Grace College Worship Arts Professor Dr. Wally Brath Releases Album on the Psalms
Dr. Wally Brath, director of the worship arts program at Grace College, has announced the release of his latest recording project, an album entitled “Connexion: A Jazz Psalter.” A record release open house will be held Sunday, Dec. 3, from 4-6 p.m. in the worship arts facility in the lower level of the William Male Center at 999 College Avenue, Winona Lake. The event is free and open to the public.
The album contains nine songs and features several professional musicians. Recorded in April of 2023 in the Oktaven Studios in Yonkers, New York, the album features Brath on piano, Nikki Lerner on vocals, John Patitucci on bass, Adam Cruz on drums, David Lerner on drums, Alex Norris on trumpet and Jimmy Green on sax. Ryan Streber served as the album’s sound engineer.
“I grew up in a religious tradition that didn’t feature the Psalms regularly,” said Brath. “I became increasingly intrigued with the Psalms and desired to incorporate them more into worship and my personal spiritual life.”
Brath wrote most of the songs during the pandemic of 2020 and then introduced many of them in October of 2021 in a public vespers service. This past spring, Brath took a sabbatical from his teaching duties to complete the writing and recording for the project.
Brath has several goals in mind for the project.
“First, I wanted the Psalm settings to be accessible for the people of God in public worship,” he said. “The melodies themselves are singable and could be taught to a congregation. The second goal was to have a variety of presentations. A few of the Psalm melodies I wrote are more strophic, or hymn-like, in nature. Others have verses that are sung by the song leader, and then the congregation joins in on a simpler chorus or antiphon. The third goal was that I wanted the Psalms to stand alone as something beautiful to listen to and enhance one’s personal devotional time. Therefore, the album is alive with jazz harmonies and rhythms, and orchestrations with strings and horns.”
Dr. Wally Brath has traveled internationally as a worship leader, musician and educator. After earning a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, he earned a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from Liberty University and a Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Dr. Brath is a member of the Society of Ethnomusicologists (SEM) and the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE).
In 2016, Dr. Brath launched the worship arts program at Grace College and Seminary, where he currently teaches. Brath and his wife, Shana, live in Warsaw, Indiana, with their three children, frequently performing together in church and the community.
“Connexion: A Jazz Psalter” may be purchased as a vinyl LP or CD at wallybrath.com. The Vinyl album is $35, and the CD is $15.
To learn more about the worship arts program at Grace, which recently introduced a new concentration for the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, visit www.grace.edu/programs/