The Promise Songbook is well named. In listening to the latest release from this ever-evolving Avondale College of Higher Education vocal ensemble, one feels granted an opening into the true heart of The Promise’s mission: a pursuit of musical excellence and a deep commitment to share the message of Jesus.
The album is also a return to the style of the ensemble’s earlier releases following a collaboration with Avondale Jazz Ensemble in 2014. While Jesus: HIStory featured full instrumental backing and a single composer and arranger (Avondale Jazz Ensemble Director David Pudney), The Promise Songbook is almost entirely unaccompanied. The sole exception: the second part of Pudney’s musical arrangement of 2 Peter 3:8-9, the Bible passage from which The Promise takes its name and mission. Finding a setting of this passage at the heart of the album is a fine touch.
Recorded again in the Morisset Hospital Memorial Chapel, the live acoustics suit The Promise Songbook. The album opens with the lovely “Ego Sum Panis.” Arranged especially for The Promise, this is the first in a set of musically complex tracks that are perhaps more technical than on previous albums. This highlights not only the growing maturity of the ensemble but also its personal connection to each song.
Even though these range from a 300-year-old Bach chorale to freshly premiered works, the album is cohesive. The highlights: two songs by Keith Kirk, “Saints, Are You Ready To Go?” and “Surely The Lord Has Been Here.” Both are sung with the conviction and the competence The Promise has been showcasing for the past 12 years.
Purchase The Promise Songbook
The Promise Songbook is available from the Avondale Online Store.Avondale Online Store