Meet Keith & Kristyn Getty

Keith and Kristyn Getty have been at the forefront of the modern hymn movement over the past decade demonstrating the ability to successfully bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary.

Keith and Kristyn Getty are currently living in the United States where they have released their second album together "Awaken the Dawn," a collection of hymns that takes you on a lyrical journey of grace and hope for all the nations. This follows their first collection of hymns, the successful 2006 release "In Christ Alone."

Whether on a recording or leading worship with a congregation, Kristyn's lilting, crystal-clear voice is an ideal contrast to Keith's richly melodic piano arrangements and accompaniment. An acclaimed soloist in her own right, Kristyn began singing in her family's church in Northern Ireland - a congregation her father helped plant - as a teen. Today she is both an accomplished songwriter and artist, having penned children's musicals and been featured with Christian music's Margaret Becker and Celtic artist Joanne Hogg on the New Irish Hymns series, among her diverse credits. However, since her marriage to Keith two years ago, the plight and power of the modern hymn has won Kristyn's heart too, and she's equally dedicated to reviving the art alongside her husband.

A multi-talented instrumentalist and composer, Keith first learned to play guitar, but later began to study flute which included a summer masterclass under renowned Irish flautist Sir James Galway. Ironically, it was Keith's piano - not flute - arrangements that most intrigued Galway and helped open the world of the music industry to him. Keith has since orchestrated and arranged more than 200 projects for recordings, concerts, theater, television and film, including arrangements for Michael W. Smith's 2004 Healing Rain album, as well as producing and composing (with Kristyn) various projects for the internationally renowned African Children's Choir.

Though he was raised in a Christian home in Northern Ireland, it was ultimately a yearlong study of the life of Christ during his time at university that affirmed and crystallized Keith's faith. Since then, he has carried a passion to communicate the basic tenets of Christianity through music in a universally appealing way. Now, after several years in various aspects of the entertainment industry, Keith has returned to his roots to use his gifts for the benefit of the Church.

"I was challenged by a pastor in Belfast to perhaps try and bring some of what the old hymns of the faith had brought to the Church through the centuries to the contemporary Church," Keith remembers. "I didn't set out to create the modern hymn. I wanted to write songs that contemporary, traditional and liturgical churches could all use."

"There are two reasons we write modern hymns," explains Keith. "First, it's to help teach the faith. What we sing affects how we think, how we feel and ultimately how we live, so it's so important that we sing the whole scope of truth the Bible has given us. The second reason is to try to create a more timeless musical style that every generation can sing, a style that relates to the past and the future."

"Our hope is not in ourselves, it's in Christ," Kristyn says of their purpose. "We want music for the Church to be able to lift us beyond our circumstances and become a plumb line for bringing all of our life experiences to the Truth."

"In the Church, the purpose of singing is to express the community we have as the Body of Christ," his wife, Kristyn, adds. "To try to search for the melodic ideas and song structure that might bring more people in - that's what we're trying to investigate. Is there a way to bring everyone together musically?"

As Keith & Kristyn Getty stand at the helm of an emerging group of new hymn writers today, it seems the Church need not fear the death of the medium in this modern age. With songs that are timeless in theology and melody, much akin to the prolific works of Wesley, Crosby and Newton, it's not hard to imagine the esteemed roll call of the Church's greatest writers will one day include the name Getty, as they carry forward the great standard of the hymn for generations to come.

March 2011

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