I know that in my head at night, I paint pictures. Sometimes these pictures keep me awake. My father, given that he has been blessed with the gift of music, recites hymns to himself as a matter of prayer. Whatever the gift, I believe that it is intended that creative expression be offered back to our Creator.
Dad sang Prayer Perfect in the Moose Jaw Christian music festival a ‘few’ years back. (smiling, as I type this) and now he is thinking about singing it again, at the age of 82, likely in a different key. I wish I could be sitting in a pew on the day that this might happen!
I have archived most of Dad’s sheet music. It only took a minute to locate the piece and I’ve enjoyed, the past few minutes, learning about the history of the piece. A poem by James Whitcomb Riley, the piece was later put to music by Ervine J. Stenson, and published by SAM FOX. Dad’s copy of the score has a copyright date of 1930. It cost 60 cents at the time.
When James Whitcomb Riley died, Woodrow Wilson called him “a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a thoughtful view of many things that other men would have missed”.
- The Prayer Perfect song / poem by James Whitcomb Riley ; music by Ervine J. Stenson.
- Stenson, Ervine J.
- Other Creators
- Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916.
- Sydney : Sam Fox, c1916.
- Physical Description
- 1 score ( p.) ; 28 cm.
- For low medium voice.
While there are other versions, this is The Prayer Perfect written by James Whitcomb Riley and musical arrangement by Ervine J Stenson.
A quick narrative…a memory. My Dad kept his music in a beautiful old leather satchel and most times, it was kept in the linen cupboard. When I was a little girl, I remembered one time when Mom’s back was turned, taking out some of my father’s music and colouring pictures on it. For a very long time, I felt very scared that I had ruined something very special and did not ever make confession of my actions. Just today, as I went through the music, I found such drawings and they made me smile.
Prayer Perfect for Mary-Jo