“On This Day of Joy and Gladness:” Leroy Robertson’s Hymn of Praise, Service and Salvation
As chairman of the General Church Music Committee, Leroy Robertson was always looking for good music for the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While serving in this position he wrote, “On This Day of Joy and Gladness” for the youth choruses that were being encouraged in the Church at the time.
Robertson was born on December 21, 1896, in Fountain Green, UT. He went on to graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music with a certificate in Public School Music and a diploma in Composition. Notable artists such as Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Utah Symphony have performed his musical works. Of the eight hymns he has contributed to the current hymnbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “On This Day of Joy and Gladness” is the only one he wrote both lyrics and music for.
Recalling the origin of “On This Day of Joy and Gladness,” his daughter, Dr. Marian Robertson, once said that the hymn “sprang from the composer’s ardent desire to bring music of great quality to the youth of the LDS Church. Verse one gives joyful praise to the Lord; verse two develops the idea that blessings flow to those who serve in the kingdom of God; verse three outlines the basic gospel doctrine of the true Church, which brings the saints to salvation. The words and music together present a message of joy and promise, characteristic of Leroy Robertson’s profound love for the gospel.”
In most cases, Robertson used existing texts for his music but in this instance, he felt compelled to write the words as well. He also composed a version of “The Lord’s Prayer” which was released on the flip side of the GRAMMY winning single, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Below is a video of the Choir singing "On This Day of Joy and Gladness."