Welcome to The Yale ISM Review, a new publication from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music! This biannual online periodical reaches out to parish leaders and practitioners of all kinds who have an interest and investment in sacred music, worship, and the related arts.
One of the two founding benefactors of the ISM, Mrs. Clementine Tangeman, was deeply devoted to those who are actively engaged in these pursuits, as you are. Through her role as hymnal co-editor of the Disciples of Christ (Christian Hymns, 1947), her support of the Union School of Sacred Music, and, of course, her and her brother’s (J. Irwin Miller’s) bequest that founded the Yale ISM, she showed her commitment to a mission that remains vitally important today: “We hope that, in this new Institute, the function of music and the arts in Christianity will receive new strength through the preparation and training of individual musicians, artists, and teachers who understand their calling in broad Christian terms not exclusively within the limits of their disciplines.”
And so we extend this invitation to you, our readers, to “receive new strength” and enjoy the breadth of vision reflected in the writing and media you will find here. The Review will offer you a window through which you will see some of the activities the ISM sponsors throughout the year. But even more, we believe you will find tools and insights that will help you in your work: as you accompany congregational song, unlock the Scriptures, celebrate the liturgy, minister to the sick, bring images to life through story, color, form, and verse. This is not a how-to manual; in fact, we hope it will complexify, rather than simplify, issues that you face for the sake of voices who are not easily heard in a world filled with the noise of the mp3’s, video games and television advertisers.
You will not find alumni news here, though you may hear from alumni. You will read work of faculty, but in a way that bears on practices of living communities of faith. And you will meet the many friends of the ISM who stand with you in the daily work you do to give hope, life, and health to those God places near you. Innovation will converse with tradition, practice with theory. As we do this work, we stand in the company of Christian communities across time and space, and we converse with our relations in every faith tradition.
As I invite you into this conversation, I do so with thanks for all those who have set the table: my faculty colleagues in the ISM who continue to shape the content, our beloved staff and editorial committee who support and nurture the process, and, of course to Rita Ferrone, our visionary and intrepid General Editor, who will be your primary guide through the material.
Though we reach out to you through the electrons we sometimes despise as a culture, we will savor the image of you reading these pages in your home or study, on the porch, under a neighbor’s tree, or at the altar of your parish. Pray for us as we prepare what we hope you will receive as a gift, and give us, in return, your thoughts and feedback as this publication continues to grow.
Enjoy — and may God bless you.
Director, Yale Institute of Sacred Music
November 19, 2014