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Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

- Alan Smith


PDF Sample

Use: General, Church Dedication
Required Resources: SATB choir, brass quartet, timpani, congregation, organ
Language: English

The traditional chant hymn for the Dedication of a Church is Urbs beata Jerusalem, an eight-stanza hymn from the 7th or 8th century, scripturally inspired by Ephesians 2:20, I Peter 2:5, and Revelation 21. John Mason Neale translated the Latin rather precisely in "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem." The hymn, "Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation," is a paraphrase of the original Latin.

The stately tune is taken from Henry Purcell's anthem, "O God, Thou Art My God," which was published in William Boyce's Cathedral Music, volume 2 (1760). The tune achieved great popularity after its publication in the 1939 Shortened Music Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern and after its use at several British royal weddings. The tune name, Westminster Abbey, comes from the famous church in London.

British composer Alan Smith has given us a decidedly useful arrangement, not overly difficult, yet quite effective in setting four verses with a variety of textures. After an introduction scored for brass quartet, timpani and organ, the first verse is sung in unison by choir and congregation, accompanied by the same instruments. Interludes separate all the verses. Verse 2 begins with SATB choir, a cappella, which is joined by a trumpet descant halfway through. An ostinato figure in the organ treble staff accompanies the women, then the men, then all in unison on verse 3. The last verse is scored for unison choir/congregation with a soaring descant for sopranos, accompanied by brass and timpani figures.

Written for the anniversary of the dedication of a church, this powerful hymn arrangement would be a majestic way to open this celebration in your own parish. Remember that, liturgically, the anniversary of the dedication of your church building is celebrated as a solemnity in your parish — it replaces any Sunday in Ordinary Time and for pastoral reasons, the solemnity may be moved from a weekday to a Sunday (during Ordinary Time), so that it may be properly celebrated by a large portion of the parish.


(suitable for organist as well as director)
Order #: 4311-s
Price: $8.50 each

Instrument Parts
Order #: 4311-p
Price: $5.00 per set

Choral Parts
Order #: 4311-c
Price: $1.50 each


- Hymns & Carols
- Ordinary Time
- SATB Choir
- Organ
- Instrumental

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