Thomas Murray

Editor’s Note: Leading and enhancing congregational singing is an art to which the organ is exquisitely well-suited, when played in ways sensitive to the particularities of the text and the needs of the singing assembly. In the videos below, organist Thomas Murray walks us through some foundational issues in preparing to play a hymn. Each video concludes with the hymn played and sung through with choir and congregation at a Sunday liturgy at Christ Church, New Haven.*

O Bless the Lord My Soul (Click title for hymn PDF) #411 in The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal)

“O Ye Immortal Throng of Angels Round the Throne” (Croft’s 136th) #284 in The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal)

Production Credits

  • Sachin Ramabhadran, producer/editor
  • Jeff Hoyt, director of photography
  • Mateusz Zechowski, audio recordist

*The organ at Christ Church is the William G. Kibitz Memorial Organ,  built in 2005 by Lively-Fulcher Pipe Organ Builders. The 59 stop, 63 rank, and 3752 pipe instrument is named in honor of Fr. William Kibitz, the eighth rector of Christ Church, who served from 1950-1978. The organ specifications are online here.

Thomas Murray is the Yale University Organist, serving on the faculty at the School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music. His performing career has taken him all over the world. The American Guild of Organists named him International Performer of the Year in 1986, and the Royal College of Organists in England awarded him an FRCO diploma honoris causa in 2003. In 2007 the Yale School of Music awarded him the Gustave Stoeckel Award for excellence in teaching. He is artist-in-residence and principal organist at Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven.


This material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Recommended Citation: Murray, Thomas. (2014) “Preparing a Hymn 1,” The Yale ISM Review: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 15a. Available at:

Recommended Citation: Murray, Thomas. (2014) “Preparing a Hymn 2,” The Yale ISM Review: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 15b. Available at:

View article as a PDF: Preparing a Hymn-Thomas Murray

Cover of Yale ISM Review Volume 1.1 Fall 2014

Publisher’s Welcome

In This Issue

On the Cover

[If I could write a cry]

Song Whose Beauty Deepens Prayer

The Body That Sings

Sacred Folk Song

Work Songs

Great Art and a People’s Music

Psalm Singing in Roman Catholic Liturgy

All of Life Can Be Sung

Canticle of the Sun II

The River of Life


Preparing a Hymn

Acoustic Challenges in Worship-Space Design

International Adoption Agents

Have Hymnals Become Dinosaurs?

[It may be Lord our voice is suited now]