Deanna’s February newsletter

The beginning of 2018 has been filled with travel, performances, and a new choral commission!

Read/view my February e-news here.

For those of you who aren’t on my mailing list and would like to be, send me an email and I’ll add your address.

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HYMN TUNE HISTORY: KINGS OF ORIENT (We Three Kings)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here’s the fifth entry in my hymn history co-blog with author and activist, Pam McAllister.  We’re exploring the history of each of the hymns on Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns.

In this post, we look at the well-loved carol, “We Three Kings.” This is one of three arrangements on the album that were specifically written for instrumental jazz trio (the remaining ten of arrangements are meant for congregational singing). Sheet music for all 13 arrangements is available at my sheet music page.

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HYMN TUNE HISTORY: HYMN TO JOY (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee)

Just in time for Thanksgiving: Here’s the fourth entry in my hymn history co-blog with author and activist, Pam McAllister.  We’re exploring the history of each of the hymns on Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns.

This week, we look at the tune, HYMN TO JOY with the text, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”  As Pam explains, the hymn text was inspired by a visit to the Berkshires.

Click to hear a clip of HYMN TO JOY from Deanna’s new album, Makes the Heart to Sing.

 


PAM ON THE HYMN TEXT

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was well-established as a professor of English literature at Princeton University when he visited the president of William College in Western Massachusetts one day in 1907. There, he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Berkshires. He picked up his pen and wrote the words of the hymn we know as“JOYFUL, JOYFUL, WE ADORE THEE.”

According to the story, when he handed the poem to his friend, van Dyke said, “Here is a hymn for you. Your mountains were my inspiration. It must be sung to the music of Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy.’”

Artaban helps a dying man, illustration by Jackie Morris from The Greatest Gift (picture book)

Before teaching at Princeton, Dr. van Dyke spent seventeen years as the pastor at Brick Presbyterian Church (1883-1900). Parishioners and tourists crowded into the Manhattan sanctuary to hear his sermons.

One Christmas Eve, he told the hushed gathering about a man named Artaban, the fourth wise man, who missed his caravan connection with the Magi because he stopped to help a dying man. Delayed, he arrived in Bethlehem too late and spent the next 33 years searching for Jesus, using the gifts he’d brought for the baby to rescue those in distress. And then, at last, he reached Jerusalem on a significant day and …. I don’t want to spoil it for you, dear blog reader. You can read it here. Continue reading

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