Patriotic song: America

America is a song written and recorded by Neil Diamond. The song is a positive interpretation “of the history of immigration to the United States”. The song was a hit single in the United States in 1981. Diamond sang it at the centennial re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty and it was used with the promotion of the 1996 Olympics. […]

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Hymn Story: Wholly Yours

Wholly Yours is written by David Crowder. It shares the message found in Romans 8:39 “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord..” The song was published in 2005 by Capitol CMG Publishing.

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Patriotic Song: Over There

Over There was written by George M. Cohan in 1917, during the height of World War I.  The song became an instant hit. The song reflected Americans’ expectations that the war would be short.  It was a patriotic song designed to galvanize American young men to enlist in the army and fight the “Hun”. The song is best remembered for […]

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Hymn Story: Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness

Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness was written by Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, the founder of the religious community of Herrnhut and the apostle of the United Brethren. He was born at Dresden , Germany on May 26, 1700. He resigned all his public duties of his noble birth and devoted himself to missionary work. His motto became “I have but […]

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Hymn Story: Haven of Rest

The Haven of Rest was written by H. L. Gilmour. Gilmour was born in Londonderry, Ireland in 1836 and emigrated to America as a teenager. He married Letitia Pauline Howard in 1858. After serving in the American Civil War and spending several months at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia he went on to become a dentist. He helped found the […]

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Hymn Story: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life, How Sweet the Fruit comes from the account of the Tree of life as recorded in the book of Genesis. I’ve been unable to uncover any information on who wrote the song. The melody is described as “Traditional American Melody”. Listening to the version below the melody is the one we know very well. It is […]

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Hymn Story: Waymaker

Waymaker is a contemporary worship song that is very popular right now. It was written by Nigerian gospel singer Sinach. She released the song as a single and music video on December 30, 2015. The following year, she released Waymaker-Live in November. The song became certified gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa. Sinach was rated as the “female […]

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Hymn Story: Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness

Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness was written by Johann Frank. He hymn is often sung for Holy Thursday. Frank was born in 1618 in Brandenburg, Germany.  He practiced law during the Thirty Year’s War and held several positions in civil service. He is described as a “significant poet, only to Paul Gerhardt in his day” and wrote 110 hymns. He […]

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Christmas Song Story: Star of the East

Star of the East was originally named “Stern über Bethlehem”. In 1883, composer Amanda Kennedy composed a melody “Star of the Sea”. George Cooper, a New York lyricists, wrote the lyrics in 1890. The song is not the same as the folk carol “Star in the East” or English carol “Star of the East”. Judy Garland recorded the song in 1941.

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Christmas Song Story: Shepherds Arise

Shepherds Arise! Be Not Afraid is first recorded by a church in Dorset England. The carol dates back to the 19th century. The carol was first published in the 1926 A Collection of Dorset Carols.  The book was published by William Adair Pickard-Cambridge, a classics scholar and organists, who obtained several manuscripts from the early 19th Century. The author of Shepherd’s Arise in unknown and was […]

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Christmas Song Story: Once in Royal David’s City

The carol originally appeared as a poem written by Cecil Frances Alexander. The poem was first published in the 1848 Hymns for Little Children. The poem tells the story of the nativity and was combined in a collection with other well-known hymns such as “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “There is a Green Hill Far Away”. The following year, Henry […]

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Christmas Song Story: In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter is based on a poem by Christina Rossetti, an English poet. The poem was published in the January 1872 issue of Scribner’s Monthly under the title “A Christmas Carol”. The 1906 English Hymnal first published the poem set to music by Gustav Holst. In 1911, Harold Darke wrote a more complex anthem which is often used […]

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Christmas Song Story: Candlelight Carol

John Rutter, an English composer and conductor, wrote Candlelight Carol in 1984. He recorded the song with his own group, the Cambridge Singers. The group released the song on their 1987 album Christmas Night. The song was commissioned by a church in Pennsylvania celebrating the Virgin Mary. Rutter is said to draw inspiration from the Geertgen’s painting, Nativity at Night. […]

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Christmas Song Story: Calypso Carol

The Calypso Carol is often known by it’s opening line “See him lying on a bed of straw”. Some announcers have introduced the song as a traditional folk carol of the West Indies. However, it was written by an Englishman, Michael Perry. Perry wrote the song in 1964 while a college student for their Christmas concert. The song became famous by […]

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