Today, I have launched a site that aims to assist Latter-Day Saints in Latin America by providing “pre canned” organ accompaniment to the hymns in the Spanish Hymnbook.
As a convert from Talcahuano, Chile, and after serving my mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I have made the following observations about the state of hymn singing in Latin America:
- Instruments are not adequate: Most buildings have small, table top Casio or Roland keyboards. Stake centers may have either an upright piano, or a Yamaha Clavinova, which has become a church standard in Latin America for the past decade.
- Lack of players: It is very difficult to find members who can play a keyboard instrument and read music, let alone professional performers.
- Use of CD tracks to accompany congregational singing: In many occasions, during my mission and in my home country, I observed the practice of using the recordings of the hymns (string quartet and piano) played through the building’s PA system in order to provide accompaniment for the congregation as they sang the hymns.
The project’s objective is to provide organ accompaniment for the hymns in the Spanish Hymnbook, that the Saints can use to accompany congregational singing during church meetings. In order to use these recordings, the music director would have to download the file, and play it through the church’s PA system, or other capable equipment via a portable digital player, or burn the track to a CD, which can in turn be reproduced on any available CD player.
For years, members of the LDS church in Latin America have been largely deprived of the wonderful blessing of singing along with good organ accompaniment. I hope that these accompaniments can be used by the Saints in Latin America, under the direction of their Priesthood leaders, to enhance the singing of the hymns of Zion in their meetings so that they may experience the heavenly manifestations that can occur when the Saints become “of one heart and one mind”.
The website for “Projecto Himnos” is: himnos.felipedominguez.net
New hymn accompaniments will be published every other week or so, until all the hymns of the “Himnario en Español” are available.