The author


Cliff Ganus earned a B.A. in music from Harding College, an M.M.E. in music education from North Texas State University, and a D.M.A. in choral performance and literature from the University of Colorado.


He taught for one year at Ohio Valley College in West Virginia, and for fifty-two years

at Harding University, retiring in 2020. In addition to directing choral and show choir ensembles, he taught a number of

classroom subjects, most notably music history, music appreciation, and hymnology. His ensembles have performed in forty-two countries, and he has taught at four of Harding’s overseas campuses.


He is married to Dr. Debbie Ganus, a Licensed Professional Counselor. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

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The book

Growing up in a Church of Christ community, my views about what type of congregational music was proper, what was forbidden, and what was suspicious were shaped early.


Those initial conclusions have been, and are being, reshaped by a lifetime of experiences and study, including visiting with various congregations and denominations in scores of countries; engaging with worship leaders through the Music in Worship activities of the American Choral Directors Association; planning worship services for years as a song leader of the College Church of Christ; directing a collegiate choir for over fifty years and interacting with its singers as they performed, learned, worshipped, and celebrated; developing an intense interest in understanding the history of the church; and teaching a hymnology class for over thirty years at Harding University.


This book is a product of those activities. In addition to providing an overview of the history of congregational singing, its intent is to encourage the reader to honestly and critically consider what Christian song does for those who participate in and are affected by it.

Resource hymnal

Throughout the book there are references to song numbers in Praise for the Lord (Praise Press, Nashville), a hymnal with an ecumenical flavor primarily marketed to Churches of Christ. Although the hymns mentioned in the text are found in many standard collections, using Praise for the Lord as a resource is recommended. A Short History of Congregational Singing and Praise for the Lord are both available through the Harding University Bookstore.

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