The Jubilate Group, as it has come to be known, was founded in the early 1960s by Michael Baughen (at one time Rector of All Soul's, Langham Place, London, and then Anglican Bishop of Chester) and friends closely involved in work among young people. The group pooled its talents to meet the challenge of a new generation in the UK, a generation which wished to extend its singing beyond the foursquare ways of metrical hymnody.
Breaking new ground
Initially no publisher could be found to support the first joint enterprise, Youth Praise (1966). The Church Pastoral Aid Society (a long-established English home missionary society) came to the rescue, later publishing Youth Praise 2 (1969). CPAS also took on Psalm Praise (1973), a contemporary effort to revitalize the use of Psalms. Youth Praise was a best seller in its time, and Psalm Praise because of its diversity broke new ground. Two books which continued with the same principles, Psalms for Today and Songs from the Psalms, followed in 1990.
In the early 1970s the group comprised Michael Baughen, Richard Bewes, Christopher Collins, Timothy Dudley-Smith, Chritopher Idle, Edward Shirras, Michael Saward, James Seddon, Norman Warren, David Wilson and Michael Perry - a mixed bunch of talent, in terms of words and music.
In the mid-1970s, as an enlarged section of the group under Michael Baughen's leadership, the group began to apply itself to the production of a pioneering modern language hymnal. After years of conference and continuous application, Hymns for Today's Church was born in 1982. HTC sold in six separate editions.
In the USA
George Shorney of Hope Publishing in Carol Stream, Illinois, USA, had already enlisted the independent cooperation of Timothy Dudley-Smith, and then secured the alliance of the extended Jubilate Hymns group. George's determined effort to recruit English hymn writers has resulted in a mutual enrichment of the USA and UK repertoires. Thus The Jubilate Group and its works have found their way into USA hymnals - Worship, Rejoice in the Lord, The Hymnal 1982, Psalter Hymnal, The Worshiping Church, The Baptist Hymnal, Christian Worship, Trinity Hymnal and many others. Similarly, many American hymns have emerged in Jubilate publications.
A mixture of styles
Jubilate authors and musicians - there are now more than 60 of them - differ remarkably in their style, taste and approach. Their breadth of style is also reflected in the variety of Jubilate publications, of which the most recent major publication is Sing Glory (1999). In addition, several of the Jubilate group have music publications in their own right, often with other publishers.
Jubilate administers the copyrights of more than 70 composers and writers. Distinct from many other copyright agencies, the agency members retain their copyrights and Jubilate's role is to administer these to the copyright holders benefit.
The Jubilate website contains almost all the published texts and tunes by agency members which appear in Jubilate books, and many which appear in books from other publishers.
Jubilate Hymns Ltd (the company's official title) was incorporated on 18 November 1980 and was originally governed by a board of three directors, of whom Michael Baughen was the first Chairman, the other directors being Michael Saward and David Wilson, all three Church of England clergymen.
Michael Baughen handed on the chairmanship to Michael Saward in 1999, David Wilson having resigned as a director in 1997. He was succeeded by two new directors, Noël Tredinnick and David Peacock, in the same year. Two more, David Iliff and Steve James, were added to the board in 1999.
In 2001, Michael Saward, while remaining a director, passed on the chairmanship to Steve James, and in 2011 Noel Tredinnick took over as Chairman.
The present board of directors is made up of Noël Tredinnick (chairman), David Iliff, Joel Payne, Sam Hargreaves, Anne Harrison and Peter Moger.