Some of the happiest tunes in Christian hymnals have deep ties to children’s singing and today’s featured tune, Ellacombe, is no exception.
Bright, bubbly, and bouncy, Ellacombe was composed by the ancient, prolific composer Anonymous and the first version appeared in a 1784 chapel hymnal for the Duke of Württemberg. Successive German hymnals altered the tune before a version by W. H. Monk came to the English-speaking world in an appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern (1868).
Hymns Ancient and Modern paired Ellacombe with Come, Sing with Holy Gladness – a sweet, gender-biased children’s text by John Daniell (1819-1898) that is rarely seen today. But Ellacombe continues to delight us in modern hymnals with two other kid-friendly texts: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, the Little Children Sang and I Sing the Mighty Power of God.
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna was penned by English poet and hymn-writer Jeannette Threlfall (1821-1880) and of all her hymns, this is the only one still popular today. Threfall’s text has been reordered and altered through the years but her original sentiment remains – combining the majesty of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the tender account of Jesus welcoming the children to him.
The second kid-friendly text, I Sing the Mighty Power of God, was authored by Isaac Watts – a hymn-writing rebel who I talked about in a earlier post. Watts’ original eight stanzas were published in the first hymnal intended primarily for children: Divine and Moral Songs for the Use of Children (1715). Today you’ll find the hymn in both adult’s and children’s hymnals, however most condense Watts’ eight stanzas into three and some language has been altered to make the hymn more inclusive.
Both of these kid-friendly hymns make great bookends for Holy Week – on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday – and since they share a theme of praise I thought it would be fun to match their tune with another cheerful hymn, Praise to the Lord, to create a sparkling, joy-filled piano medley. Enjoy!
that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies.
We sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
the moon shines full at his command, and all the stars obey.