Joyful Noise are a new British group who write contemporary Christian songs and hymns. Brothers Tom and Sam Brewster tell us how it all began and how it could be a great resource for schools.
Hi Tom and Sam, tell us about yourselves.
We’re brothers- Tom holds a music ministry post at St Mary’s Church Maidenhead, and Sam is a Church of England vicar who has recently established and now leads a new congregation in Henley-on-Thames. Both of us are keen musicians, and have done lots of playing and writing together over the years.
What is Joyful Noise and why did you set it up?
A number of years ago we started writing Christian songs and hymns together, really just as a hobby. In April 2020, we connected with a number of other Christian musicians who were keen to see a number of these songs recorded for the wider church. This was the birth of ‘Joyful Noise’: a collective of people around the country with the same passion to good contemporary songs for congregational singing. Our goal is to write songs ‘from the word, to the heart, for the church’.
How is Joyful Noise a great resource for schools too?
We hope that these songs could be a good resource where-ever collective singing takes place- which happens in school as well as in churches. The music is designed to be simple for a group of people to sing, and the lyrics seek to be Biblical and engaging.
In what specific ways could Chaplains or Christian teachers use Joyful Noise?
The songs could be well used to complement more traditional repertoire for assemblies or chapel services, either by the whole school, or performed by a school choir (‘Your cross O Lord’, and ‘Comfort and Joy’ would work particularly well for a choir at Christmas or Easter). The music could also be used more informally in the context of a school Christian meeting.
What do you think are the benefits of communal singing at school (in Chapel etc.) today?
Collective singing can unite a group of people together and therefore have a very positive impact on the unity of a school. Singing good hymns also takes truths from God’s word and puts them into our hearts. Young people will remember the lyrics of favourite hymns long after the details of their chapel talks and sermons have faded.
Tell us about one of your songs which you think might particularly resonate with pupils currently…
‘No Greater Hope’ is a song we wrote over Easter 2020, just as the Pandemic was hitting the world. Young people who are struggling to find an anchor in life need to know that there is a hope beyond their circumstances. This song points to the fact that there is no greater hope than the resurrection of Jesus.