It’s been a while since we had an Amish singing clip. I think it’s a nice time to post this one. This is described as an “Amish Hymn-Sing at the Historic Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead”. It’s a good time because the homestead just celebrated its 250th anniversary this past week, with a gathering and benefit auction.
The hymn sing I’m sharing here dates to a 2015 event. There are two songs on this clip – the first is church singing, which takes up about the first half of the 5-minute video. I don’t know the song, and it’s not given. Not being of Amish background I can’t tell you, but I imagine someone who is, could. I can only say I don’t believe it’s the Lob Lied; it starts differently.
For what it’s worth, I find it interesting reading the YouTube comments reacting to this music. One person calls it “the most beautiful, heavenly hymn singing I have ever heard.” Another says “plain but haunting”. Another says it is “monotone”. Overall there is more positive than negative. I think this type of song is quite unlike what most have heard before.
I remember the first time I heard Amish church singing. It was at a church service in Lancaster County in 2007. An Amishman who makes/made scooters there had invited me to join. I was not prepared for what I heard when the congregation’s voices combined on that first line, filling the room around me. As for my own view, I will say I find Amish church singing “hauntingly beautiful”. Experiencing such singing in the service itself with 150 church members united in song around you is special.
The second is an English language hymn – “Glory Gates” (not knowing this hymn, I first misheard it as “pearly gates”). This is by contrast a more upbeat tune compared to the soulful tones of traditional Amish church singing. This hymn is credited to Brethren minister George P. Hott. Here are the lyrics:
1 I am looking for the city built of God,
Where the many mansions be;
I am walking now the path that Jesus trod,
And His face I soon shall see.
Oh the glory gates are ever open wide
Inviting the world to come;
Oh the glory gates are ever open wide,
To welcome the weary home!
2 Thro’ the valley of the shadow I may go,
But His grace shall be my stay;
Tho’ the path be dark and dangerous I know
He will guide me all the way. [Refrain]
3 ‘Tis glory now that fills and thrills my soul,
As I walk the narrow way;
I am looking for the heav’nly light to dawn,
That shall rise in endless day. [Refrain]
Have a listen here: