Sunday musical offering

August 13, 2017

Death shall not destroy my comfort,
Christ shall guide me through the gloom;
Down He’ll send some heavenly convoy,
To escort my spirit home.

Oh, Hallelujah! How I love my Savior!
Oh, Hallelujah! That I do.
Oh, Hallelujah! How I love my Savior!
Mourners, you may love Him too.

Jordan’s stream shall not o’erflow me,
While my Savior’s by my side;
Canaan, Canaan lies before me; 
Soon I’ll cross the swelling tide. (Refrain)

See the happy spirits waiting,
On the banks beyond the stream; 
Sweet responses still repeating,
“Jesus! Jesus!” is their theme. (Refrain)

Happy birthday, Sara

August 8, 2017

In honor of the birthday of American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933), here is a choral setting of her poem “Only in Sleep.”

Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.

Only in sleep Time is forgotten—
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the doll-house stood at the turn of the stair.

The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild—
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?

Sunday musical offering

August 6, 2017

In honor of the birthday of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), here is a choral setting of his poem “Crossing the Bar.”

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Happy birthday, Louis

August 4, 2017

It’s the birthday of the American musician, band leader, composer, and singer Louis Daniel Armstrong (1901-1971). He was the grandson of slaves and grew up in poverty in New Orleans, being shuttled back and forth between various dysfunctional relatives. He dropped out of school when he was eleven and spent some time in juvenile detention, but through it all, his love for music inspired and sustained him, and ultimately led to his becoming one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century.

Happy birthday, Emily

July 30, 2017

In honor of the birthday of English novelist and poet Emily Brontë (1818-1848), here is a choral setting of one of her poems.

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall Nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving—
Come back and dwell with me.

Happy birthday, Isaac

July 17, 2017

It’s the birthday of the Father of English hymnody, Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Isaac began writing poetry at a very young age, and when he complained about the lackluster music he heard at church, his father challenged him to come up with something better. Isaac accepted the challenge, and he went on to write hundreds of hymns — including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” “Jesus Shall Reign,” “Come, Ye That Love the Lord,” and “Joy to the World.” Here is one of my favorites.

When I can read my title clear
to mansions in the skies,
I’ll bid farewell to every fear,
and wipe my weeping eyes.

Should earth against my soul engage
and hellish darts be hurled,
then I can smile at Satan’s rage,
and face a frowning world.

Let cares like a wild deluge come,
and storms of sorrow fall;
May I but safely reach my home,
my God, my heaven, my all.

There I shall bathe my weary soul
in seas of heavenly rest,
and not a wave of trouble roll
across my peaceful breast.

Sunday musical offering

July 16, 2017

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