The postlude following a service makes creation resound with praise and allows the congregation to leave the church proclaiming God’s greatness. As the signal for the congregation to disperse, it should be a stirring exclamation point to the service that connects the worship experience to the secular world to which the crowd of people is about to return.
What makes a perfect postlude? Mark Hayes answers this question with his new collection, Perfect Postludes: Hymns and Spirituals to Close the Service, which contains the following ten selections:
- Jesus Shall Reign
- I’m Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing
- Joyful Day
- Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
- O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
- I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
- To God Be the Glory
- Noble March
- Lead On, O King Eternal
- They’ll Know We Are Christians
Here Hayes himself describes his collection and what makes it so useful for today’s church pianist:
Choosing a postlude can be difficult at times because we are playing “going out” or “exit” music. Should it be stately or lively, peaceful or joyful? Whatever you choose, I hope you will find some new favorites in Perfect Postludes.
I have chosen well-known hymns and lively spirituals. Each piece grabs your attention from the very first measure as if to say, “Go forth in joy!” I’ve included two new compositions, “Noble March” and “Joyful Day,” that are perfect for processing or recessing. All the compositions are on the short side, with a few just over three minutes and many less than that. I hope you’ll find all the pieces useable at any time during worship, not just as “going forth” music.
How wonderful that we, as church pianists, get to send our congregants on their way with a spirit of joy and praise!
You can listen to two of the hymns, “Joyful Day” and “Lead On, O King Eternal,” with the score here: