Playing in Worship Services - Eternal Father
by, 08-09-2008 at 06:00 PM (239 Views)
I have written before about the value (for the player and the congregation) of performing in a worship setting. Today I had the chance to play along with our closing hymn in church. The hymn was based on the tune for Eternal Father, which I especially like because Eternal Father is the Coast Guard (and Navy) hymn. I played it for various reasons during the 26 years I was in the U.S. Coast Guard Band. It was often used in ceremonies as well as funerals.
We used four verses today and I used the Douglas Smith book of hymn descants to help me (shown here). For the first verse I played the melody from the Smith book. I stayed out during the second verse. Then on the third verse I played the tenor line of the hymn, which works very well as a counter melody (it was actually the part the euphoniums had in the band arrangement). For the last verse I use the descant from the Hill book. Click below to hear the sound file from that service. Forgive a couple spots where some quick passing notes didn't come out (I sat for an hour without playing, which may have contributed, but it goes with the gig and it's good experience!). The mics were right above me, so you will hear the euphonium much louder than it would have sounded acoustically.
Eternal Father with Organ and Congregation
You can find the Douglas Hill book on a page I have built with many resources for performing in church. The book I used is Volume One. Here is the treble clef page:
Sheet Music: Trumpet or Euphonium Hymns and Descants
And here is a page with bass clef versions:
Sheet Music: Trombone or Euphonium Hymns and Descants
Speaking of Eternal Father, I was very struck by its use as part of a movie soundtrack. I first saw this movie after I had already been in the military, and Eternal Father had a lot of significance for me. The movie Crimson Tide (Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington) was about a nuclear submarine sent out to wait for word of an impending war. As the sub was heading out on the surface, the officers were talking. Then the sub went under the water and just disappeared in the vastness of the ocean. During that scene, Eternal Father was being sung by a male chorus, and it was an extremely powerful moment. It's a pretty good movie in other ways, too!