In 1994, I served for a year as a volunteer in Brethren Volunteer Service. Most of my term was spent in western Massachusetts, at Gould Farm, which is a residential working farm for mentally ill adults. Many of my fellow staff had lived for many years as part of the Gould Farm community, and had amazing life stories. One such person was Loul, a lively and creative elderly Dutch woman who had been in a concentration camp as a young woman.
One Sunday, Loul invited me to join her over the border in Connecticut for a concert of the Paul Winter Consort. The program for the day was “Missa Gaia,” and among its memorable features, (including a procession which included an Andean condor), was a beautiful movement on the plainsong “Adoro te devote.” It was my first time to hear this perfect, ancient melody, and I remember thinking at the time, “is it possible for a melody to contain goodness in it? If so, this one does.” Later I was glad to find it included in my denominational hymnal, and turned it into a communion anthem for my church choir.
(I have also used the “Adoro te devote” melody as a choir warm-up for many years, on the syllables “mi-me-mi-me-ma-mo- mu, mi-me-ma-mo-mu.” It works great for balancing tone and for legato technique.)