Callou, callay! O frabjous day!
Yes, this joyful song leads me to quote Lewis Carroll – because there is in both a pure celebration of the moment. As arranged here by the always delightful Susan Peck, Wendy Luella Perkins’ song has energy and life. And because of the STJ commission’s commitment to good singing, Peck has added a harmony line. Her choral arrangement adds even more harmonies and rhythms that bring the song as close to Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” without going full-on funk.
It’s a great piece. And…this isn’t the whole song.
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day,
For all gather’d here, and those far away;
For this time (food) we share with love and care,
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
I know this because I asked.
From 2009-2013 (and picking up again this year), I was the coordinator for our cluster-wide joint services – four (now five) congregations coming together to worship and connect. In our first year, it was about building bridges between our congregation; our second year was then about seeing ourselves not just as individual congregations but as one larger body in the Capital Region. We wanted to open joyfully with this song, but it didn’t quite do all we wanted it to do – including give time for a processional. The committee talked about other songs but kept coming back to this one, and finally I said I’d contact the composer to see if she had other verses.
Which she did – and happily gave us permission to use:
Oh, we give thanks for the old and young,
For a time of wonder, joy, and fun
For all we give as we grow and live,
Oh, we give thanks for the old and young.
This gave us a generational connection even as we were making other, broader connections. And it gave us another verse to sing, deepening the meaning of all that we were giving thanks for on that day.
We give thanks for this precious song.