“Shall We Gather At the River”

Multi-talented Roberty Lowry (1826-1899) was a professor of literature, a Baptist, and a music editor at Biglow Publishing Company. Lowry once said, “I would rather preach a gospel sermon to an appreciative, receptive congregation than write a hymn,” yet he wrote nearly 500 hymns and gospel songs, including “Shall We Gather At the River,” “I…

“Children of the Heavenly Father”

Here’s what we know:  The author of the hymn, “Children of the Heavenly Father”, was Karolina Sindell-Berg (1823-1903).  She was Swedish, small and sickly as a child, and very close to her Lutheran pastor father.  With 650 of her 2,000 hymns appearing in print, she is sometimes called the Fanny Crosby of Sweden.  Among her…

“Brethren, We Have Met to Worship”

Brethren, We Have Met To Worship is one of the oldest published American folk hymns. George Atkins wrote the lyrics and first published them in 1819. The traditional tune, HOLY MANNA, is a pentatonic (5 tone) melody in Ionian mode originally published by William Moore in 1829. Brethren, we have met to worship And adore…

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

The eyes are the windows to the soul.  Do you believe it?  I do.  I remember the first wonderful eye contact with my children, the bonding, the joy, the somehow instantly knowing this little person.  My focus was entirely on the baby.  At that moment, nothing else existed.  I remember the last eye contact with…

It’s Showtime!

Sometimes, all roads lead to Rome.  For me, all roads led to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  Many years ago, I was the editor of a journal for the International Association of Organ Teachers.  IAOT was having their annual convention in Valley Forge in tandem with a Home Organists Adventure, produced by Bill Worrall.  A month or…