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I Will Be a Child of Peace
Shaker Hymn

Composer and conductor Elaine Hagenberg’s arrangement of an obscure Shaker hymn tune O Holy Father builds from a unison first verse to the thick four-part texture of its final verse before finishing as simply as it begins. According to manuscripts, this hymn tune originated in 1851 and is attributed to Alonzo Gilman of the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine (Patterson, 1974). Hagenberg states that she was drawn to this song by the beautiful simplicity of the Shaker melody, unique 5/4 meter, and most importantly, the uplifting text of a prayer for peace and purity. The Shakers were guided by core values of conviction, integrity, inclusion and innovation. They were early advocates of gender equality, welcomed African Americans, practiced pacifism and put community needs above individual ones (The Shakers, Shaker Museum).