Last month, Roy Norberg died.
Roy was the father of a friend I spent many happy hours with in childhood. I can remember him making sure, when I was visiting for Christmas, that I had a performance opportunity or two; and as I got older and played more instruments and started arranging, he was supportive of my efforts in that direction. He was also an organist, you see, and a much-loved teacher; but of course I primarily knew him as “Andrea’s Dad”. Sure, I remember his playing — but more than that, I remember him and my father sitting around talking about computer stuff; I remember meeting up at all manner of coffee shops and diners where they would talk and we would talk; I remember that he was always ready to crack a joke, always exuberant and enthusiastic, always passionate about what he cared about, sometimes grandiose. I cannot remember him ever speaking an unkind word to me. The world feels smaller and colder without him in it, but I am grateful to have known him.
Meanwhile, I had been wanting to compose a hymn for the Dedication Festival at St John the Evangelist, Brownswood Park. So I set William Cowper’s words, “Jesus, where’er Thy people meet” in a modernised version, with the last line of each verse repeated:
1. Jesus, where’er your people meet,
There they behold your mercy seat;
Where’er they seek you, you are found,
And ev’ry place is hallowed ground. (x2)
2. For you, within no walls confined,
Are dwelling in the humble mind;
Such ever bring you where they come,
And going, take you to their home. (x2)
3. Dear Shepherd of your chosen few,
Your former mercies here renew;
Here to our waiting hearts proclaim
The sweetness of your saving name. (x2)
4. Here may we prove the pow’r of pray’r
To strengthen faith and sweeten care,
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all heav’n before our eyes. (x2)
5. Lord, we are few, but you are near;
Nor short your arm, nor deaf your ear:
O rend the heav’ns, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts your own. (x2)
Unfortunately, I forgot to record this when we sang it at St John’s! Another time, I hope. It seemed to go well.
As usual, this music is also available on CPDL, and it is free to download and use, on the condition that you also share your work freely. I can release music this way because of the financial support of patrons at Patreon and elsewhere. Please consider joining them if you can; if you can’t, then please boost the signal.