When I think of this hymn, I can imagine the opening sequences of general conference with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing this in the background, welcoming in a happy new day of conference. Or maybe it’s in the middle of a conference session, like so:
But did you know that this beautiful, cheerful hymn was originally written for youth choirs? Back in the day, the Church encouraged the youth to form their own choirs, and since Leroy J. Robertson thought they needed more good music to sing, he wrote this. Interestingly, Robertson usually uses lyrics from outside sources for the tunes he composed, but in this case, the Spirit led him to write the lyrics as well.
Robertson’s daughter recalls that this hymn, “sprang from the composer’s ardent desire to bring music of great quality to the youth of the LDS Church. Verse one gives joyful praise to the Lord; verse two develops the idea that blessings flow to those who serve in the kingdom of God; verse three outlines the basic gospel doctrine of the true Church, which brings the saints to salvation. The words and music together present a message of joy and promise, characteristic of Leroy Robertson’s profound love for the gospel.”
I think with this in mind, it is powerful to imagine the lyrics for this lovely hymn sung with gusto by our very own youth.
- On this day of joy and gladness,Lord, we praise thy holy name;In this sacred place of worship,We thy glories loud proclaim!Alleluia, Alleluia,Bright and clear our voices ring,Singing songs of exultationTo our Maker, Lord, and King!
- Open wide the fount of Zion;Let her richest blessings flowTo the Saints who nobly serve theeIn the gospel here below.Alleluia, Alleluia,Bright and clear our voices ring,Singing songs of exultationTo our Maker, Lord, and King!
- May we labor in the kingdom—By the prophets long foretold—Where the children of the promiseShall be gathered in the fold.Alleluia, Alleluia,Bright and clear our voices ring,Singing songs of exultationTo our Maker, Lord, and King!
Here are a few beautiful performances that I like.
This one is an enthusiastic missionary with a ukulele.
Like fancy organ work? This one’s for you.
And I have two choir renditions. The first is a Baptist church choir, and the second is the Men’s and Women’s Choir of BYU-Idaho, which I consider to be especially lovely. Enjoy!
Jenna Dilts is a mother of three pre-school-aged children. Last year she led a discussion of Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles on the AO forum. You can find her blogging at To Work Wonders, where she writes about the books she reads. She has aspirations to work through AO year 1 for herself.