- Singing the Faith: 243
- Marjorie Dobson
- “Redhills” by David Lee
Ideas for use
“Redhills” is a tune that would sound beautiful sung in four-part unaccompanied harmony. If your church or community has a group that could sing verse 1 in this way, then why not create that opportunity.
The words themselves suggest the possibility of miming the situations described. In verses 1 to 3, Marjorie recounts gospel stories that might be very simply acted out; verse 4 offers the creative possibility of illustrating the wise use of money and of showing loving care with “open-hearted giving”.
For another account of the feeding of the five thousand, see Anna Briggs' The crowd had listened to your word (website only).
Arguably, David Lee’s setting of Marjorie Dobson’s text is his most traditional in Singing the Faith. But even here the four part harmony and the steady but lilting “waltz”-time melody are given a twist at the end of each verse. Here, David has us stretch higher in our singing range – as if echoing the transformation (and our aspiration to be transformed) with which Marjorie closes each verse:
- a widow’s small gifts have “so much meaning because she gave her all” (v.2)
- a boy’s gift of loaves and fishes is “multiplied by grace” (v.3)
- even the rich young man who turns sorrowfully away at the end of verse 1 challenges us to examine our own way of life and ourselves to be transformed
Of the tune’s name, David Lee writes:
Redhills is a mile or so north-west of Durham City and was the site of the Battle of Neville's Cross. For some thirteen years St. John's Church, Neville's Cross (the parish that included the Redhills area), was our family church, where I was music director. The tune was originally written to mark the leaving of our vicar, to accompany an existing text by Brian Wren: "To Christ our hearts now given" (Faith Renewed: 1995 Hope Publishing / Stainer & Bell). Brian’s hymn talks about the journeys and progressions we all have to make in life, and of Christ walking with us.
(Also see In praise of psalms - meet David Lee.)