Beautiful Music Monday
Conductor Emeritus Kenneth Jennings (1925-2015) leads over 900 choir alumni during the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the St. Olaf Choir in June of 2011.
Most of you probably know this hymn as “Fairest Lord Jesus.” It was my father’s favorite hymn, known to him by its older name, “Beautiful Savior.”
When I’m dying, I want music to carry me away. Then I want to join the choir. I want to sing music like this. Music that makes all things and all voices beautiful. I want tears to flow. Mine. The way they did this morning when I listened to this on You Tube.
I don’t understand why hymns like this reach so deeply into me. But there it is. And here we are today, surrounded by deaths of many kinds. Bodily and spiritual death. Death of hope and trust. Never easy, especially when it seems to be piling on without mercy.
I hope you enjoy listening to this amazing choir following the lead of their beloved conductor Emeritus, Kenneth Jennings. Like angels, they’re singing together on key, accompanied only by each other, following their leader. A force together that they could never be on their own.
Here are the lyrics as sung by the choir, following their opening wordless rendition of the tune.
Fair are the meadows, Fairer the woodlands,
Robed in flow’rs of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorr’wing spirit sing.
Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!
I pray you’ll find beauty and music in the week ahead.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 April 2020
St. Olaf Choir Alumni’s rendition of Beautiful Savior found at YouTube.com
That hymn has been St. Olaf’s signature piece as long as I can remember. Choral music doesn’t get much better.
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It’s amazing to hear it sung by so many alumni. When I was in college during the early 1960’s, our music director thought highly of the St. Olaf’s music director, and used some of his methods, including strict attention to the director, and memorizing our parts. Nobody’s voice was more important than the words of whatever we were singing!
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