My friend Carlos Colón-Quintana was kind enough to commission a new choral work for an upcoming concert at Baylor University. The concert is an interesting mix of children’s choir, fiddle, barbershop quartet, and strings, unified around the theme of William Walker’s Southern Harmony. I decided to write an arrangement of “The Christian’s Farewell,” which most of us know as “How Firm a Foundation.”
There was a point about a week ago at which I was having doubts that I could coax this into a finished composition that did justice to the depth of the text and the simplicity of the melody. But now I’m really pleased with how it turned out. (And, no, I don’t always say that.)
Having complimented myself on the score, I’ll quickly add that I’m not particularly proud of the demo included here. It’s a combination of Finale playing the instruments and me singing both the children’s and men’s choir parts. But, hey–you work with what you’ve got. Take a listen to the demo or read the lyrics below.
1. Farewell, my dear brethren, the time is at hand
That we must be parted from this social band;
Our sev’ral engagements now call us away,
Our parting is needful, and we must obey.
2. Farewell, faithful soldiers, you’ll soon be discharged,
The war will be ended, your bounty enlarged,
With shouting and singing, though Jordan may roar,
You’ll enter fair Canaan, and rest on the shore. Farewell.
3. Farewell, younger brethren, just listed for war,
Sore trials await you, but Jesus is near;
Although you must travel the dark wilderness,
Your Captain’s before you, he’ll lead you to peace.
4. Farewell, trembling mourners, with sad, broken hearts,
O hasten to Jesus, and choose the good part!
He’s full of compassion, and mighty to save,
His arms are extended, your souls to receive.
6. Farewell, my dear brethren, farewell all around,
Perhaps we’ll not meet till the last trump shall sound.
To meet you in glory I give you my hand,
Our Savior to praise in a pure social band.