The Gift to Sing

The Gift to Sing

Commissioned by Celia Ellingson through LutheranArts in honor of Gary Aamodt's 80th Birthday, and dedicated to and premiered by the St. Olaf Christmas Festival.

Advent and Christmas is a time of excitement and celebration. However, it is difficult not to see the darkness of the world. Where the treetops glisten and behind the toys and goodies it can be cold and unsafe. And it is in the darkness that we need light. The candle can light our hope and remind us that we are much more than what is darkest in our lives. Therefore this time of the year can be a time of light over the darkness. I hope the message in this carol can guide us to become carriers of a light that brings joy, hope, courage, peace, grace, and love, now and when the star dims. “Let your light shine before others.” (Sermon on the Mount)

  • Voices: SATB div.
  • Instrumentation: Piano
  • Duration: 4'30 minutes
  • Words: James Weldon Johnson
  • Year: 2017
  • Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.


I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.