History of Acappella Singing

For the first 1000 years of Christianity, all hymns in the church were sung without instrumental accompaniment. This style of singing came to be known as acappella (also spelled a cappella), meaning, "of the church" or "in the style of the church."

Song-Sheet.jpg As you have no doubt discovered, good acappella music is difficult to find in most Christian bookstores these days. That's why we've decided to begin carrying a good selection of acappella music ourselves. To begin with, we carry a wonderful CD containing the oldest Christian music, chant, as well as several CDs featuring the heavenly acappella music composed during or closely after the Renaissance. This church music composed around the time of the Renaissance is arguably the most beautiful Christian music ever written.

A number of vocal groups continue to sing acappella hymns and praise songs today. We have picked our four favorite acappella vocal groups to feature in our on-line catalog.

The first group, Hallal, is in our opinion the finest acappella contemporary Christian worship singers around today. Their arrangements (and many of their songs) are all original. Although their style is contemporary, it is also quite conservative. The arrangements of their first five CDs are a bit more traditional than those of their last seven. Their CDs are listed in chronological order below.

HardingUniv.gif For our listeners who prefer more traditional arrangements, we carry the recordings of the Harding University Concert Choir—one of the finest Christian acappella choirs in the world. Not only is the music of the Harding University Concert Choir beautiful and flawless, but their CDs are an extremely good value. That's because they typically contain twice as many hymns or gospel songs as do most CDs.

One of the best traditional acappella chorales we have heard is Altar of Praise Chorale. They sing primarily hymns of the 19th and early 20th century, masterfully crafted in traditional arrangements. They are very talented and professional, without being commercial. All of their recordings are masterfully mixed and produced.

Acappella singing is still very strong among conservative Mennonite and Amish churches. There are quite a number of Mennonite and Amish singing groups made up of extended families. One of the best of these family groups we've heard is the Smucker Family singers. They, too, sing primarily familiar hymns sung in traditional arrangements.

To see a complete song list for each CD, simply click on the picture or the title of that CD.