Perfect for an infant baptism, Jones’s arrangement of this familiar hymn captures the tenderness of text and tune. Unison women sing stanza 1 followed by the men on stanza 2. A six-measure interlude parallels the introduction while modulating from G major to A-flat major. Three-part texture on stanza 3 allows the men’s part to be sung unison or by tenors alone. Stanza 4, set a cappella, opens into traditional four-part writing. The bass eighth notes enhances the soprano melody and adds rhythmic motion to this final stanza. A brief organ postlude completes the arrangement.
The accompaniment establishes the child-focused text blanketed with oscillating eighth notes colored by interjections of skipping syncopations. Vocal parts are contained within the accompaniment. Standard hymn writing style makes this easy to teach and sing.
Performance options include altering the text of stanza 1 for a child dedication in place of a baptism. The author suggests the following text adaptation: “Child of blessing, child of promise, consecrated and assigned, to the care of God who claims you unto love and grace divine.” Stanzas 1 and 2 may be sung as the child and family come to the baptismal font conclude at measure 27, beat 1, on a G major chord. Stanzas 3 and 4 may be sung as the child is presented to the congregation. Begin the anthem at measure 28 and sing to the end. The entire anthem may be sung as a call to baptism as the font is prepared or in response to the baptism as the child is presented. An A/P CD is available for this anthem - item # Appropriate days: Services celebrating baptism.
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