Articles by this author:
Psalter Hymnal 194
Rejoice in the Lord 169
Trinity Hymnal 148
Isaiah 40 is often read and sung during the Advent season. It's a passage that speaks of the peace and comfort that the coming Messiah will bring. The prophet encourages the people of Israel to prepare a way for the Lord: to "make straight in the desert a highway for our God" (RSV). The first three movements of Handel's Messiah are taken from Isaiah 40:1-5.
I began writing hymn tunes the same year that I began directing my first church choir. I was looking for hymns that would serve as choral closings for a service, and I grew frustrated. Although I found some excellent evening hymns, they were set to some very disappointing tunes. So I brashly decided to do something about it: I composed my first hymn tune for "The Day Is Past and Over," a song I found in The English Hymnal.