Tis a Gift to be Simple

  • Post published:02/01/2009
  • Post comments:5 Comments

Simple Gifts
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

This little song was written by Elder Joseph Brackett at the Alfred, Maine community of Shakers. Some will be familiar with the simple tune because of its inclusion in Aaron Copeland’s work Appalachian Spring.

It seemed so appropriate to me that composer John Williams also used tune in his composition called Air and Simple Gifts which was played at the celebratory inauguration of President Barack Obama. Itzhak Perlman on violin, Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Gabriela Montero on piano and Anthony McGill on clarinet had to sync their instruments because the cold weather prevented them from staying in tune, and yet the melody and sentiments could not have been more perfectly chosen.

This is a time when we are searching for simplicity, perhaps even being nudged energetically into that simplicity. We are turning and hoping that we all come down right, in the valley of love and delight.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Wendy

    Nice! I enjoyed that.

  2. Anna

    Thanks for visiting my blog Pat and for your comment.
    The words of ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple’ have certainly made me stop and think. I watched the inauguration ceremony on television, and was moved by the music as well as President Obama’s address.

  3. Pat Leuchtman

    Wendy, we live not far from the restored hancock Shaker Village and have gone to many events there.
    Anna, I love this song. The melody has also been used for the Lord of the Dance hymn.

  4. VP

    That song was also performed on a TV programme over here explaining how music developed through the ages.

    We watched the inauguration ceremony too – great to see history being made.

  5. Carolyn gail

    Hi Pat and thanks for sharing that lovely song on GBMD.

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