Variants on a Moravian Hymn
SMC S654/ HL 3777945
Commissioned by the Freedom High School Band to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of that school's hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Realizing that Bethlehem was in the very center of the many settlements of Moravian Baptists who founded this city, the composer searched for some sort of musical identity that would be appropriate, and found an obscure, but very beautiful, Moravian Christmas hymn entitled "Morning Star, O Cheering Sight". Instead of composing a normal "theme and variations" based on this hymn, Barnes opted to save the tune in its entirety until the very end when introduced by a trombone choir, so it is essentially a "variations and theme". The instrumentation was chosen because the Moravians are most famous for their wonderful trombone choirs accompanying the singing in their church services. If the trombonists cannot play the hymn, multiple alternative instrumentation options are offered.