Tag Archives: Music

Melodies of Praise: 60th Anniversary of a Favorite Assemblies of God Songbook

melodies-of-praise

The Melodies of Praise hymnal and orchestrations made their debut in 1957. Pictured here are Assemblies of God Music Division staff members Lorena Quigley (left), Marie Salisbury (center), and Edwin Anderson.

This Week in AG History — February 10, 1957

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on PE-News, 2 February 2017

Early Pentecostals commonly believed that two books were essential for revival: the Bible and the songbook. Fervent, spiritual singing has been a distinguishing characteristic of the Pentecostal movement from its inception, alongside powerful anointed preaching.

In the few first decades of the movement, Pentecostals used and promoted a great variety of songbooks published by non-Pentecostals, such as R. E. Winsett. However, at the 1920 General Council of the Assemblies of God, a recommendation was made that “in addition to the Sunday School literature … a Pentecostal Song Book, to be used universally throughout the Assemblies of God, be prepared and published.”

When Chairman J. W. Welch asked how many ministers would use a uniquely Pentecostal song collection. nearly all the ministers raised their hands. This recommendation was met with the 1924 release of Songs of Pentecostal Fellowship, the first Assemblies of God effort to produce a songbook that was distinctly Pentecostal.

Songs of Pentecostal Fellowship was followed by other songbooks, such as Spiritual Songs (1930), Songs of Praise (1935), and Assembly Songs (1948). These collections consisted mainly of gospel songs which were popular at camp meetings and revival services. They also featured songs by Assemblies of God authors and began to bring unity to the congregational singing of the churches.

The 1950s brought a “golden era” to Pentecostal music. Quartet conventions began featuring more Pentecostal groups such as the Blackwood Brothers, and the Assemblies of God established the Music Division of Gospel Publishing House. One of the Music Division’s first duties was to produce a songbook for congregational singing that would also encourage the use of orchestrations for instruments. 

This new songbook, Melodies of Praise, made its debut 60 years ago in the Pentecostal Evangel, and it was formally introduced at the General Council later that year. It was the first Assemblies of God music publication to be released in both round note and shaped note editions, giving it a broader appeal for use in the southern singing schools. Melodies of Praise kept the gospel songs that were popular in churches but also incorporated more traditional hymns, such as Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Conversely, the compilers also sought to expose more church members to newer writers, such as Ira Stanphill, with the inclusion of songs like Mansion Over the Hilltop and Suppertime. It also incorporated a newer genre of church music with its introduction of choruses like Everybody Ought to Know, I Shall Not Be Moved, and Isn’t He Wonderful. 

Another change the Music Division made was to release a companion edition with instrumental orchestrations. Most Pentecostals embraced the use of instruments in worship and, for the first time, church instrumentalists could participate in the accompaniment of song services with the aid of properly composed notation.

Melodies of Praise was well received and sold 77,410 copies in its first year. By 1986, almost 2 million copies had been sold. Even after it was replaced in 1969 by the popular Hymns of Glorious Praise, it continued to sell well. Pentecostals have long known the power and importance of good church singing. The songs of the church teach and affirm biblical truth, are a spiritual expression of our affection toward God, and a testimony of His work in our lives. They also serve as a unifying factor. With the publication of a denominational hymnal, an Assemblies of God church member from Kentucky could visit a church in California and instantly feel at home during the congregational singing.

As the 60th anniversary of the release of Melodies of Praise is celebrated, it is a time to recognize the Assemblies of God’s rich history of worshiping through song. Even as times have changed, and many churches have moved to electronic projection of songs rather than printed hymnals, the Assemblies of God is still known as a people who embrace the musical language of worship with fervent passion.

New copies of Melodies of Praise are available through My Healthy Church.

See the original advertisement for Melodies of Praise on page 10 of the Feb. 10, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “A Prophet’s Shattered Home” by J. E. Harris

* “What is Communism” by Frank W. Smith

*”First Graduating Class at Rhodesian Bible School” by H. B. Garlock

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

5 Comments

Filed under History, Music, Spirituality

Freddie’s Christmas: The Heart-Wrenching Story of Noted Pentecostal Songwriter F. A. Graves

graves-fa

F. A. Graves with wife, Vina. Standing in the back are their children (l-r): Irene, Carl, and Arthur, circa 1920s.

This Week in AG History — December 19, 1931

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 22 December 2016

A heart-wrenching true story titled “Freddie’s Christmas” appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel 85 years ago this week. “Freddie” referred to Frederick Arthur Graves (1856-1927), the noted songwriter who became an early leader in the Pentecostal movement.

“Little Freddie” began life as the son of a tailor, in a family of four boys and one girl. The family had weekly devotions and worship, and the children were taught to love and trust God. Freddie’s father worked long hours, going door-to-door to find work measuring and making clothes for men and boys. Eventually the work became too much, and he became sick and died. Freddie’s mother was frail and tried to care for the children by herself, but within three years she developed tuberculosis and also passed away. The children were farmed out to different homes.

Freddie was taken in by Mr. Hollis, a man who was “honest in his dealings with his neighbors but who was godless.” It seemed that he wanted a boy for the sole purpose of helping with chores on the farm. Freddie was given many tasks to do on the farm and worked very hard, but often he was sad. After saying his prayers, he would climb into his bed in the attic and “cry himself to sleep in his loneliness and homesickness.”

Mr. Hollis was very unkind to Freddie, often making the hapless young boy think it was his own fault that he became an orphan. Whenever cookies and other treats were shared among Mr. Hollis’ other children, Freddie was left out because he was “only an orphan.” When Christmas arrived, the children hung their stockings by the fireplace, and they had to beg their parents to let Freddie also have a stocking. Finally, the parents let Freddie put up a stocking next to the other ones.

Bright and early on Christmas morning, the other children gleefully opened their stockings. But Mr. Hollis told Freddie that he could not touch his until all the chores were done, so he bravely trudged through the snow and cold to milk the cows and feed the calves and chickens. After the chores were completed and everyone had finished breakfast, the man finally gave Freddie permission to open his stocking. “Freddie sat down on the floor and began very carefully to take out the shavings in the top of his stocking — on and on he went still taking out shavings clear down to the toe. Not one thing in all that stocking but shavings!”

Freddie’s heart almost stopped beating — and then Mr. Hollis began to roar with laughter, slapping his knee and saying to his wife, “That is the best joke I’ve had in a long time!” And he continued to laugh.

Freddie slowly picked up every shaving and ran to the barn as fast as he could. He climbed up into the hayloft, out of sight, and sobbed for a long time. Finally he talked with God and felt God’s comfort and peace, despite the circumstances. As it began to grow dark, he remembered there were more chores to be done, so he climbed down and faithfully went to work doing his chores. As he worked, the Lord enabled him to forgive the man who had been so mean to him.

Not long after this incident, Mr. Hollis began acting strangely and became increasingly moody and unhappy. (Some whispered it might be because of his cruelty to the poor orphan boy.) Then one day he went out to the barn and hung himself. Freddie, who had known much heartache and grief himself, was able to whisper words of comfort to the widow in her loss. Later, she hugged him and told Freddie what a comfort he had been to her.

The Lord helped Fred Graves to be a blessing, despite all the hardship he had borne. Years later he became a minister of the gospel, overcoming significant difficulties and receiving healing from epilepsy. He obtained ministerial credentials from Christian faith healer John Alexander Dowie in 1899 and transferred his ordination to the Assemblies of God in 1916.

Graves’s testimony inspired him to write numerous songs, including “He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me,” “He’ll Never Forget to Keep Me,” and “Honey in the Rock.” Graves continues to make an impact through his songs, through the lives he touched, and through his influence on his son-in-law, Assemblies of God theologian Myer Pearlman.

Frederick A. Graves’ Christmas testimony reminds us of the hardships faced by early Pentecostals, and also illustrates how God can bring beauty from tragic circumstances.

Read Vina Graves’ article, “Freddie’s Christmas,” on pages 6 and 13 of the Dec. 19, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Child is Born,” by Ernest S. Williams

• “The Meaning of Christmas,” by C. H. Spurgeon

• “When Sankey Sang the ‘Shepherd Song’ on Christmas Eve”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History

The Healing of Joseph Wannenmacher: How a Gifted Violinist became an Assemblies of God Pioneer

P0283
This Week in AG History — October 29, 1949

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 29 October 2015

As a young man, Joseph P. Wannenmacher (1895-1989) was a rising star in the Milwaukee musical scene. But a miraculous healing in a small storefront mission in 1917 forever changed his life, and he went on to become a well-loved Assemblies of God pioneer pastor. He shared his powerful testimony in the October 29, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Like many other Milwaukee residents, Wannenmacher was an immigrant. He was born in Buzias, Hungary, to a family that was ethnically German and Hungarian. The Wannenmachers moved to Milwaukee in 1903, but his father was unable to adapt to American ways so they returned to Hungary after 10 months. In 1909, they returned to Milwaukee to stay.

From an early age, music helped define Joseph Wannenmacher’s life. In Hungary, he was surrounded by some of the nation’s best musicians and became a noted violinist. In Milwaukee, at age 18 he organized and conducted the Hungarian Royal Gypsy Orchestra (named after a similar group in his homeland), which performed at many of the region’s top entertainment venues.

Wannenmacher seemed to have it all. He could afford fashionable clothing, a gold watch, and diamond-studded jewelry. But underneath his successful veneer, Wannenmacher was haunted by his own human frailties.

Wannenmacher knew that he was dying a slow, painful death. His flesh would swell, develop blisters, and rot. Doctors diagnosed his condition as bone consumption. His sister had already died of the same malady. Anger boiled up in Wannenmacher as he grappled with the unfairness of life. He developed a sharp temper and, try as he might, he could not find peace.

Wannenmacher was raised in a devout Catholic home, so he turned to his faith to help him deal with his physical pain and bitterness. He frequently attended church and offered penance, but these practices did not seem to help.

He then turned to Luther’s German translation of the Bible, which someone had given to him, and began reading it voraciously. In its pages he discovered things he had never heard before. He read about Christ’s second coming, salvation by faith, and Christ’s power to heal. Perhaps most importantly, he learned that God is love. Up until that point, he had conceived of God as “Someone away up there with a long beard and a big club just waiting to beat me up.” But then, at age 18, he began to discover the gospel for himself.

In the midst of this spiritual awakening, Wannenmacher’s health was weakening. He could barely hold his violin bow in his hand, and the pain was almost unbearable. Then one morning in 1917 he heard about a group of German-speaking Pentecostals who prayed for the sick. The next service was scheduled for that afternoon, and Wannenmacher made a beeline for it. He wrote, “It was a dilapidated place, but the sweet presence of God was there.”

The small band of believers had been fasting and praying that God would send someone who was in need of salvation and healing. The service was unlike anything Wannenmacher had ever seen before. He watched the people get on their knees and cry out to God. Their outpouring of genuine faith moved Joseph’s heart.

The pastor, Hugo Ulrich, preached that sinners could be saved simply by trusting in Christ. It seemed too good to be true, Wannenmacher thought. Faith then came into his heart, and he started laughing for joy. The pastor thought Wannenmacher was mocking him, but Wannenmacher didn’t care. At the end of the service, Wannenmacher came forward to the altar and experienced a powerful encounter with God.

Wannenmacher described his time at the altar: “the power of God just struck me and shook for fully half an hour…the more His Spirit operated through my bones, through my muscles, through my being, the hotter I became. The more God’s power surged through me, the more I perspired. The Lord simply operated on that poor, diseased body of mine.”

He described this experience as being in the “operating room” of God. Later in the service, as he knelt at the altar rail in silent prayer, it seemed like heaven came down. He recalled, “As I waited there in God’s presence … [God’s] hands went down my body from head to toe, and every spirit of infirmity had to go. I got up, and I was a new man.”

A few days later, Wannenmacher was baptized in the Holy Spirit. He soon launched into gospel ministry and shared his testimony wherever he went. He played his violin and sang gospel songs during the lunch hour at the Harley Davidson plant, where he sometimes worked. He testified about his healing in hospitals, street corners, and other places. Everywhere he went, he prayed with people, and many accepted Christ and were healed. Wannenmacher’s family jokingly referred to his violin as the “healing violin,” because numerous people experienced healing as he played songs such as “The Heavenly City.”

In 1921 he married Helen Innes and started Full Gospel Church in Milwaukee. He went on to found six additional daughter churches in the area. He also served as the first superintendent of the Hungarian Branch of the Assemblies of God, which was organized in 1944 for Hungarian immigrants to America. After pastoring Full Gospel Church (renamed Calvary Assembly of God in 1944) for 39 years, he retired in 1960.

Throughout his ministry, Wannenmacher emphasized the importance of the Word of God. In his Pentecostal Evangel article, Wannenmacher compared reading the Bible to the mastery of music. “You have to practice and play music over and over again before you have mastered it,” he wrote, “and you have to apply yourself to those wonderful teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, too, in order to make them yours.”

While Joseph Wannenmacher went to be with the Lord in 1989, his legacy lives on in the churches he founded and in the people whose lives he touched. Calvary AG is continuing to reach people in the Milwaukee area and was renamed Honey Creek Church in 2015. Joseph and Helen’s three children, John, Philip, and Lois (Graber), were involved in Assemblies of God ministries. Philip served as pastor of Central Assembly of God (Springfield, Missouri) from 1970 to 1995. Philip’s daughter, Beth Carroll, serves as director of Human Resources at the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center. On the floor just above Beth’s office, Joseph’s “healing violin” is on display in the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center museum.

Joseph Wannenmacher’s story reminds believers that history never really disappears. People, events, and themes from the past tend to resurface in the present, but it often takes discernment to see them. God radically transformed Joseph Wannenmacher’s heart and healed his body, and the world has never been the same.

Read Joseph P. Wannenmacher’s article, “When God’s Love Came In,” on pages 2-3 and 11-13 of the October 29, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Life’s Supreme Objective,” by D. M. Carlson

• “Ministering to the Needy,” by J. H. Boyce

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Joseph Wannenmacher's

Joseph Wannenmacher’s “healing violin,” on display at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center museum

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org

3 Comments

Filed under History, Music, Spirituality

R. Hilton Griswold, Longtime AG Minister and Gospel Musician, with the Lord at Age 93

Hilton Griswold playing the piano in the E. N. Bell Chapel at the dedication of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Hilton Griswold playing the piano in the E. N. Bell Chapel at the dedication of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

By Glenn Gohr

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is saddened to announce the passing of a dear friend and saint of God. Rev. R. Hilton Griswold was born on November 12, 1921, and he passed away on May 5, 2015 in Springfield, Missouri, at the age of 93.

Hilton Griswold passionately loved Gospel music. He is remembered for playing the piano and singing baritone for the Blackwood Brothers Quartet from 1940-1950. He was credentialed as an Assemblies of God minister on July 10, 1948, and pastored churches in Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.

Hilton has been a friend of the Heritage Center for many years. In addition to singing and playing in the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center chapel on various occasions, he played gospel hymns and choruses for the opening of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center and museum on January 19, 1999.

In recent years he ministered in nursing homes and senior adult gatherings. He also hosted his own program called “Inspiration Time,” which was released on television, radio and internet releases nationwide. He not only personally knew many of the gospel singing groups and composers, but he often knew the stories behind the songs, which he often shared on his weekly television programs.

For a wonderful example of Griswold’s inspirational music, watch this segment of him playing the piano, bass, and harmonica, and also singing 4 different parts for the song “We Shall Rise” as well as some other selections: https://vimeo.com/3599197

Additional selections of Griswold’s music are found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HiltonsFriends

Hilton Griswold was preceded in death by his wife, Marie, and his daughter, Barbara Chapman. He is survived by his son, Rev. Larry Griswold of Plainfield, Illinois and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He leaves a wonderful legacy of gospel music and singing which will continue to inspire future generations.

__________________________________

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

8 Comments

Filed under History, Music

Homegoing of Cyril A. McLellan, director of the Revivaltime Choir


CYRILCyril A. McLellan, a name synonymous with the former Assemblies of God Revivaltime Choir, passed away on Tuesday, May 19th in Springfield, Missouri, after an extended battle with cancer. He was 81.

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, McLellan’s musical pedigree was impressive. He held a performance degree from the London Royal School of Music, bachelor of arts degrees in music from Central Bible College and Evangel University, and a masters degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in violin pedagogy, where he also excelled in choral conducting. In 1958, McLellan became an ordained AG minister. Being an accomplished violinist, he was also a member of the Springfield Symphony.

Cyril took over the Revivaltime Choir from his brother Vernon in 1952, after he moved to Missouri from Canada to teach at Central Bible Institute (now Central Bible College). He directed the Revivaltime Choir for 43 years, starting even before C. M. Ward became the Revivaltime speaker. He continued as director until the broadcast ended in 1995. According to Barbara Cavaness, a former choir member, “McLellan demanded and trained for musical excellence, but the emphasis of every practice seemed to be the prayer that each note would be anointed by the Holy Spirit.” Lee Shultz, the producer and narrator of Revivaltime for 25 years, said: “He gave his heart and soul to produce the kind of music that reached people. The quality was uncontestable; so many tried to imitate it.”

McLellan traveled with over 100 choir tours and participated in approximately 1,700 radio broadcasts. He produced 35 Revivaltime Choir albums and led more than 800 Revivaltime choir members. He completed more than 170 choir arrangements, including 75 octavos and 24 books as well as personal recording projects.

McLellan received prestigious honors over the years, including: Central Bible College Alumnus of the Year, an award for artistic ability and leadership in music from Word Records, a SESAC award for outstanding achievement in music and ministry, a commendation for music and ministry at the AG 45th General Council (1993) in Minneapolis, and in 2001 he was inducted into the Assemblies of God Music Hall of Honor.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Beth; two adult sons, Steve and Bruce; his brother, Arnold L. McLellan; and five grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 25, in Greenlawn Funeral Home North, in Springfield, Missouri. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, in Central Assembly of God, in Springfield. Alumni of the Revivaltime Choir will be singing “Room at the Cross” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” at the funeral service.

Memorial music scholarship contributions may be given to Central Bible College or Evangel University.

Obituaries have been posted in the
Springfield News-Leader
, in AG-NEWS, and in CBC Alumni News.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

5 Comments

Filed under News

Can you identify this St. Louis area C.A. photo?

larger Photo
Click here to see a larger copy of this photo. (236 kb)


This appears to be a group of high schoolers (note the Christ’s Ambassadors emblem on the drum set) in the 1960s. One of the television cameras says “KTVI TV” which would indicate this choir and orchestra were taped by Channel 2 – KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri. If you can identify the director, any of the group members, the date, or the occasion of the photograph, please contact FPHC staff member Glenn Gohr.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

1 Comment

Filed under News

Don Baldwin (1931-2007) former manager of the Couriers, passes on

[splashcast MPIC5405YB]

SplashCast with Flickr photos
Produced by iFPHC


Don Baldwin, former Couriers Quartet founder and manager, died February 24, 2007 at his home in Florida. He was 75.

Donald Edward Baldwin was born Nov. 30, 1931 in Hamilton, Ohio, and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. While he was stationed in Las Vegas during the Korean War he developed an appreciation for gospel music. When he enrolled at Central Bible Institute in 1954, then, he parlayed this musical avocation into his vocation. That year, Baldwin rallied several fellow students to form a gospel group — The Couriers Quartet. The Couriers went on to be one of the most successful gospel music groups in the late twentieth century. Significantly, The Couriers helped to shift gospel music from an emphasis on entertainment back toward ministry and evangelism. Don Baldwin — and the other men of The Couriers — were Assemblies of God boys who proceeded to impact an entire generation for Christ.

After leaving the Couriers in 1965, Don established “Baldwin Sound Productions,” a recording studio facility and the home of Hymntone Records. Many of the major gospel groups recorded there over the years. During the 1970s, he also served as an emcee of the National Quartet Convention. In 2002, Don became one of the very first inductees into the Pennsylvania Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was awarded the “Living Legend” award by the Grand Old Gospel Reunion.

A memorial service for Don Baldwin is scheduled at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March 9, at Victory Church (Assembly of God), 1401 Griffin Road, Lakeland, Florida.

The Baldwin family authorized a memorial website, which includes articles and photographs.

The Couriers were featured in the cover story for the 2007 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine. Read the article, written by leading gospel music historian Jim Goff, on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Posted by Glenln Gohr

3 Comments

Filed under News