The old Southern Harmony tune Wondrous Love is right at the top of the list of my favorite songs no matter the genre. I love the tune and it works in straight Sacred Harp style as well as in a more contemporary folk song. As one person commented on a popular YouTube version of the song,
Speaking here as an unashamed agnostic… This is a lovely, dignified, decorous and beautifully restrained music.
To which I add, Amen.
So it was a treat at our parish this morning when Andrew & Claire joined a reunion of the children’s choir and nailed a beautiful version of Wondrous Love arranged by Steve Pilkington. These 9 teenagers were supported by a beautiful piano setting and the tasteful and restrained addition of a few hand bells. Andrew and Claire sounded lovely, and a good friend of Andrew’s sang a beautiful descant on the last verse.
That last verse is the one that always gets me. I think of it often and I always think of my mother, who gave me my love of music but died much too young:
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing on I’ll sing on
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing on
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing and joyful be
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on
And through eternity I’ll sing on
There are great versions by Anonymous 4, there’s a lovely YouTube clip by a beautiful singer named Deborah Liv Johnson, but my favorite version of the song (and the one that generated that comment above) is by the Bluegrass Band Blue Highway. I still remember hearing the band sing Wondrous Love at Merlefest in 2007.
More to come…
Image by franz roos from Pixabay
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