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January 22, 2023 - #4871 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductor: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Brian Mathias
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“Come, Ye Children of the Lord”
Music: Spanish melody
Lyrics: James H. Wallis
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Look at the World”
Music and lyrics: John Rutter

“Fanfare” (organ solo)
Music: Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”1
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Lyrics: Martin Jahn

“Alabaré (I Will Praise)”
Music and lyrics: Jose Pagan and Manuel Jose Alonso
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Morning Has Broken” 2, 3
Music: Gaelic melody
Lyrics: Eleanor Farjeon
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Let Us All Press On”3
Music and lyrics: Evan Stephens
Arrangement: Richard Elliott

  1. From the album Heavensong.
  2. From the album Consider the Lilies.
  3. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

History: “A Larger Way of Looking at Life”

Written by Heidi Swinton

When you hear the word history, what comes to mind? Many of us have memories of a high school history class, where we had to memorize dates, names, and places. Because of such experiences, we might think of history as kings and presidents, wars and treaties, maps and timelines. But history is so much more than that.

Years ago, David McCullough, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, appeared as a guest narrator with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. On that occasion, he explained: “History is not only politics and military events but also includes art, music, literature, drama, and architecture. To leave out music and these other elements leaves out the soul of the human story.”1

In other words, when we read a poem by Elizabeth Browning or Gwendolyn Brooks, when we listen to the music of Beethoven or Gershwin, when we enjoy a painting by Michelangelo or Mary Cassatt, we are studying history. We are connecting with the soul of the human story.

At its best, history reminds us that the human story has a soul—that behind the names and dates are real people full of personality and passion. To paraphrase the Old Testament book of Job, “There is a spirit in man”—and in woman—enriched by “the inspiration of the Almighty” (Job 32:8). The more we learn about what these people loved, what they feared, and what brought them joy, the more we see in them that divine spark that lies within us all. We see that their story is our story. History, then, does more than detail the past—it bridges the past and the present.

In that sense, we are all part of a history. We each contribute to the stream of events that makes up the human story. Every time we take a picture, make a scrapbook, jot some feelings down in a journal, or tell a child about an experience from our own childhood, we’re adding an indispensable chapter to that story. In a sense, we’re making history.

David McCullough, who passed away last summer, said it well: “History, I like to think, is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, of inspiration. ... It is about people, and they speak to us across the years.”2

  1. In “David McCullough (2009),”
  2. David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (2017), xiii.