Wherever Christ is Present (2017)
Premiere—Association of Lutheran Church Musicians Hymn Festival, Britt Dougall, cond., Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minn. 7/9/2017
Published by MorningStar Music. Distributed by Canticle.
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Wherever Christ is present
Life and love are there.
Shattered hopes reviving,
Rising through despair.
Ringing bells of alleluias
Grace the mountainside. . . .
–Copyright © Don Payne Holmstrom
Wherever Christ is Present was composed as the result of a competition and commission from LutheranArts in honor of the historic 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. As recipients of the Baker Family Prize, David Evan Thomas was paired with Rev. Don Holmstrom and tasked with the creation of a congregational hymn and an anthem based thereon. The process was adjudicated by Susan Palo Cherwien, Aaron David Miller and Paul Westermeyer.
Recurring bell-like motifs are used in the organ accompaniment to give the music a dignified “hymn-anthem” feel which is reinforced by a final majestic verse for unison plus soprano descant. Quite a bit of the piece is in unison C major, with a brief foray into A-flat major and four-part writing. Even smaller choirs will find this accessible yet powerful. The text speaks of Christ’s presence bringing us joy, truth, justice and unceasing love.