A QUICK NOTE TO BEGIN
Although we are all somewhat isolated in this "Safer At Home" season, we're all in this together and so I wanted to bring along a few special guests for some "virtual duets." Through the magic of technology they will each be "joining" me from their homes as well. Tonight's guest is Michelle Margiotta who also kindly lended her video editing skills to make this whole nutty plan work. For more information on Michelle, be sure to read the background & personal sections below (and do the same for each subsequent guest.)
Here's to being #alonetogether in this season.
Lord, as we look to our left and our right we see despair and destruction, but we ask you to be our wisdom, our battle shield, our inheritance and the place we fix our eyes during our time on earth until we reach Heaven's joys.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;
be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tow'r:
raise thou me heav'n-ward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
In the 8th century a monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote the Irish poem, “Rop tú mo Baile” ("Be Thou my Vision"), to remember and honor the faith of St. Patrick. Legend has it, that St. Patrick lit a fire in defiance of a pagan ritual decreed by King Logaire of Tara. However, the king was so impressed by the missionary's faith, that he allowed Patrick to continue his work despite his disobedience. In 1905, Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated this poem into the English format of the hymn that we know today.
The tune, SLANE, is an old Irish folk tune that was published as accompaniment for Be Thou My Vision in 1927 by arranger David Evans. The name "Slane" is the county of Ireland where the St. Patrick's acts of fiery defiance occurred. The opening motive of this particular hymn setting was composed by Dr. Michelle Margiotta, a contemporary multi-instrumentalist, Professor of Music Composition, music educator, worship leader, composer, and arranger. In addition to having released several albums of her own music, her past accomplishments include leading worship at Times Square Church in Manhattan, playing many concerts with contemporary Christian artist Kathy Troccoli and composing orchestrations for Kathy Lee Gifford.
In 2013 I was involved in a particular series of Christian women's conferences and exchanged a large volume of very professional (and honestly dry sounding) emails with a person who I only knew as "Michelle, the accompanist." Needless to say, the image I had in my head definitely did not match the mischievous, brilliant, big-hearted New York Italian that I finally met when the first event rolled around. It was "friendship at first sight" and since then we've had the privilege to not only play music and travel together (and eat lots of crepes and drink more coffee than any human should ever consume) but also to walk through some of life's hardest and sweetest seasons as the kind of friends that you can call at 2am and know will answer.
A person only has to spend a few seconds with Michelle to realize that she is so steeped in Jesus Christ that her gaze on His face never falters...He truly is her vision, so I cannot think of a more fitting piece to choose as a duet with her than this one. This particular arrangement was written by Dr. Margiotta in 2016 and debuted that same year at St. Bartholomew's Church in Nashville, TN. It has not been performed again until now.
***my sincerest thanks also to Michelle for not only agreeing to do a song with me, but also volunteering to be my video editor and save from posting really terrible quality videos.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!