In the spring of 1979, the University of Kentucky Choristers began an annual reactment of a Shaker worship service at the Shaker village at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. I was blessed to be part of that first group, and the Shaker Hymn has held special significance for me ever since.
This recording was made during a live performance at Southport Christian Church in Indianapolis. The song is included on the CD Give Us a Song.
About Simple Gifts
The Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts, was composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848. It was part of the worship life of the Shaker faith community as a dance song and became one of the best known American folk melodies.
Aaron Copeland used the melody in the seventh section of his ballet, Appalachian Spring. John Williams also used the melody in Air and Simple Gifts, a piece arranged for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The tune is also the basis for the song Lord of the Dance.