HYMN 175 I Will Always Remember the Days of Old

Text: John Ylvisaker (1938-2017). Tune: Norwegian Folk tune: Jeg ser deg, O Guds Lam å stå 1. I will always remember the days of old And worship the Lord of Creation. I will always remember the stories told By those of the past generations. R/ I’ll sing with all the saints who’ve gone on before, And sing with all the saints of earth And I’ll always remember the day of old And worship the Lord of Creation. 2. I will always remember the days of old, Confirmed by the Lord’s invitation. I will always remember the stories told By those who have brought me salvation. R/I’ll sing with all the saints who’ve gone on before, And sing with all the saints of earth. And I’ll always remember the days of old, Confirmed by the Lord’s invitation. 3. I will always remember the days of old, Rejoicing in loving relations. I will always remember the stories told, The source of a lasting foundation. R/ I’ll sing with all the saints who’ve gone on before, And sing with all the saints of earth. And I’ll always remember the days of old, Rejoicing in loving relations. 4. I will always remember the days of old, Sustained by the Lord’s congregation. I will always remember the stories told And join in the great celebration. R/I’ll sing with all the saints who’ve gone on before, And sing with all the saints of earth. And I’ll always remember the days of old Sustained by the Lord’s congregation. Copyright John Ylvisaker/reprinted with permission MEDITATION This is an interesting piece by John Ylvisaker that I hope will get more use. It would fit perfectly on All Saints’ Day. The tune is associated in Norway with Hans Adolph Brorson’s “I See Thee Standing, Lamb of God/Jeg ser deg, O Guds Lam å stå, an Ascension hymn that was in the Concordia and Lutheran Hymnary but with another tune. This is John at his best. Those who know the Norwegian tune and Brorson’s text on the saints in heaven with Jesus will hear that under John’s words. Both are well suited for All Saint’s Day. John wrote it sometime in 1994 just before the Ylvisaker reunion in Norway in Sogndal Sogndal where his sister lived and his grandfather had emigrated from. If you watch the DVD on his life, this song is what closes it. A beautiful scene as you see the reunion and the gorgeous vistas of Sognefjord and the area. We sang it in the Muskego church on the Luther Seminary Campus for the150th anniversary of the building in October 1994. There were people from the Wind Lake, Wisconsin, congregation, once called Muskego, there who had gone to some effort to restore it in memory of their grandparents. The services connected people to the ones who had gone before. People knew their grandparents, or great grandparents had been baptized, confirmed, married, even buried from there. They knew the joys and sorrows that met in that place. Our singing and speaking were filled with echoes that went deep into the marrow of everyone. What fascinated me was that while we sang songs from their old hymnals that many of them knew, this was the hymn that they spoke of afterwards. They knew it in their bones. Yet, it was the first time any of them had heard it. Why? I think it was the folk tune. Folktunes speak immediately to people. It is not difficult music, and as Norwegian Americans they knew that sound from other hymns from the old country. And the text, which is an ingenious piece of work, with many repetitions, simply said what they were feeling as they sang. Repetition in poetry is important. Those of us who grew up writing themes in school can remember the red marks of our teachers when we repeated words in an essay. We learned to haul out the thesaurus and substitute synonyms for the word we had repeated. In great rhetoric and poetry, however, repetition is a musical impulse and adds to the impact of the word. John’s frequent use of “I will always remember” makes the song easy to remember. There is not a lot of new information in each stanza—as there should not be in tunes. Repetition is important for the sake of memory—and by the end of the song one can look up from the text and sing without reading. It causes reverie and connects the singer to the moment and thousands of moments before. There is no Youtube version of this song—you can see it in a beautiful DVD done on the life of John which I will link to below. But sing it along with the Norwegians singing the Brorson hymn. You will learn it quickly and it will be a blessing to you. With all the repetitions, musical and poetic, you will also remember it and be humming it for the rest of the day. And it will be all for the good to remember the saints of old and look forward to seeing them again at the great celebration! HYMN INFO This is published in his book of songs, Borning Cry. The best way to hear it is to go on line and view the DVD on his life. LINKS Bodø Domkor https://youtu.be/9O40I4YMkXQ Marianne Juvik Sæbø https://youtu.be/F5jgEuD4sLs Jazz version https://youtu.be/d6w9l7LOX7s DVD on John's life and work https://www.selectlearning.org/store/all/how-can-i-keep-singing-life-and-legacy-john-carl-ylvisaker-streaming

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