Piece of the week 27 – ‘My hands I lift to you’

This song is for SATB choir and piano, and I wrote it a few years ago for a family wedding. It was at this time of the year, in a hot spell of weather, and it took place outside, on a farm, in the beautiful countryside.

The couple wanted the ceremony of a traditional wedding, but with a secular focus  – and  with plenty of music, from a traditional choir to a jazz combo, and from a string quartet to a samba band!

My responsibility was to write the anthem – and we chose secular words, combining a traditional Celtic blessing with a Native American prayer:

My hands I lift to you as you journey together;
My head I bow to you as you know peace together;
My soul I raise to you, my heart enfolding you,
As you find love together.

Let the sun give you happiness, let the moon give you rest,
Let the rain give you healing, let the wind give you strength,
As you walk gently through the world all the days of your life,
As you find love together.

We had a scratch choir of guests who were just there on the day, so my aim was to have easy-to-learn melodies – one for each of the two verses above – which, after some extra verses, are combined for the final verse.

Directed by my wife Jan, we performed it in the blazing hot sun surrounded by buzzing bees and trilling birds, and you can hear the result – and see the score – here. I shan’t forget trying to sing while resisting attacks from various air-borne insects….

I hope these lovely words would speak to many couples, whatever their background and beliefs.

The music is published by Banks Music Publications here.