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July 31, 2022- #4846 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductors:  Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organist: Richard Elliott
Announcer: Lloyd Newell

“Simple Gifts”
Music: Shaker song
Lyrics: Joseph Brackett
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”1
Music: Frederic A. Challinor
Lyrics: W. H. Parker
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” (organ solo)
Music: American folk hymn
Arrangement: Dale Wood

“Give Glory to His Honored Name” from Athalio
Music: George Frederic Handel
Lyrics: Samuel Humphreys

“Homeward Bound”2,3
Music and Lyrics: Marta Keen Thompson
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah”4
Music: John Hughes
Lyrics: William Williams
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg 

  1. From the album Teach Me to Walk in The Light.
  2. From the album Love is Spoken Here.
  3. From the album Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends.
  4. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

(Editor's Note: Filmed on location in Wales.)

The roots of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square run deep here in this beautiful place. In 1849, a talented musician named John Parry, who had emigrated from Wales to the Salt Lake Valley in the American West, organized a group of 85 fellow Welsh singers to perform at a church service. That choir formed the foundation of today’s Tabernacle Choir, and John Parry was its first conductor.

Welsh emigrants were famous for their musical gifts. When one emigrant was asked where he learned to sing so well, he said, “The hills of Wales were the schoolhouse, and the Spirit of God was the teacher.”1 So today we pay tribute to the land, the rich musical legacy, and the people of Wales, to whom The Tabernacle Choir owes so much of its history.

Besides its first conductor and many of its original members, some of the Choir’s favorite songs are also Welsh. A perfect example is the beloved hymn “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah.” The hymn tune, by Welsh composer John Hughes, was first performed here at the Capel Rhondda Welsh Baptist Church in Pontypridd in 1907. Its title in Welsh, “Cwm Rhondda,” means “valley” and “river,” bringing to mind the lovely landscape in this area of Wales. The lyrics were written by William Williams, a traveling minister known as the “Sweet Singer of Wales.” He composed more than 800 hymns during his lifetime in the 1700s, but “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah” is his best-known hymn, and it has been a favorite of The Tabernacle Choir’s since its earliest days.

The lyrics speak of deliverance and hope. They recall the miracles God performed for His people in the Old Testament, when He “went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light” in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). Today, from Wales, we praise God for such miracles in times past and humbly seek His ongoing guidance as we journey through our modern wilderness:

Guide us, O thou great Jehovah,
Guide us to the promised land.
We are weak, but thou art able;
Hold us with thy pow’rful hand, …

Singing praises,
Singing praises,
Songs of glory unto thee.

  1. In Heidi S. Swinton, America’s Choir: A Commemorative Portrait of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (2004), 17.
  2. “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah,” Hymns, no. 83.