Some of the best hymn singing in the greater Seattle area goes on at the Union Gospel Mission every night before dinner. Homeless men come in for a chapel service about 5:00 PM and the hymn books come out. I first volunteered to lead singing many years ago when I was working as delivery truck driver for a piano retailer in downtown Seattle. A salesman, who was also organist at Ballard Baptist, asked if I'd like to help him out at the Mission. Even then, when most churches still sang from hymn books, I was astonished by the singing at Union Gospel. I was even more surprised when they started calling out hymn numbers. We sang and sang, and the singing hasn't diminished in power and enthusiasm since then because the hymn books are still in the battered pews.
When the men from 1st Avenue and the waterfront sing, they SING!. With a little work I could make a sailors chorus for Wagner's Flying Dutchman. "Steuermann, Hey! Steuermann Ho!"
I wish you could still walk into any church on Sunday and sing like the guys at Union Gospel.