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Sacrament Meeting and Hymn Tracking forms
Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:10 am
Over the years of service in various music callings and bishoprics, I have developed and refined some spreadsheets that track hymns and sacrament meeting items. I am attaching them as Excel spreadsheets (though I did most of the original work in Quattro Pro, if anyone wants those versions).
Some explanatory notes:
The purpose of the Sacrament Meeting Tracking form is to help the bishopric plan future sacrament meetings by being able to see at a glance (1) what Sundays they have to prepare for, and (2) who has done what recently so that we don't call on the STP's (same ten people) to speak and pray. At the end of the year, a completed version of this sheet is printed for quick reference and placed with the conducting sheets for that year sort of as an index.
Also in our unit we have a team of 4 choristers and 4 organists to share the load. That way each organist and chorister does a sacrament meeting only about once a month. This might not apply to your unit, so you may not need those columns.
The hymn tracking sheet is designed so that you can type in the hymn number, and the title fills itself in. I usually forward this spreadsheet to the ward music chairman so they can use it in selecting hymns.
In my prior unit, we had a Spanish sacrament meeting separate from the English sacrament meeting (we didn't have quite enough at that time to make a Spanish branch or even a dependent Spanish branch). The Spanish hymn tracking sheet is designed so that the English hymn number is entered into the first column, and then the Spanish hymn number and title fill themselves in in the remaining columns. Hymns that appear only in the Spanish hymnal (there are 15 of them) are numbered consecutively starting as English hymn number 401.
Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:32 pm
Cool spreadsheet! When I had the calling of ward music chairman, I also considered the meter and how interesting and challenging each part was. Altos & basses generally like to sing at least one hymn per sacrament meeting where the parts move some. It can also be helpful to be aware of easier alternate hymns for days when our best accompanists are not available. Also, some bishops prefer switching the closing hymn to one of our short ones when the meeting runs long.
Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:33 pm
scion wrote:Also, some bishops prefer switching the closing hymn to one of our short ones when the meeting runs long.
Something I'd like to see is a chart that shows the length of various hymns. Just something that gives the planner some ideas of how long it will take. The ending of Ward Conference is probably not the time for all verses of those long ones.
Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:33 pm
The back cover of the hymn audio cassettes had times (some were rather slow). I presume that the DVD versions do, too. One bishopric that I had insisted that all verses be sung, but would readily switch hymns to end the meeting on time. Others cut verses by announcing which verses to sing at the pulpit. For the most part, the congregation really doesn't pay attention to such announcements, but get their cues from the chorister and accompanist. Sometimes either the accompanist or I did not catch the change, so we weren't on the same page.
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:29 pm
scion wrote:One bishopric that I had insisted that all verses be sung, but would readily switch hymns to end the meeting on time. Others cut verses by announcing which verses to sing at the pulpit.
The whole switching hymns at the last minute, especially mid-meeting
, just rubs me the wrong way. It reeks of poor planning, poor instruction, and poor management, especially when it has become frequent practice instead of the rare exception. Most of the units I have been in outside of Utah would rarely consider doing such a thing primarily because the music talent is much more sparse. Your organist or pianist may have had to practice all week (or more) for the selected hymns, and to switch them at the last minute on such a person is just not right.
When I was Ward Music Director
, if we sang more or less than the standard verses, I would let the organist play the introduction to the hymn, and then have them stop an wait while I quickly announced the verses (e.g. "We will sing all seven verses," or "We will sing verse one and two"}. That way almost everybody got the message, and there were fewer awkward surprises.
If speakers are regularly going over time, then the person presiding needs to kindly and gently intervene and regain control of the meeting. In one unit I was in, the bishop had learned that by instructing speakers to prepare a 10 to 12 minute talk we usually ended up with the meeting ending on time.
Many times we too frequently do not respect people's time by letting meetings run over time. I have reminded leaders that General Conference always begins on time and ends on time or earlier. If they can do it, they we can do it too with our sacrament meeting speakers, Sunday school lessons, and weekday activities.
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:29 pm
jbh001 wrote:The whole switching hymns at the last minute just rubs me the wrong way. It reeks of poor planning, poor instruction, and poor management, especially when it has become frequent practice instead of the rare exception. Most of the units I have been in outside of Utah would rarely consider doing such a thing primarily because the music talent is much more sparse. Your organist or pianist may have had to practice all week (or more) for the selected hymns, and to switch them at the last minute on such a person is just not right.
Well, not only that, but if the person selecting the hymns is really magnifying their calling, then they have prayerfully selected those specific hymns for that specific Sunday. They have the right to inspiration in that regard. Just read the introduction The Hymns
and you'll catch the true spirit of why they are a part of our worship services.
Anyways, I digress...
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:33 am
Usually, when I see a hymn changed, it was because either the speaker requested it, or a more appropriate one was found. Either way, it was quite rare.
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:25 pm
There used to be a CES Symposium presentation on the ldsces.org site that I have a hard copy of, that was one page, and it not only had the hymns categoriezed by the major topics you see on the contents page, but they also had it broken down, displayed via a table, by more specific topics within the broader categories. This one was fascinating, in that it showed you just how complete the present hymnbook is at present when it comes to finding the right hymn for the right topic pretty much on demand.
The document is now only available to CES people who have a login on ldsces.org, I think.
If any of you would like to see the list, let me know, I can type it in here, it's about 20 or so topics, can't remember if I counted the exact number.
Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:40 am
I would be interested in seeing it if it was it substantially different from the Topic index
in the current hymnal.
Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:51 am
I have a similar spreadsheet to track our speakers and music. It's sometimes difficult not to pick the same people to speak in sacrament meetings over and over, especially in a branch or small ward. When we plan speakers, I sort the spreadsheet by speaker name and date. You'll notice High Council speakers have "(HC)" before their names and visitors from the stake have "(Stake)"; that's to get them all sorted together and delete them to shorten the list just to people in our unit. The same holds true for people who've moved away.
I also have a MS Word file that uses the mail merge feature to take the spreadsheet and format it for our sacrament meeting agenda. There's a separate Word file for fast and testimony meetings. We type the announcements in the Word files and then scroll through the data to the appropriate week to get the speakers, topics and hymns. It only prints one page, for the given date in the merge field (not a page for every day in the spreadsheet.)
If you view the files, it expects the spreadsheet to be on a floppy disk in your A: drive. I did that so I can take it home and fill in speakers or music rather than be forced to do it at church. Having the announcements typed out is much easier to read from the pulpit than handwritten notes.