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Idol Chatter

mary%20donnelly%20haskell.jpgSinger Mary Donnelly Haskell has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the pre-inaugural gala for President George W. Bush, and aboard the presidential yacht, Sequoia. The president certainly likes her music. And if you’re a fan of hymns done the old way, you’ll like Haskell too, especially her latest CD, “Power of the Cross” with the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
In a time when many post-modern artists are putting a new spin on classic hymns, Haskell keeps it simple and restrained. For the time-honored classics, such as “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” you could close your eyes and imagine yourself in your denominational or traditional church, enjoying the soloist and choir while the offering is being taken. She also does newer hymns, such the title track “The Power of the Cross” as well as a medley including “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
By far the most powerful and successful collaboration with the orchestra is “In Christ Alone,” which feels big enough to fill an arena. Several other songs are underdone enough that you almost wish she’d of given just a little bit more. But I suppose that’s the point, and anyone who loves “hymns the way they’re supposed to be” will love these tracks.
Haskell does the final song sans the orchestra, truly creating the feel of the Sunday night service or an old-time gospel hour. If that’s your thing, then this is your album. You’ll also be able to see her this summer on television networks this summer and in larger churches in the fall. If there’s a movement in your house of worship to bring back the old hymns, these tracks will certainly contribute to it.

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