This Is Amazing Grace
This Is Amazing Grace
31 March 2017
By Kimberley Douglass
FourHymn is a recently formed group of four young Salvationists from The Salvation Army Regent Hall, London, who express their faith through music.
Nick Hampton, Nathanael Watchorn, Joe Rose and Karl Westwood have been dubbed the first Salvation Army boy-band, and made their debut at the 2015 Expressions concert as a part of Regent Hall’s Brass Arts Festival.
They were only scheduled for this single concert, however, after an incredible reception, the group received numerous invites and FourHymn continued.
Through their music, FourHymn seeks to minister and bring God’s word to people, doing all things “For Him”. They recently released their debut album, This is Amazing Grace.
The album derives its name from the title track, which is an arrangement of the popular contemporary worship song. On the album, guitars, drums and a host of other instruments from the brass, strings and wind families accompany the rich vocals with great musicianship.
The album contains an array of traditional and contemporary titles, with new arrangements of songs by well-known musicians, such as John Gowans and John Larsson, Phil Laeger, and Gloria Gaither.
The group demonstrates sensitivity to the familiarity that comes from the older titles while presenting them in a new musical context to engage a more modern audience.
Karl says that he is “passionate about constantly pushing the boundaries of Salvation Army music. We have such a rich history of Salvation Army music, and it’s something to be proud of.
I feel that by fusing old and new tunes together, we can reach new audiences while still catering for our past generations.” Whilst listening to the album, I discovered that each track has an element of the unexpected. For example, in the track This is Amazing Grace, a musical phrase normally covered by instrumentation is instead sung by the vocalists, capturing the listener’s attention.
A highlight of the album is the way FourHymn shares the melody between the vocalists, and then adds rich harmonies to create depth of sound. The wide range of instrumentation throughout the album also reflects the current movement towards combined expressions of worship in Salvation Army corps with multiple musical sections.
FourHymn demonstrates the possibilities afforded by the combination of sections and is an encouragement to Salvationist musicians who have a vision for similar expressions in their own corps.