial notice may be downloaded here.
SOCHS 2015-2016 Season
Spring 2016: Making Your Own Congregational Song Tradition
Sunday, April 10, 2016, 2:30-4:00, join well-known church musician and clinician Lydia Pedersen in singing familiar tunes with new words. Lydia will present some of the findings of her extensive work with congregations creating their own hymn traditions. By the time of this event, SOCHS member Lydia Pedersen will be close to finishing a D.Min. degree. In this interactive presentation she will report on the results of her workshop in hymn writing for beginners, folks in the pew who never thought they had what it took and were pleasantly surprised. Along the way, many encountered unexpected personal transformations, and growth in their faith journeys. Come hear the stories and sing their hymns, ask questions, and perhaps go home inspired to try your own hand at the fascinating art of hymn writing. Royal York Road United Church, 851 Royal York Road, Etobicoke, just south of Bloor. Royal York Road subway stop. Join us at 2:30 for light refreshments; discussion and singing, 3:00-4:00. Parking at the church.
There is no fee for this event, open to all congregational song enthusiasts.
Winter 2016: Sing Justice
Saturday, February 27, 2016, 9:30-3:30, renowned hymn writer, jazz musician and composer Dan Damon led a lecture-workshop Sing Justice at Emmanuel College Chapel, Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Co-sponsored by Emmanuel College department of Continuing Education. Emmanuel College is located at 75 Queen’s Park Crescent, Toronto, just across from the Royal Ontario Museum and south of the Gardiner Museum on the east side. Museum subway stop. Registration fee of $60 ($30 for students) plus HST required in advance, payable through the Emmanuel College website at http://www.emmanuel.utoronto.ca/coned.htm. Fifteen percent discount for SOCHS members ($51.00 plus HST). Refreshments at 9:30, Includes a boxed lunch.
Fall 2015: Creating Hymns for the Joy of Singing
Sunday afternoon October 18, 2015, 3:00-4:30pm with refreshments at 2:30 at Church of the Holy Trinity (10 Trinity Square, Toronto), presented by SOCHS Executive member Ruth Watson Henderson with pastor David McKane. They will illustrate the interplay of words and music in hymn creation. Join us for singing hymns new and old together. There is no fee for this event, open to all congregational song enthusiasts.
9 November 2015
Waterloo event, co-sponsored by SOCHS:
You are invited to explore and sing with a new website on
Monday, November 9th, at 7:30
Keffer Chapel, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
(corner of Albert and Bricker)
All participants will have free access to the entire website from November 9th to 14th, 2015;
to browse, search and read at their leisure.
Plus: a 20% discount off list price on individual annual subscription until 30th November.
SOCHS 2014-2015 Season
Download an outline of this season. See below for other events of interest to members and friends.
Winter 2015: Songs of Love
Sunday afternoon February 22, 2015, 3:00pm-4:30pm with refreshments at 2:30 at Eastminster United Church, Toronto, presented by the SOCHS Executive, co-sponsored by Eastminster United Church. From popular song to congregational song, love is never far from our hearts and minds. Let’s get together a week after Valentine’s Day and Family Day, have some hot drinks and chocolate, and sing of the joys and sorrows of love to take the chill off the Southern Ontario winter.
Spring 2015: Worship in the City
Sunday afternoon, 12 April 2015 3:00pm-4:30pm with refreshments at 2:30, Metropolitan UC, Toronto. Join SOCHS President Nancy Hardy for a clear-eyed look at worship in the city. Why do we invoke bucolic scenes as exemplary of God’s providence when so many of us live in the “hard-edged” city? Is God not among us here and now? Nancy has studied our contradictory assumptions about rural and urban life and how these are manifest in our prayers and songs of worship. We’ll sing some newer and older hymns and songs that illustrate the theme.
Fall 2014: A Visioning Social Event for Members and Friends
Sunday 21 September at 3:00-4:30pm with refreshments at 2:30, St. Andrew's United Church, 117 Bloor Street East, Toronto. It is a time of rapid and profound change in the worlds of church music and worship. SOCHS is well placed to feel the effects of this change, and to influence the direction of our response to it. Incoming President of SOCHS Nancy Hardy and other members of the SOCHS executive committee were joined by guests and members for conversations, refreshments, some hymn singing and some hard talk about where we have been and where we are going as we look ahead to our 17th season!
Fall 2014: "Footsteps in the Snow: Tracking Faith and Song in the High Arctic"
Saturday November 8, 2014 10:00am-4:00pm at Emmanuel College, Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Lori-Anne Dolloff, Associate Professor, Music Education at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, and Raigelee Alorut, World Music Artist in Residence at the University of Toronto, shared experiences derived from her work with the Cathedral faith community in Iqaluit, tracing colonial and post-colonial influences on the music used in worship today. This event was co-sponsored by Emmanuel College and the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society.
Other Events of Interest
Compline Services, selected Friday Evenings at St. Mary Magdalene's in honour of female saints and near saints, led by Schola Magdalena.
Fall 2013: Sing! A Community Songfest with Choral Icon Alice Parker.The SING! weekend is co-sponsored by the Department of Choral Studies, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (YPBC) along with assistance from the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Toronto Centre) and the Southern Ontario Chapter of The Hymn Society. It will include:
For INFORMATION call the SING! Hotline (416) 978-0827. Visit www.melodiousaccord.org for more information on Alice Parker.
Winter 2014: "Woven of Vibrant Strands: A Hymn Festival of Emerging Song"
Sunday 2 February, 4-5pm (refreshments at 3:30) co-sponsored by and at Royal York Road United Church, directed by Hilary Seraph Donaldson, with Douglas Brownlee, director of music at RYR, and friends. An opportunity to explore new horizons and new directions emerging in the ecumenical world of congregational song, especially as influenced by the boom in vernacular song in the fifty years since the Second Vatican Council. This hymn festival will be based on the closing hymn festival of the Hymn Society's 2013 annual conference, "Tree of Life and Love: The Blossoming of Song since Vatican II," which took place in Richmond, VA in July. A freewill offering will be collected to defray expenses. For INFORMATION contact SOCHS at 416 342 6034 or via email at email@example.com.
Spring 2014: Walter Farquharson - Prairie Pastor and Hymn Poet.
Sunday afternoon April 27; 2:30pm in the Sanctuary, Trinity St. Paul's United Church, Toronto, presented by Paul Stott, co-sponsored by the Centre for Faith, Justice, and the Arts and the Worship and Faith Formation Circle of TSP. Mr. Stott has corresponded extensively with Walter Farquharson and gave a compelling presentation on Walter's work and legacy at the 2012 summer conference of the HSUSC in Winnipeg, MB. For INFORMATION contact SOCHS at 416 342 6034 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come for refreshments at 2:00.
Pause, Reflect, Renew: A Liturgy and Song Retreat
Friday-Saturday, June 14-15, 2013, at Convent of Saint John the Divine, 233 Cummer Ave., Toronto, Ontario M2M 2E8
Sadly, this event was cancelled.
Fabulous New Psalter Released
Friday-Saturday, February 22-23, 2013, at Emmanuel College, 75 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7
"Psalms Galore: a Workshop Introducing Psalms for all Seasons" celebrates the 2011 release of a new Psalter, Psalms for all Seasons. See details at Introducing Psalms for all Seasons.
Food, Conversation and Ideas about Hymn Festivals
Sunday, September 23, 2012, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Kingsway-Lambton United Church, 85 The Kingsway, Toronto, Ontario M8X 2T6
Social with Mel Hurst on planning hymn festivals. Refreshments at 2:30. There is no fee for this event. Members and friends of SOCHS heard Mel Hurst, a master of the hymn festival, give a compelling talk on how to put one together. A brief business meeting followed to confirm new members of the SOCHS executive committee. The following minute of appreciation for outgoing executive committee members was approved:
"Whereas Fred Graham, past president, and Rachael Boles, John Derksen and Paul Stott, members at large of the Executive of the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society have given freely of their time and expertise over the past years to provide leadership to SOCHS and have contributed immeasurably to the health of the organization and the quality of its activities,
"Therefore, on behalf of the membership of SOCHS, I move that we show our appreciation to Fred, Rachael, John and Paul as they complete their terms on the executive committee in terms of a very big thank you for all they have done for the organization and signify this by a round of applause and note to this effect on our website and in our newsletter."
100th-Anniversary Hymn Festival
Sunday, October 21, 2012, 2:30 p.m. at Humbercrest United Church, 16 Baby Point Road, Toronto, Ontario M6S 3E9
Hymn Festival with Music for Congregation, Choir, Brass and Organ. The singing began at 3:00 following a pre-festival concert of music for brass and organ. Celebrating the centennial of the congregation of Humbercrest, commentator and professor of church history Phyllis Airhart gave an extensive and fascinating commentary on hymns of importance to the denominations that came together in 1925 and later to form the United Church of Canada. Fred Graham, organist, Venabrass brass ensemble and singers of the Humbercrest Chancel Choir, conducted by Melvin Hurst, provided leadership to a group of 150 enthusiastic hymn singers in attendance.
Hymn Search Completed
An original hymn text was sought to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the congregation of Humbercrest United Church, Toronto, Ontario. An honorarium was granted to the author of the winning text. This search was co-sponsored by Humbercrest United and SOCHS, and the deadline for submissions was 15 May 2012. Full details are found here. Please see above for details of the Hymn Festival that will feature the winning hymn.
Sound the Bells!
Saturday, June 2, 2012, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.