Gibralter and Christmas

We like to end the three-hour West Gallery Quire
meetings with something rousing that we know well, so that even if
we’ve been struggling with unfamiliar music where the words are on
a different page with the notes, we can go home feeling like we
sound good when we’ve worked through those difficulties.

Last Sunday we were concentrating on Christmas music, much of
which was new, and even the stuff we’ve been playing for years we
mostly haven’t played since last January. There are a couple of
rousing pieces suitable for ending on, but we’d sung those already
when it got to be time for the last number. So our director
suggested that we end with one of our really common (because it’s
really good) ending numbers: Gibralter.

The text is part of Isaac Watts version of Psalm

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run;

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

People and realms of every tongue

Dwell on his love with sweetest song;

And infant voices shall proclaim

Their early blessings on his name.

Blessings abound where’er he reigns,

The pris’ner leaps to lose his chains;

The weary find eternal rest,

And all the sons of want are blest.

Let every creature rise and bring

Peculiar honors to our King;

Angels descend with songs again,

And earth repeat the long Amen.

Bruce was apologetic about Gibralter not being a
Christmas piece, but I said, “It has ‘infant voices’ and
‘angels’ — it’s a lot like Christmas music.”

He added, “Prisoners?”

I don’t see why you couldn’t make a really good Christmas card
with the prisoners leaping to lose their chains.

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