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Reflections from the Gloria Dei Choir

Nov 25, 2017

In observance of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the Gloria Dei offers two anthems that celebrate Christ the King. Jane Marshall wrote her very first choral anthem “My Eternal King” as a 26 year-old homemaker and volunteer alto in the choir at Dallas’ Highland Park Methodist Church. Retired but still going strong at 92 years young, Jane continues to teach sacred music at her alma mater, Southern Methodist University. The text is a translation of a 17th Century Latin poem by Rev. Edward Caswall, an Anglican clergyman and hymn writer who converted to Roman Catholicism. He is best known today for his translations of the Roman Breviary into English as well as for his hymn texts.

During Communion, the choir sings John Ness Beck’s arrangement of the hymn “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” The hymn text, based on Psalm 23, was written in 1868 by celebrated English hymn writer and cleric Henry Baker. Baker's last words upon his untimely death aged 55 were reportedly words from “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” John Ness Beck (1930-1987) earned a Master’s in composition from Ohio State University, where he taught music theory until he left to serve as owner/manager of The University Music House, where Beck became interested in music publishing. In 1972 he and John Tatgenhorst formed Beckenhorst Press as a vehicle to publish their compositions and arrangements. After Beck’s death from cancer in 1987, composer/arranger Craig Courtney succeeded Beck in leading Beckenhorst Press.

—Dr. Kevin St. Clair

Director, Gloria Dei Choir

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