Behind the Song: There is a Balm in Gilead

Jeremiah 8:22 says  “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wounds of my [God’s] people?” {Gilead also mentioned in Jeremiah 46:2,11 and Jeremiah 22:6} It is believed this passage inspired the spiritual There Is a Balm in Gilead.  The song emphasizes the comfort found in the Lord God, […]

Read more

Behind the Song: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a well-known and popular African American spiritual. The song was written by Wallis Willis,  a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the County seat of Hugo, Oklahoma sometime after 1865. Historians believe he may have been inspired by the sight of the Red River, near where he […]

Read more

Behind the Song: Deep River

Deep River is an African-American spiritual with unknown origins. The song was first printed in the 1876,  The Story of the Jubilee Singers: With Their Songs, by J. B. T. Marsh. In 1917, Harry T. Burleigh completed the last of several influential arrangements. The song became very popular in recitals of the early 20th Century. The song was used in […]

Read more

Behind the Hymn: Hold the Fort

Ira Sankey wrote “Mr. Bliss said to me once, not long before his death, that he hoped that he would not be known to posterity only as the author of Hold the Fort, for he believed that he had written many better songs. However, when I attended the dedication of the Bliss monument, at Rome, Pennsylvania, I found these words […]

Read more

Behind the Hymn: A Great and Mighty Wonder

A great and mighty wonder is a little-known Christmas Carol.  The hymn is German in origin. The hymn was written by St. Germanus I. He was born in Constantinople of a patrician family in 634 Greece. He was ordained in Constantinople and subsequently became bishop of Cyzicus. He was present at the Synod of Constantinople in 712, which restored the […]

Read more
1 2 3 75