As We Gather At Your Table
Eleanor Daley

Composer Eleanor Daley
Text Carl P. Daw, Jr.
Voicing SATB, organ
Topics Communion, Sacraments
Lectionary Usage Proper 23A, Proper 11B
Price $2.25 (U.S.)
Length 3' 25" Released 1/2020
Catalog no. 410-650
Difficulty Mod. easy
Series Sarah MacDonald Choral Series

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Carl Daw's text speaks of the power of gathering communally in worship for the celebration of word and sacrament. Eleanor Daley sets the words to original, hymn-like music: tune in unison, unaccompanied SATB, and tune with descant. The anthem was originally commissioned by the Mississippi Conference on Church and Liturgy, to celebrate the rebuilding of St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church (Gulfport) after its destruction by Hurricane Katrina.

As we gather at your Table,
       as we listen to your Word,
help us know, O God, your presence;
       let our hearts and minds be stirred.
Nourish us with sacred story
       till we claim it as our own;
teach us through this holy banquet
       how to make Love's victory known.

Turn our worship into witness
       in the sacrament of life;
send us forth to love and serve you,
       bringing peace where there is strife.
Give us, Christ, your great compassion
       to forgive as you forgave;
may we still behold your image
       in the world you died to save.

Gracious Spirit, help us summon
       other guests to share that feast
where triumphant Love will welcome
       those who had been last and least.
There no more will envy blind us
       nor will pride our peace destroy,
as we join with saints and angels
       to repeat the sounding joy.

--Carl P. Daw, Jr.
© 1989 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188

review copy

"Carl Daw's masterful text, introduced to many congregations through its inclusion in the hymnal supplement Wonder, Love, & Praise, is paired with a boldly confident tune by Daley that contrasts beautifully with Skinner Chavez-Mélo's tune found in the hymnal supplement. Daley's memorable tune is easy to learn, while nevertheless showing a lot of character. To assist in this balance, she takes a largely diatonic melody--only the third phrase contains a few fattened seventh scale degrees--and harmonizes it richly. This gives the music plenty of musical variety, while keeping demands on the choir light. Daw's three poetical stanzas elicit a conventional structure of unison verse, four-part harmony verse without accompaniment, and final verse unison with descant. The formula is familiar, yet the iteration does not rely on clichés. Daley's finely-honed skills as a composer are evident throughout, making this an excellent musical setting of a beautiful text that is nearly sight-readable by even choirs of modest skill. Eleanor Daley." -AAM Journal, March 2020


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