Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hymns in the News

According to an article in Salt Lake City's Deseret News, a hymn was spontaneouly sung yesterday afternoon  at a meeting during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.  US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was addressing the LDS Democrats Caucus and asked the group to join him in singing Have I done any good in the world today?  While this song is apparently well known in Mormon churches, it was actually written by gospel song writer Will L. Thompson, who is best known as the writer of Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.  You will probably be able to tell that there are some similarities in the two melodies.

Here's the song performed by (who else?) the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with the text below.

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

Will L. Thompson, 19th cent.

Four Years Ago: Amy Beach

Three Years Ago: Amy Beach


AuntE said...

Interesting! Thanks for posting this. Did enough people know the hymn to actually 'join in singing'? I've never heard it before that I can recall. Personally, I couldn't really hear any similarity to "Softly and Tenderly", but then I've always found it hard to sing song B while listening to song A!

C.W.S. said...

Apparently the group did know the song as it is a favorite among Mormons.

It could be that the similarity I am hearing is mainly in the syncopated rhythms.