Amish Church Singing: Ancient Chants
Back in 2015, I shared two posts about sacred chants from around the world. They were inspired by listening to Amish Church Singing, which took me back to those long ago days when I used to sit in an Amish church service and feel transported to both the ancient past and to the future. Because the tunes are slow, unaccompanied by instruments, and joined by nearly everyone, the chorus of varied voices has depth to it — the kind that allows for deep thoughts, even while joining in with the singing. I felt connected to my ancestors back in the Old Country, where they often sang these songs while imprisoned for their religious beliefs. They sang together from separate cells as a means of staying connected.
These songs also gave me the feeling that the culture was going to be like this for many generations, because change was so slow, it was nearly imperceptible. I used to feel connected to other Amish everywhere during the second song called the Loblied (Praise Song), because I knew that in every other Amish church service in our time zone, they were singing the same song. I wondered what would be like to hear them altogether, as I imagined it would be heard in heaven.
Here are three excerpts of these Amish chants. Click on the audio links to hear them.
The Loblied “Praise Song” is the second song of every Amish church service. It was written by the early Anabaptists, back in Switzerlend. It can be found on page 770 of the German song book called the Ausbund. I took this photo from one of the towers in the Castle Thun, in the Emmenthal Valley of Switzerland, where some of the early Anabaptists were imprisoned for their faith during the Protestant Reformation movement.
This is a farewell song called Lebt Friedsam (live peaceably) and is found on page 786 of the Ausbund. The photo is of my mother’s funeral procession.
This song is found on page 46 of the Ausbund. I took this photo in the Amish church building in Sarasota, Florida.
All photos on this page by Saloma Miller Furlong.