Hymns of Worship and Precious Memories, sung by Prairie Choristers ★★★
First of all, I love these songs. I grew up with them. The Zion’s Harp is the songbook of the Apostolic Christian Church, a small Amish-Mennonite type church that was my church for the first 25 years of my life. The hymns that are sung are absolutely beautiful and taken from mostly the German heritage of the church fathers. The ACC split in the early 20th century, and these songs are performed by a mid-west group by the split side that I attended before at 13, which was when my parents then switched to the other “side”. On that side, church singing was entirely acapella, though they often used the piano in their homes. These songs are technically well performed. The recordings do not have a good balance, and the men’s voices are very difficult to hear, even when they are soloing. Another nuance that is disturbing about these performances is their overt technical accuracy, while entirely missing the emotion or spirit of what they are singing about. They rarely ever change their volume or tempo, and one could perform them to a metronome. I realize that the performers probably feel very strongly about the words of these songs, and yet these recordings show a complete absence of that warmth or love for the object of their song. So, only three stars.