At some point in my early 20’s, I wrote a tune which I entitled “City of Seven Gates.” (The reference is, as might be guessed, to J.R.R. Tolkien, and specifically to his fictional city of Minas Tirith, where the White Tree grows anew in the city’s highest circle.) I remembering playing the tune in public just twice in those early years: once in 1994 at a church service in Monterey, MA where I was a volunteer at Gould Farm through Brethren Volunteer Service, and once at a family holiday gathering in Lincoln, NE.
Since then I have periodically played the tune for offertory at church, but I never put it to choral use until 2016, when I set it to the text of “Amazing Grace” by John Newton. The choral setting was premiered by a small ensemble at the memorial service for the father of my friend, Adriana Manfredi.
The traditional hymn text is set to a shapely, original tune in this welcome freshening of a timeless classic.