Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

       "I found this hymn in a small paper published in London, called "The Postman." It was said to be a favorite song of the fishermen on the north coast of England, and they were often heard singing it as they approached their harbors in the time of storm. As the hymn was set to a weird minor tune, I decided to compose one that would be more practical, one that could be more easily sung by the people." Sanky
Words by V. J. Charlesworth, Music by Ira D. Sankey

Monday, August 1, 2016

William B. Bradbury

William B. Bradbury.
       The churchgoing people of to-day are generally familiar with the name Wm. B. Bradbury. Many have cherished that name from childhood. Most of us began our musical experiences by singing his songs, and as early experiences are the most lasting, we will carry these melodies, with their happy associations, through life.
       Mr. Bradbury, in his day, created a style of juvenile music, especially Sunday-school music, that swept the country. He set the pattern for his successors in Sunday-school song-making, and those who have harped on the key-note that he struck have been most successful. True, we have improved some in the way of hymns, and a smoother voicing of the parts, but there are still many Sunday school song writers who regard Mr. Bradbury's writings as the ideal.
       William Batchelder Bradbury was born at York, York County, Maine, October 6, 1816. He came of a good family. He spent the first few years of his life on his father's farm, and rainy days would be spent in the shoe-shop, as was the general custom in those days. He loved music, and would spend his spare hours in studying and practicing such music as he could find. In 1830 his parents removed to Boston, where he saw and heard for the first time a piano and organ, as well as various other instruments. The effect was to lead him to devote bis life to the service of music. Accordingly he took lessons upon the organ, and as early as 183-1: had achieved some reputation as an organist.
       He attended Dr. Mason's singing classes, and later was admitted into his celebrated Bowdoin Street church choir, and the Doctor proved to be a valuable and steadfast friend.
       After some months he was asked to preside at the organ of a certain church at a salary of twenty-five dollars per annum. On trying the organ he found it to be one of those ancient affairs which required the keys to be pulled up as well as pressed down, and he suggested that his pay should be at least fifty dollars, since the playing required this double duty. It was not long till a better paying situation was offered him--that of one hundred dollars a year.
       At the age of twenty he was still singing in Dr. Mason's choir, when one evening at recess, the Doctor laid his hand on his shoulder, and said: "William, I have an application for a teacher at Machias, Maine, to teach three large singing schools, besides private pupils, and I believe you are just the man for the place." He was overjoyed and delighted. He sent his terms, which were accepted, and achieved success. After a busy year and a half of work at Machias, he returned to Boston to marry his sweetheart, and then located at St. Johns, New Brunswick. Here the people did not take sufficient interest in his work, and he returned to Boston. Then came a call to take charge of the music of the First Baptist Church of Brooklyn. Dr. Mason gave him a letter of introduction.
       At the time of his taking charge of the organ at the Brooklyn church there was some opposition to the organ among the members, lie being aware of it took pains to play it so well, and in such good taste, that he speedily won all to favor its use.
      After a year's work here the important era in his career began. He took charge of the choir and organ of the Baptist Tabernacle, New York City, and in addition started a singing class for the young.
       This first class was visited by many superintendents and others interested in Sunday-schools, who were uniformly delighted with what they saw and heard, and the originator of the movement soon found himself engaged in many similar schools in various parts of the city. These classes became very popular. In the Spring Street Church there was a class of over six hundred. From these schools sprang the celebrated "Juvenile Musical Festivals," as they were called, held at the Broadway Tabernacle, which, for some years, were such a prominent feature among the musical events of the city. Those annual concerts were occasions never to be forgotten by any who were present.
       The sight itself was a thrilling one. A thousand children were seated on a gradually rising platform, which spread the scene, as it were, most gracefully before the eye. About two-thirds of the class were girls, dressed uniformly in white with a white wreath and blue sash. The boys were dressed in jackets with collars turned over, something in the Byron style. When all were ready, a chord was struck on the piano, a thousand children instantly arose, presenting a sight that can be far more easily imagined than described. Of the musical effect produced by such a chorus we will
not attempt to speak.
       Mr. Bradbury improved every occasion of these large gatherings to impress upon the public the necessity of musical instruction in the public schools, and in time he had the satisfaction of seeing music taught as a regular study in the public schools of New York.
       While he was teaching among the children, he would occasionally compose a song for them, and to their delight. So he decided to make a book. "The Young Choir " was the result. This was in 1841. Being an inexperienced writer, he got Dr. Hastings to correct his music. The book was a success, and others followed.
       Mr. Bradbury had a desire to go to Europe and study with some of the masters there, and on the second day of July, 1847, he took passage for England, accompanied by his wife and daughter. They were thirty days on the ocean. He remained in London some weeks, and made good use of his time while there. He made the acquaintance of Jenny Lind, then quite unknown to American fame.
       He arrived in Leipsic, Germany, September 11th, where he made arrangements to begin his studies without delay. Wenzel was his teacher for the piano and organ; Boehme for voice; and Hauptmann for harmony. This city was the home of Mendelssohn, whose death occurred only a few weeks after Mr. Bradbury's arrival, and whose funeral he had the sad privilege of attending.
       It need scarcely be stated that Mr. Bradbury pursued his studies with the greatest assiduity.
       While thus zealously devoting himself to personal cultivation and improvement, Mr. Bradbury was in no danger of losing sight of the work at home for which he was preparing himself. He visited many public and private schools, and familiarized himself thoroughly with all the German methods of popular musical instruction. He also made the acquaintance of many prominent musicians. Pie made a short but very interesting tour across the Alps into Switzerland, After his return to New York, in 1849, he devoted his entire time to teaching, conducting conventions, composing, and editing music books. In 1851:, in connection with his brother, E. Gr. Bradbury, he commenced the manufacture of the Bradbury pianos, which at one time were quite popular.
       Prof. Wm. B. Bradbury was one of the great trio (the other two being Drs. Mason and Root) to which the church and vocal music of this country owe much. Mr. Bradbury was an excellent composer. His melodies have an easy, natural flow, and his harmonies are simple and natural, and many of his hymn tunes and gospel songs still in use are among the best that American writers have produced. He was unceasingly active, having edited fifty-nine books of sacred and secular music, a large part of which were his own work.
       Professor Bradbury was an excellent conductor and teacher. He was always kind, patient, and full of sympathy for others. Mr. Bradbury died at his residence, Montclair, N. J., January 8, 1868, leaving a widow, four daughters and a son. He will always occupy a prominent place in American musical history. Hall, 1914

       "Leigh Nash, perhaps best known as the dynamic, angelic-voiced lead singer of platinum-selling pop group Sixpence None the Richer, now offers her favourite, newly recorded Hymns & Sacred Songs. 'Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us' is the first track from this new album. Available now." 
       This hymn's tune was originally written by William B. Bradbury approx. 100 years ago.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Mighty Fortress by Martin Luther

       Martin Luther, the great leader of the Reformation, is the author of both the words and music of this famous hymn, probably written in 1521. The English version is a translation by the Rev. Dr. F. H. Hedge.
       While Luther was still living his enemies in the Roman Catholic Church declared that the whole German people were singing themselves into Luther's doctrines, and that his hymns " destroyed more souls than all his writings and sermons."
       During the prolonged contest of the Reformation period "A Mighty Fortress" was of incalculable benefit and comfort to the Protestant people, and it became the national hymn of Germany. Gustavus Adolphus, the hero of the Thirty Years' War, adopted it as his battle-hymn, when he was leading his troops to meet Wallenstein.
       The first line of this hymn is inscribed on Luther's monument in Wittenburg. Luther himself found great comfort in his hymn. When dangers thickened around him he would turn to his companion, Melanchthon, and say: ''Come, Phllip, let us sing the 46th Psalm ---and they would sing it in this characteristic version.

" A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing."

       In 1720 a remarkable revival began in a town in Moravia. Jesuits opposed it, and the meetings were prohibited. Those who still assembled were seized and imprisoned in stables and cellars. At David Nitschmann's house, where a hundred and fifty persons gathered, the police broke in and seized the books. Not dismayed, the congregation struck up the stanza of Luther's hymn,

"And though this world, with devils filled.
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us."

       Twenty heads of famlies were for this sent to jail, including Nitschmann, who was treated with special severity. He finally escaped, fled to the Moravians at Herrnhut, became a bishop, and afterwards joined the Wesleys in 1735 in their expedition to Savannah, Georgia. Sankey

The Father of American Church Music

Dr. Lowell Mason.
       Dr. Lowell Mason (the degree was conferred by the University of New York) is justly called the father of American church music; and by his labors were founded the germinating principles of national musical intelligence and knowledge, which afforded a soil upon which all higher musical culture has been founded. To him we owe some of our best ideas in religious church music, elementary musical education, music in the schools, the popularization of classical chorus singing, and the art of teaching music upon the Inductive or Pestalozzian plan. More than that, we owe him no small share of the respect which the profession of music enjoys at the present time as contrasted with the contempt in which it was held a century or more ago. In fact, the entire art of music, as now understood and practiced in America, has derived advantage from the work of this great man.
       Lowell Mason was born in Medfield, Mass., January 8, 1792. From childhood he had manifested an intense love for music, and had devoted all his spare time and effort to improving himself according to such opportunities as were available to him. At the age of twenty he found himself filling a clerkship in a banking house in Savannah, Ga. Here he lost no opportunity of gratifying his passion for musical advancement, and was fortunate to meet for the first time a thoroughly qualified instructor, in the person of F. L. Abel. Applying his spare hours assiduously to the cultivation of the pursuit to which his passion inclined him, he soon acquired a proficiency that enabled him to enter the field of original composition, and his first work of this kind was embodied in the compilation of a collection of church music, which contained many of his own compositions. The manuscript was offered unavailingly to publishers in Philadelphia and in Boston. Fortunately for our musical advancement it finally secured the attention of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, and by its committee was submitted to Dr. G. K. Jackson, the severest critic in Boston. Dr. Jackson approved most heartily of the work, and added a few of his own compositions to it. Thus enlarged, it was finally published in 1822 as The Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music. Mason's name was omitted from the publication at his own request, which he thus explains: "I was then a bank officer in Savannah, and did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I had not the least thought of ever making music a profession." President Winchester, of the Handel and Haydn Society, sold the copyright for the young man. Mr. Mason went back to Savannah with probably $500 in his pocket as the preliminary result of his Boston visit.
       The book soon sprang into universal popularity, being at once adopted by the singing schools of New England, and through this means entering into the church choirs, to whom it opened up a higher field of harmonic beauty. Its career of success ran through some seventeen editions. On realizing this success, Mason determined to accept an invitation to come to Boston and enter upon a musical career. This was in 1826. He was made an honorary member of the Handel and Haydn Society, but declined to accept this, and entered the ranks as an active member. He had been invited to come to Boston by President Winchester and other musical friends and was guaranteed an income of $2,000 a year. He was also appointed, by the influence of these friends, director of music at the Hanover, Green, and Park Street churches, to alternate six months with each congregation. Finally he made a permanent arrangement with the Bowdoin Street Church, and gave up the guarantee, but again friendly influence stepped in and procured for him the position of teller at the American Bank.
       In 1827 Lowell Mason became president and conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society. It was the beginning of a career that was to win for him as has been already stated the title of " The Father of American Church Music." Although this may seem rather a bold claim it is not too much under the circumstances. Mr. Mason might have been in the average ranks of musicianship had he lived in Europe; in America he was well in advance of his surroundings. It was not too high praise (in spite of Mason's very simple style) when Dr. Jackson wrote of his song collection: " It is much the best book I have seen published in this country, and I do not hesitate to give it my most decided approbation," or that the great contrapuntist, Hauptmann, should say the harmonies of the tunes were dignified and church like and that the counterpoint was good, plain, singable and melodious.
       Charles C. Perkins gives a few of the reasons why Lowell Mason was the very man to lead American music as it then existed. He says: ''First and foremost, he was not so very much superior to the members as to be unreasonably impatient at their shortcomings. Second, he was a born teacher, who, by hard work, had fitted himself to give instruction in singing. Third, he was one of themselves, a plain, self-made man, who could understand them and be understood of them."
       The personality of Dr. Mason was of great use to the art and appreciation of music in this country. He was of strong mind, dignified manners, sensitive, yet sweet and engaging.
       Prof. Horace Mann, one of the great educators of that day, said he would walk fifty miles to see and hear Mr. Mason teach if he could not otherwise have that advantage.
       Dr. Mason visited a number of the music schools in Europe, studied their methods, and incorporated the best things in his own work. He founded the Boston Academy of Music. The aim of this institution was to reach the masses and introduce music into the public schools. Dr. Mason resided in Boston from 1826 to 1851, when he removed to New York. Not only Boston benefited directly by this enthusiastic teacher's instruction, but he was constantly traveling to other societies in distant cities and helping their work. He had a notable class at North Reading, Mass., and he went in his later years as far as Rochester, where he trained a chorus of five hundred voices, many of them teachers, and some of them coming long distances to study under him. Before 18-10 he had developed his idea of " Teachers' Conventions," and, as in these he had representatives from different states, he made musical missionaries for almost the entire country. He left behind him no less than fifty volumes of musical collections, instruction books, and manuals.
       As a composer of solid, enduring church music. Dr. Mason was one of the most successful this country has produced. He was a deeply pious man, and was a communicant of the Presbyterian Church. Dr. Mason in 1817 married Miss Abigail Gregory, of Leesborough, Mass. The family consisted of four sons, Daniel Gregory, Lowell, William and Henry. The two former founded the publishing house of Mason Bros., dissolved by the death of the former in 18G9. Lowell and Henry were the founders of the great organ manufactory of Mason & Hamlin. Dr. William Mason was one of the most eminent musicians that America has yet produced.
       Dr. Lowell Mason died at " Silverspring," a beautiful residence on the side of Orange Mountain, New Jersey, August 11, 1872, bequeathing his great musical library, much of which had been collected abroad, to Yale College. Hall 1914
He died full of years and of honor,
For honor lies in honest toil. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Praise Him, Praise Him" by Alfred H. Ackley

Tommy Walker (EG, Vocal), Sam Beumier (Bass), Bryan Taylor (Drums), Ryan Jones (E.G.), Jacob Park (E.G.), Alex Espinoza (Keys), Linda McCrary Fisher (Vocal), Jewl Anguay Carney (Vocal) sing "Praise Him, Praise Him"

       Tommy Walker is an American worship leader, composer of contemporary worship music, recording artist and author. Since 1990, he has been the worship leader at Christian Assembly, a church affiliated with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Los Angeles, California. Some of Walker's most well-known songs are “No Greater Love,” “Mourning Into Dancing,” “He Knows My Name", and “That’s Why We Praise Him.”
       In addition to his responsibilities as a church leader, he has taken the "CA Worship Band" on numerous overseas trips, including several trips to Southeast Asia and the Philippines. He has worked alongside Franklin Graham, Greg Laurie, Jack Hayford, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and at Promise Keepers events. Read more . . .

Praise Worthy Graphics from The Christian Clip Art Review:

"Seven Last Words of Christ" by Theodore Dubois

       François-Clément Théodore Dubois, born 24 August 1837 – 11 June 1924, was a French composer, organist and music teacher.
       paroles du Christ ("The Seven Last Words of Christ" [1867]), which continues to be given an occasional airing; his Toccata in G (1889), for the organ, is a recital staple, by no means solely in France. The rest of his large output has almost entirely disappeared from view. He has had a more lasting influence in teaching, with his theoretical works Traité de contrepoint et de fugue (on counterpoint and fugue) and Traité d'harmonie théorique et pratique (on harmony) still being sometimes used today. Read more . . .
To purchase this program: program #9202. Excerpts of Diane Bish conducting "The Seven Last Words of Christ" by Theodore Dubois at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Above is the 1st Word by:
  • Jeffrey Price: Tenor
  • Stephen King: Baritone
  • Nicholas Bowden: Organist
  • Coral Ridge Concert Choir
  • Gold Coast Symphony
Search For More Uplifting Words:

"Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet" by William Howard Doane

       William Howard Doane was born in Preston, Connecticut on February 3, 1832; died in South Orange, New Jersey on December 23, 1915. He was an industrialist who composed Christian hymn tunes. He held patents on wood-working machinery and in 1861 became President of J. A. Fay and Company. In religious work he headed the Ohio Baptist Convention Ministers Aid Society for the Midwest. In 1875 he received his doctorate in music from Denison University. In his musical career he edited forty-three collections of hymns and composed hundreds of hymns. He also composed the music to several hymns by Fanny Crosby.
Words and music by Wayne Goodine
From the album I Will Give You Glory
Soloist Bethany Goodine
Copyright 1984 New Spring Publishing
(admin. by BMG Chrysalis, New York, NY) / ASCAP

"I Surrender All" by Judson W. Van DeVenter

       "I Surrender All" is a Christian hymn, with words written by American art teacher and musician Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855–1939), who subsequently became a music minister and evangelist. It was put to music by Winfield S. Weeden (1847–1908), and published in 1896.
Van DeVenter said of the inspiration for the text:
"For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing."
       Judson Van DeVenter was born on a farm in Michigan in 1855. Following graduation from Hillsdale College, he became an art teacher and supervisor of art in the public schools of Sharon, Pennsylvania. He was, in addition, an accomplished musician, singer, and composer. Van DeVenter was also an active layman in his Methodist Episcopal Church, involved in the church's evangelistic meetings. Recognizing his talent for the ministry, friends urged him to give up teaching and become an evangelist. Van DeVenter wavered for five years between becoming a recognized artist or devoting himself to ministry. Finally, he surrendered his life to Christian service, and wrote the text of the hymn while conducting a meeting at the Ohio home of noted evangelist George Sebring.
       Following his decision to surrender his life to the Divine, Van DeVenter traveled throughout the United States, England, and Scotland, doing evangelistic work. Winfield S. Weeden, his associate and singer, assisted him for many years. Toward the end of his life, Van DeVenter moved to Florida, and was professor of hymnology at the Florida Bible Institute for four years in the 1920s. After his retirement, he remained involved in speaking and in religious gatherings. Van DeVenter published more than 60 hymns in his lifetime, but "I Surrender All" is his most famous.
       "I Surrender All" was put to music by Weeden, and first published in 1896 in Gospel Songs of Grace and Glory, a collection of old and new hymns by various hymnists, compiled by Weeden, Van DeVenter, and Leonard Weaver, and published by Sebring Publishing Co. The following year, Van DeVenter and Weeden also published their jointly written gospel hymn "Sunlight". Weeden, born in Ohio in 1847, taught in singing schools prior to becoming an evangelist, and was a noted song leader and vocalist. Weeden published many hymns in several volumes, including The Peacemaker (1894), Songs of the Peacemaker (1895), and Songs of Sovereign Grace (1897). His tombstone is inscribed with the title of this hymn, "I Surrender All". Read more . . .
       "Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing I Surrender All (feat. The Isaacs) [Live]. (P) (C) 2012 Spring House Music Group. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group."

Sheet music "I Surrender All" from Gospel Songs of Grace and Glory, 1896.

"Day By Day" by Composer Oscar Ahnfelt

       Oscar Ahnfelt (1813–1882) was a Swedish singer, composer and music publisher. He composed the music for many of Lina Sandell's hymns. He was a pietist, who traveled all over Scandinavia, playing his 10-string guitar and singing her lyrics. The state church authorities did not like pietistic hymns and, anticipating a royal injunction against the singing of Sandell's songs, ordered Ahnfelt to sing them before King Karl XV. But after hearing them, the King announced to Ahnfelt, "You may sing as much as you desire in both of my kingdoms." Ahnfelt sang them so much that Sandell wrote, "Ahnfelt has sung my songs into the hearts of the people."
       Sandell - Ahnfelt hymns have spread throughout the world. Two of the best-known ones in English are Children of the Heavenly Father (Tryggare kan ingen vara) and Day by day (Blott en dag).
       Jenny Lind, known worldwide as the "Swedish Nightingale", was also a pietist and popularized Sandell's hymns in America and wherever she sang. She additionally helped finance Ahnfelt's Andeliga Sånger (Sacred Songs), first published in 1850.
       Ahnfelt died October 22, 1882 in Karlshamn, Blekinge. He is buried in Hvilans Kyrkogård (Hvilans Cemetery) in Karlshamn.
"Amazing hymn, shows us not to worry, trust in the Lord.
Vibrant photos and lyrics. Take life day by day."

"Dear Lord and Father Of Mankind" by John Greenleaf Whittier

       John Greenleaf Adams 1810 – 1897 was co-editor with Dr. E.H. Chapin of the Universalist Hymns for Christian Devotion and alone for the Gospel Psalmist, 1861. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he married twice and had two sons and one daughter. He was ordained in 1833 in Rumney, New Hampshire. Although rarely used outside his denomination, best known of his hymns are "Heaven is here, its hymns of gladness" and God's angels; not only on high to they sing." Read more . . .

"The Choir of the Abbey School, Tewkesbury sing my absolutely favorite hymn, Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind to Sir Charles Hubert Hasting Parry's wonderful tune "Repton". The pictures are of various English cathedrals and abbeys where this hymn will have been sung many times, starting and ending with Tewkesbury Abbey."

"He Lives!" or "I Serve a Risen Savior" by Alfred Henry Ackley

Alan Jackson sing his version of this classic hymn. Visit his website here.

Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American country music singer, songwriter and musician, known for blending traditional honky tonk and mainstream country sounds and penning many of his own hits. He has recorded 15 studio albums, three Greatest Hits albums, two Christmas albums, two Gospel albums and several compilations. Read more . . .

"Nearer My God to Thee" by Mrs. Sarah Flower Adams

      This language was the heart-utterance of Mrs. Sarah Flower Adams, daughter of Benjamin Flower, writer for The Cambridge Intelligencer, and wife of William B. Adams, an eminent engineer, and also a contributor to some of the principal newspapers and reviews.
      She was born February 22, 1805 and mother is described as a lady of talent, as was her elder sister Eliza, who was also an authoress.
      She was noted in early life for the taste she manifested for literature, and in maturer years, for great zeal and earnestness in her religious life, which is said to have produced a deep impression on those who met with her. Mr. Miller says: "The prayer of her own hymn, 'Nearer, my God, to Thee,' had been answered in her own experience. Her literary tastes extended in various directions. She contributed prose and poetry to the periodicals, and her art-criticisms were valued. She also wrote a Catechism for children, entitled 'The Flock at the Fountain' (1845 ). It is Unitarian in its sentiment, and is interspersed with hymns. She also wrote a dramatic poem, in five acts, on the martyrdom of ' Vivia Perpetua.' This was dedicated to her sister, in some touching verses. Her sister died of a pulmonary complaint in 1847, and attention to her in her affliction enfeebled her own health, and she also gradually wore away, 'almost her last breath bursting into unconscious song.'" Thus illustrating the last stanza:
"Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
Upward I fly,
Still all my son: shall be.
Nearer, my God, to Thee."

      She died August 13, 1849, eight years after the issue of her popular hymn, and was buried in Essex, England. Rev. Edwin M. Long

"Anna Weatherup sings a classic hymn, Nearer My God to Thee - performed live in the studio with String Quartet. She talks about how this and other hymns, such as Amazing Grace, hold such meaning and emotion. Orchestral arrangements by Daniel Brinsmead."

Words and Music by Anna Weatherup
Piano - Daniel Brinsmead
1st Violin - Rebecca Smith
2nd Violin - Tobias Chisnall
Viola - Alexina Hawkins
Cello - Matthew Lovett

Recorded live on July 12, 2011 at Psalter Studios, Sydney.

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