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Oklahoma Christian University is a private university associated with the Churches of Christ, located in north Oklahoma City. All students, faculty, and staff meet every weekday at 11:00 for daily chapel. Generally, all chapel participants meet together in Hardeman Auditorium. Most days there are also optional, smaller, “chapels” that meet at other locations for some specific purpose.
Great Songs Chapel
Great Songs Chapel meets every Friday from 11:00 – 11:20 in Judd Theater, on the OC campus. This special chapel met for the first time on October 23, 2009. On that day we sang the following songs:
It has become a weekly tradition since that date.
The purpose of Great Songs Chapel, or GSC, is to give participants an opportunity to sing some of the greatest songs that have ever been written for the purpose of praise and worship to God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As a rule, the songs selected for GSC will have been written prior to 1950. Many are over 100 years old, and some were first sung hundreds of years ago. We think that for a song to be considered a great song, it must have stood the test of time. Many of the newer songs we sing today may eventually achieve “Great Songs” status.
On a typical day, anywhere from 225 – 275 students, faculty, and staff members will come together to sing the selected songs. Few in this group have any formal training, but all love to sing these great songs. We continue to be amazed at the way a completely self selected group can blend together and make such beautiful music, with no rehearsal or practice.
A Cappella Singing
One of the practices in most of the Churches of Christ is a cappella singing – or singing without use of pianos, organs, or other musical instruments. A cappella means “in the style of the chapel.” Although we play instruments in other settings, it is our belief that since there is no record of early Christians using instruments in worship, it is better that we follow the same practice. We think this only enhances the quality of our singing. Most of these songs have parts for four voices – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.
Beginning in January 2010, we started to record GSC. As of October 2010, we have about 90 recorded songs, and we add about 5 new songs each week.
When you listen to these recordings you will be hearing a live recording in a somewhat uncontrolled environment. You will sometimes hear doors closing or other extraneous sounds. From time to time there is coughing and throat clearing. The songs are being sung without any rehearsal. Because many of these songs are not sung frequently today, the participants sometimes struggle with timing or rhythms. Many of the students are sight reading as they sing a song for the very first time.
That being said, you will probably be amazed that these recordings sound as good as they do. We think you will be inspired to hear the OC community singing these great songs with such enthusiasm and ability.
We want to give special thanks to James Tackett and the Paperless Hymnal. His very generous gift of resources from the Paperless Hymnal has made this effort a much better experience than it would have been otherwise. We highly recommend the Paperless Hymnal to any group wanting to sing Christian hymns and songs without the use of paper copies or books.