“Dream On, Dream On”
Words by Hae Jon Kim/Music by Sun Kyung Lee
Arranged by Michael Burkhardt
This Sunday, October 6th, is World Communion Sunday. We will be joining with congregations around the world in celebrating the Lord’s Supper and raising our voices in praise and worship. In addition, This Sunday we will be beginning our new church theme – “Gathered in Grace … Connected in Love … Sent to Serve”.
The Jubilee Choir, Youth Choir, Adult Handbell Choir, and Chancel Choir will join together to present a special anthem to commemorate this date. The anthem “Dream On” is a beautiful arrangement of a hymn that will be included in “Glory to God”, our new Presbyterian Hymnal.
This future-oriented Korean text draws on the promises of a number of biblical passages. The first stanza is based primarily on Isaiah 11:6–9. The second stanza includes references to Ephesians 2:14–16 and Colossians 1:20, while the third stanza uses the images of Isaiah 40:29–31.
The words were written by Hae Jon Kim, a Korean American Bishop of the United Methodist Church. Kim was born in Seoul, Korea in 1935. During the Korean War Kim became a Christian. While working for a US Marine Corps Chaplain translating and interpreting sermons, he decided to enter the ministry.
This arrangement of the hymn “Dream On, Dream On” was commissioned by the Presbyterian Association of Musicians for the 2013 Montreat Conferences on Worship and Music. The hymn was used throughout the week during the worship services, and during the final concert at the end of the week, all of the conference participants (children through adults) premiered this arrangement, accompanied by the arranger, Michael Burkhardt, on the organ.
Most pieces of music that use a combination of children, youth, and adult singers begin with the children singing and then move to the youth, and finally the adults – causing the piece to begin quietly and serenely and then to grow in intensity, ending in a climactic moment involving all the choirs.
This particular arrangement by Burkhardt interprets the text is a different way.
The piece begins with the adult choir quietly speaking to the younger singers by encouraging them to “Dream on, dream on, children of peace, till on earth God’s kingdom come.”
The children respond by reminding the older and sometimes more jaded adults to “Hope on, Easter people.” The youth join with the children to add weight to this plea.
Finally, on the third and final verse, all three choirs, joined by the handbells, invite the listener to “Mount Up to the heights, beyond the clouds.” They remind all of us that God will keep us from growing weary and will always renew us. The final notes of the piece are a single “singing bell” joined with wind chimes, in a final entreaty to “Dream on…”