On Saturday morning at 11:00 A.M. many of us who were strolling around the Capitol Square at the Farmers’ Market took an hour respite at the Overture Center. The Madison Symphony Orchestra has a weekend concert underway, but the famed concert organ was center stage for a morning performance.
The organ is utterly amazing. Not for the first time have I been dazzled with the array of sounds and volume from this stunning instrument.
The purpose of the hour was to participate in a free community hymn sing backed with the large organ that has 4,040 pipes and weighs 174 tons, with three keyboards and 65 stops. The biggest pipe is 32 feet tall and weight 1,200 pounds.
Needless to say no voice–or even many–could compete with such a wondrous sounding instrument. But we had fun trying. Samuel Hutchinson, as organist, made for a remarkable musical experience. What a gifted man.
One of the songs that we sang was a selection I was not aware of before yesterday morning. The hymn spoke to so much of what I believe about the world and all the diverse regions that may be separated by oceans and space, but which are at the end of any debate so much alike.. From the words of Lloyd Stone, that were set to music by Jean Sibelius, we sang “This Is My Song”.
The world is a complicated place with too many areas of bloodshed and strife. So many times we often think that we are somehow superior to the world. At those times we need to be reminded of the words to this song.
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.