11 responses to Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments
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    Comment on Amish CD (January 23rd, 2015 at 09:03)

    Amish CD

    Actually, we have a CD that some Amish girls in Holmes County recorded of their singing, with some instrumental accompaniment. These girls were not baptized at the time and frequently sang in their area (and I think may have done some traveling too), especially at benefits. The money they raised from the CD sales went to benefit someone in their area, maybe with medical costs, but I can’t remember that for sure. When we saw one of the girls later, she had been baptized and some things had changed. Their group only sang on occasions where there was no equipment like speakers and instruments. I think her younger sister, and maybe some other unbaptized girls, had stepped up into using the more technological equipment.

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      Comment on Guitar playing among Amish (January 23rd, 2015 at 11:21)

      Guitar playing among Amish

      I think it would be especially hard to give up the guitar or other musical instrument if you have a talent and passion for it. I used to have a guitar and I miss it quite a bit sometimes even though I don’t have musical talent. I imagine it must be even more fulfilling if you are good at playing.

      Amish adults do play the harmonica in different communities. I wouldn’t be shocked if other instruments like the guitar were gradually accepted over time in some communities.

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    Comment on random question (January 23rd, 2015 at 10:46)

    random question

    This isn’t related to the music, but I have been noticing a huge percentage of Amish people wearing glasses. As a formally legally blind person prior to LASIK surgery, maybe I notice this more than others. Any thoughts?

    • Interesting observation. It could just be that contacts are less common among Amish, and I’d think corrective procedures like LASIK would be as well.

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        Comment on Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments (January 24th, 2015 at 11:02)

        I had noticed the same thing Kim mentioned (a lot of eyeglasses among the Amish), and had also wondered if it might be at least in part due to fewer / no contacts among the Amish. If the latter is true, I had wondered if it might be due to general Amish frugality (contacts around our house haven’t been cheap), or if it was an anti-vanity issue. At least at times glasses have viewed as ‘ugly’ (the old saying that “guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”), so contacts were a way to “pretty oneself up” — which isn’t the stereotypical Amish way.

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      Comment on Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments (January 24th, 2015 at 13:41)

      Hi Kim, first congrats on your LASIK and new eyesight! As Erik said these surgical interventions aren’t usually allowed within the Amish culture.
      Among the uber strict Swartzentruber Order, no interventions are allowed as it’s “God’s will” with whatever happens to the body. The Ordnung prohibits anything – even sunglasses – except for eyeglasses, and the frames are dictated = round. No individuality in eyeglasses.

      As for the beautiful music, I enjoy hearing it among those higher orders that allow instruments. My son-in-love, who left the Swartzentruber, was prohibited any musical instruments in church (Gmay) and at home. Even a radio was prohibited.

      But I’ve had former-Swartzentrubers sing their familiar a capella German tunes for me. The slow dirge is soothing, and they do harmonize.

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    Carl Oliver
    Comment on Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments (January 25th, 2015 at 08:49)

    The Oakland version of “city of light” is amazing! I keep playing it over and over again. I love the harmony and the simplicity. And the slight imperfections in pitch and tuning actually give it a rich, honest sound. Not really sure how to describe my thoughts any better than that. I love it! I am with you Erik. I think the instruments actually take away from the raw beauty of their voices.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments (January 25th, 2015 at 14:49)

    Yes, I think unaccompanied song (in harmony) suits me just fine, but it is good to see that Amish Youngie have the talent and perseverance it takes to play a musical instrument. As always, I’m especially appreciative of the young lady who chose to learn the accordion…which to me, seems to require physical as well as mental, endurance! I’d like to learn the stories of the musicians and how they came to learn to play their particular instrument…ESPECIALLY that accordion!

    Alice Mary

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    Comment on Amish Girls Sing ‘How Great Thou Art’–With Instruments (January 25th, 2015 at 15:12)

    Curious about the accordion player, too. If you notice, I don’t believe she was playing with the right hand at all. Actually, if she’s only using the left hand it wouldn’t even be necessary for her to know how to read music. Just pencil in the chord letter by the words of the hymn and she could do it . Yes, it does require a lot of physical and mental coordination to play an accordion! Really enjoyed seeing this.

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