Most of the Hillcrest family is aware that after every home football game, the One Spirit One Sound band gathers in a circle in the center of the field and plays what has been referred to by some as “that sad-sounding song.” Some people have even complained to past band directors, “Why can’t you play something more upbeat? Why does it have to sound like a funeral?” Many, however, are not aware that the words of the hymn played during the Spirit Chorale, “When Morning Gilds The Skies,” are a near-perfect reflection of Hillcrest Christian School’s mission to operate in a manner worthy of the Lord.
Recently, Mrs. Monica Fountain, a long-time HCS parent and band booster, wrote the following observations which so accurately explain the reasons this hymn is such an appropriate choice:
One of the long-standing traditions of the One Spirit One Sound Band is the Spirit Circle. This worship moment is centered around the playing of the hymn “When Morning Gilds the Skies” at the close of a performance day. As many churches today prefer praise songs rather than traditional hymns, there is treasure in these hymns which may become increasingly unfamiliar to our youth. The tune of “When Morning Gilds the Skies” is known to our band family, but the words may not be. The original song had 28 stanzas, but most hymnals include only 4. Shown below [the page break] are 16 of those stanzas. Even though the title refers to “morning,” this is a hymn which beautifully carries us through the realities of life with a reminder that in all things, “May Jesus Christ be praised!” Whether we… are celebrating a success or struggling with a difficult day, no matter the circumstances, we finish our day together in the playing of this hymn in praise of our Lord.
There is also a meaningful relationship between the words and the music. As the melody rises from the beginning of the song, it symbolizes the rising of the morning sun. The melody ends on unusually high notes for a hymn, proclaiming, “May Jesus Christ be praised!” Whether singing or playing an instrument, these high notes require extra effort to sing or play, which boldly and enthusiastically capture the meaning of this hymn.
May this hymn always hold a special place in our hearts, and may we be mindful of its application to our daily lives. Especially to our Seniors, as you prepare to leave Hillcrest and focus on your future, remember the significance of this hymn and the many blessings God has given us individually and as the One Spirit One Sound Hillcrest Band.
Wherever you go or whatever you do, in all things, “May Jesus Christ be praised!”