Singing the Songs of Zion
Soldiers' Hymn Collections and Hymn Singing
in the American Civil War

Mark D. Rhoads

"Every night the holy songs of Zion go up on this balmy spring air, a sweet incense, I think,
to the throne of the Eternal.
" Rev. William Hauser, chaplain of the 48th Georgia

Home | Soldier's Hymn Collections


Mark D. Rhoads

Much of my time from September to May is taken up with teaching in the music department at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. My main area of interest is sacred music and I teach the courses in that field. I have a special interest in American hymnody, especially the music reform movement in the American Protestant church in the early 19th century. But since Bethel is a liberal arts university, I wear other hats as well. I also teach music education methods courses along with a general education course in the arts. Before coming to Bethel University I taught choral and general music in a Los Angeles-area middle school and was a professor at Judson Baptist College in Oregon. I have been been active in church music for 40 years.

My undergraduate degree is from Biola University. I have a master's degree from California State University, Fullerton and a doctoral degree from the University of Oregon.

My interest in the American Civil War started in earnest after viewing the Ken Burns video series. The music of the civil war is the little corner of this fascinating piece of American history that interests me most. While I occasionally attend Civil War reenactments (in makeshift civilian dress), I'm not an ardent reenactor. For now I'm content to advise from the sidelines, to provide the results of my research to reenactors or anyone else who is interested.

When I'm not engaged in teaching or research, I'm writing poetry or hymns or gardening or repairing antique wicker furniture or learning another bluegrass lick on my guitar. My latest adventure is leaning to play fretless, gut-string, mid-19th banjo from a method book published in 1855. My wife and I have three grown daughters and six grandsons.



Anthology of American Hymn Tunes

Amazing Grace: Some Early Tunes

Connecting Ritual and Worship (pdf)

Reformers and Resisters: Changing Tastes in American Protestant Church Music, 1800-1860 (pdf)

Mark D. Rhoads
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul MN 55112