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The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Tribute To Stephen Paulus

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir expresses its sincere condolences to the family of composer, Stephen Paulus, who passed away Sunday at the age of 65. He died of medical complications, which resulted from a severe stroke that he suffered on July 4, 2013.

During Sunday’s broadcast of the Choir’s weekly radio, television and Internet program of Music & the Spoken Word, the Choir performed “Pilgrims’ Hymn,” which Paulus composed.  The music for the broadcast is determined several weeks in advance so the timing of the song’s airing was remarkable. Ryan Murphy, associate music director of the Choir who conducted “Pilgrims’ Hymn” on Sunday’s broadcast, said, “I am deeply moved to realize that the Choir performed this song by Stephen Paulus on the day he passed away.”

“Pilgrims’ Hymn” was one of the selections for Consider the Lilies, the very first release on the Choir’s new recording label back in 2003. Paulus also wrote “Hymn for America” at the request of former Choir director, Craig Jessop, for the Choir’s album Spirit of America in 2004.

Paulus was well known for his choral writing and comprehension of the voice. Fellow conductor and composer, Dale Warland said, “He had that special spark for the human voice and a real passion.” Mack Wilberg, current music director of the Choir, said, “I have enjoyed performing works by Stephen Paulus over many years. His music was a gift to all of us and his talents will be missed.”

Below is the video of the Choir performing “Pilgrims' Hymn” from their October 19, 2014 broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word, with lyrics below.

Pilgrims' Hymn Lyrics (Lyrics by Michael Dennis Browne)

Even before we call on Thy name
   To ask Thee, O Lord,
When we seek for the words to glorify Thee,
   Thou hearest our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
   Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the Father,
   and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
   We breathe Thy name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
   We trust in Thee;
Endless Thy grace, O endless Thy grace,
   Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
   And unto ages and ages,
Amen

-Photo courtesy of stephenpaulus.com-