Orchestrated Sacred Works with EROP

Many of you have wonderful orchestras in your places of worship, and I wanted to make you aware of two EROP works that might be great choices for you and your congregations.

You Are Being Redeemed

TheReverend Doctor John RowanClaypool, IV-1

The Reverend Doctor John Rowan Claypool, IV


Dr. John Claypool was one of the most beloved human beings I have ever encountered…a former Baptist minister who later became an Episcopal priest. I had heard his benediction spoken by many of my own pastors since college days, but did not realize it was John’s until his death in 2005.

John Claypool was very special to my husband and me. We had lunch with John and his wife Ann back in 2001, and without our saying a word about our possibilities for the future, John just said to my “fiancé” (at the time), “So…what are your plans for this lady?” He was so perceptive and observant. He was an amazing individual in more ways than can be conveyed in this writing, but you need not travel far to hear his name mentioned with the greatest respect and admiration.

I had no idea John Claypool had written my favorite benediction, until I read an account of his memorial service in 2005. John had died on September 3, 2005 from complications of multiple myeloma, and Dr. Bill Hull’s wonderful memorial tribute to John ended with his benediction. I eventually contacted Ann to see if I might set this wonderful benediction to music, and she graciously agreed to grant permission. I was actually sad when the piece was completed….to know that I could no longer work with such beautiful words. It was an extraordinary experience.

The greatest benefit to me in writing this piece: Ann spoke the benediction to me over and over in a phone call (15 or 20 repetitions?), to allow me to really internalize John’s cadence, inflection, tempo, and emphasis in my mind’s ear. Knowing these nuances allowed me to write a more compatible melody to capture the rise and fall in his inflection….his tempo allowed me to set my own….his cadence created the rhythms….his pauses created note durations….his tone of voice created the style and key change. The greatest compliment I have received regarding this piece was from a lady on the day of its premiere at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. I overheard her comment…”I felt as if John himself was here, speaking to us.” Ann….we did it!