Sam Young Retires from USA Editor of the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology


Carlton “Sam” R. Young, FHS, stepped down at the end of 2017 after five and one-half years as the USA Editor for the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (CDH). Visit the CDH site home page and you will note that he has been designated “Emeritus USA Editor.” Sam assumed this position in 2011 following the departure of Hymn Society member, the late Bert Polman (1945-2013). Sam engaged 46 writers to prepare hundreds of articles including biographies (or “bios” as Sam calls them), hymn studies, entries on USA denominational hymnody, and topical articles. His modest designation “CY” appears at the end of approximately 400 articles and this does not include his editorial imprint on many more. Those who attended the New Orleans Conference in 2015 were treated to a plenary on Sam’s work with the CDH, unforgettable for its comprehensiveness and humor! At 89, he may be the most senior plenary speaker in the history of The Hymn Society! [A synopsis of this presentation (some jokes included) is available at “The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (CDH): Past, Present, Future” The Hymn. 67:4 (Autumn 2016), 10-27.]

Of particular note are some of the more creative topical entries that Dr. Young commissioned, taking the CDH beyond an updated version of John Julian’s A Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, 1907) to a true 21st century comprehensive tool on all facets of congregational song. In case you haven’t yet read these, you are missing some valuable insights on the nature of congregational song. Most of these entries are written by Hymn Society members:

Aesthetics and theology in congregational song (Don E. Saliers)

African American spiritual/African American hymnals (Melva Wilson Costen, FHS)

American Bass Viol (Clark Kimberling)

Asian and Asian American hymns in USA hymnals (Swee Hong Lim)

Braille hymns and hymnals, USA (Philip Mitchell)

Children’s hymnody, USA (Robin Knowles Wallace)

Chinese Christian Hymnody (Fang-Lan Hsieh)

Choirs and hymns in the USA (John Ferguson)

Christian popular music, USA (Monique M. Ingalls, Andrew Mall, Anna E. Nekola)

Composers of hymn tunes (Nicholas Temperley, FHS)

Craft of composing hymn tunes (Swee Hong Lim)

Craft of writing hymn texts (John Thornburg, FHS)

Feminist hymnody (Janet Wooton)

Fisk Jubilee Singers (Sandra Jean Graham)

Jazz and Congregational Song (Daniel C. Damon, FHS, and Eileen M. Johnson)

Jewish hymns and hymnody, USA (Anne Bagnall Yardley)

Latin American hymnody, USA (Diana Sanchez-Bushong)

Malotte’s Lord’s Prayer (Clark Kimberling)

Mission hymnody (USA) (Richard S. Mauney)

Native American/First Nations Peoples of North America: their Christian Hymns (S T Kimbrough, Jr.)

Organs and USA hymnody (Benjamin A. Kolodziej)

Publishing and publishers, USA (David W. Music, FHS, with Paul A. Richardson, FHS)

Social Gospel hymnody, USA (Eileen M. Johnson and Daniel C. Damon, FHS)

Teaching hymnody (Carol A. Doran)

The Internet and Congregational Song (Tina M. Schneider, C. Michael Hawn, FHS)

USA hymnody, music (David W. Music, FHS)

Vatican II and its influence on USA hymns and hymnals (Don E. Saliers)

Sam also added entries on significant church music organizations and publishers:

American Guild of Organists (Brian Wentzel)

Choristers Guild (Carol Doran)

Church Music Publishers Association (CY, FHS)

Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts  (Laura Jaquith Bartlett and David L. Bone)

GIA Publications, Inc. (Michael Silhavy)

Gospel Music Association (GMA) (Stephen Shearon)

Montreat Conferences on Worship and Music (William McConnell)

Lutheran Society for Worship, Music and the Arts, USA (Josh and Sally Messner)

National Association of Pastoral Musicians (USA) (Thomas Strickland)

North American Academy of Liturgy (Gilbert Ostdiek)

Presbyterian Association of Musicians, USA (William McConnell)

Ruebush-Kieffer Company, USA (Daniel Landes)

The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (Deborah Carlton Loftis, FHS)

World Library of Sacred Music (Alan J. Hommerding and Betty Zins Reiber)

In addition, entries were commissioned on hymnological research and major USA hymnological collections and programs in church music.

Benson Collection, Princeton Seminary (Kenneth Woodrow Henke)

Boston University School of Theology Library, hymnological collections (Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS)

Dictionary of North American Hymnology (Tina M. Schneider)

Drew University Hymnological Collection (Christopher J. Anderson)

Duke Divinity School Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition (Randy L. Maddox)

Emory University Hymnody Collection (Harry Eskew, FHS)

History of hymns (C. Michael Hawn, FHS)

Hymnal collections, USA (Tina M. Schneider)

Hymnological research in the USA (Paul A. Richardson, FHS)

Hymntune Index and Related Hymn Materials (Clark Kimberling)

Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (CMH, CY)

School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary (Paul Westermeyer, FHS)

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, School of Church Music (Paul A. Richardson, FHS)

Valparaiso University (Josh and Sally Messner)

Of course, entries on Methodist hymnody and the Wesleyan tradition were always close to his heart. See, for example, see his comprehensive entry on “John Wesley’s Collection of Psalms and Hymns (1737)” (CY).

Finally, Sam commissioned biographical entries on all of the Fellows of the Hymn Society!

As of the first of 2018, C. Michael Hawn, FHS, has been designated to assume the role of USA editor for CDH. Building on the extensive foundation that Sam has offered and in addition to a long list of potential entries passed on to him, Michael will be focusing initially on biographies of recent USA tune and text writers with the help of The Hymn Society’s Emerging Scholars. With the assistance of James Abbington, FHS, further entries on African American Spirituals and composers, especially those in the Pentecostal traditions, are being planned. Finally, Spanish-language hymnwriters in the USA will also be a priority in the next few years. Suggestions for future entries are welcome from Hymn Society members.

Kudos to Carlton R. Young for unparalleled service to the cause of congregational song.

Professor J.R. (‘Dick’) Watson, FHS, the co-editor of the CDH, has written about him with admiration and gratitude in a short poem for Sam’s 90th birthday in 2016. It was published by the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Two stanzas were:

Inextinguishable Sam,
Play it through sun and rain:
No longer Carlton Raymond Young
But Sam (as if born again):

Play on, play on, as we salute
Your ninety years of art;
Share with us all the truth you’ve found,
The music of the heart.

The last line refers to the title of one of Sam’s most valuable books, Music of the Heart. John & Charles Wesley on Music and Musicians (1995).

A second, perhaps less artful, tribute to Sam in hymnic form on the occasion of his 90th birthday may be found at this link.

Amazing Sam


Meter: (often, but not always)

Rhyme: abcb (usually)

With apologies to John Newton (and maybe others)

Amazing Sam, the Meth’dist Muse,

We sing, “And can it be. . .”

To one with such a youthful heart,

Who’s still a young ninety!

‘Twas Sam who taught our hearts to sing

In church each Sunday morn;

No matter how the sermon went,

We’d leave with hearts reborn.

In many styles of music he

Composes every day;

Broadway, polka, pop, folk or jazz –

From praise to kyrie.

Through many hymnals he has come,

And Meth’dist meetings too;

His singing keeps us going strong;

And song will see us through.

The Lord has promised good to Sam;

His wit and irony

Are equaled only by his gifts

And great longevity.

Sam’s students number scores and scores;

They are his joy and pride;

They keep the church’s voice in tune –

A legacy worldwide.

When we’ve been there 10,000 years,

With Charles and John we’ll sing;

It’s Sam who’ll lead the Wesleys’ hymns

And really make them swing.

Michael Hawn, F.H.S, D.M.A, D.A.M

March 30, 2016 (crossing the causeway from Singapore into Malaysia)

For mere mortals, Sam’s contributions to the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology would represent a lifetime of work. But for Sam, CDH is just a snapshot among his many publications, compositions, professorial posts, and editorial projects. For more information on Dr. Young, see his CDH entry – “Young, Carlton Raymond (“Sam”)” – of course.