WHEN PEOPLE SEE THE NAME JACQUES JONES, they might be confused for two reasons: first, Jacque is actually a female name pronounced “Jackie”; second, when her name appears in the context of her work, they might assume she has died with past generations. Why? Because she writes hymns, an art that people associate with previous centuries.
Hymn writing is often a collaborative effort, and because Jones doesn’t play an instrument and says she’s not much of a music reader, she writes the poetry that is later put to accompaniment. A writer all of her life, Jones fell into hymn writing about five years ago and found it to be a stimulating challenge.
“Hymns are a specific type of poetry,” she said. “I got intrigued with the process, because it’s a metrical puzzle to work out.”
Later she added, “If you told me six years ago that I would be writing poetry, I would have laughed.”
Hymn writing exploded after World War II, says Jones, but because many churches, including her own Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, still use 50-year-old hymnals, it would be hard to know it. Newer hymns use more modern language to talk about God, steering away from masculinity and placing less emphasis on gender. This is evident in a few lines from Jones’ “Cicada Song.”
Then ask the creatures,
they will teach;
Cicadas, they will tell;
From them we learn
what worship means,
A lesson they know well.
Jones, a 22-year resident of Brooklyn Heights, writes continuously to build her portfolio. One hymn published in 2006 called “Today We Sing with Thankfulness,” was a collaboration between Jones and Amanda Husberg, the church musician at St. John the Evangelist Lutheran Church in Williamsburg and a widely published composer of sacred music. The piece was published for the 50th anniversary celebration of the ordination of clergywomen in the United Methodist Church. Also, Jones has been a member of the national Hymn Society for five years, and during the organization’s weeklong annual conference in Berkeley in mid-July, she was elected as treasurer.
During the past few Augusts, choirmaster Paul Olson has held open Hymn Sings at Grace Church; this year Jones is helping to carry on the tradition at Plymouth. On Tuesday evenings of the coming month, community members are invited to gather at 7 p.m. in the relaxed atmosphere of Plymouth Church’s music room to sing together (including some of Jones’ pieces)! Each evening will be themed and have a time for requests. Itching to sing some hymns acappella? Jones is too.
By day, Jones works in the development office of Packer Collegiate Institute, where she raises funds for the school.
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IN OTHER NEWS:
RICHARD KADLUB IS ONE OF the budding entrepreneurs profiled in the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s spring newsletter. Kadlub’s break came when he was laid off from his Wall Street job last summer (due to replacement by automation), and he immediately seized the opportunity to enact an old dream to become a Brooklyn tour guide. The native Brooklynite extensively researched the history of Park Slope and Prospect Park, to add to the good amount he already knew as a life-long resident, before launching his successful A Tour Grows in Brooklyn.
“I’m into history, but there were many things I didn’t know,” he told the Chamber. “Even if I don’t make a penny off this business, all the things I’ve learned — I’m rich with that.”
He has been OK’ed to add a route through historic Greenwood Cemetery and is considering adding a Brooklyn Heights walk, too. A Tour Grows in Brooklyn can be visited at www.brooklynwalkingtour.com.
BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY INTERN GIOIA STEVENS recently inventoried folded and flat maps in the society’s collection and found several rare items, according to the BHS newsletter. Some treasures are a 1796 first edition of Carey’s Pocket Atlas of the U.S. and some original Civil War maps including a highly detailed map of the infamous Confederate prison camp at Andersonville.
A BAR THAT ACTOR HEATH LEDGER invested in before his untimely death will now open, reports DownByTheHipster.com. The small space on the corner of Bedford and Lorimer streets will now go forward because Ledger’s father, Kim, administrator of his son’s estate, has released the funds to complete construction “because he knew how much the project meant to Heath.” The nautically themed bar’s working name of The Five Leaves is thought to be from Swan cigarette papers that tell you when there are five left in a package. Commenters also drew the connection between the name and Nick Drake’s 1969 album “Five Leaves Left,” because Ledger is said to have been a big Drake fan.
According to Rolling Stone, clips have surfaced of a music video for Drake’s posthumously released song “Black Eyed Dog” that Health Ledger starred in months before his own death.
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Army Pvt. DAVID MORALES has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. Morales is a 2006 graduate of Bushwick High School.