How can I keep from singing (SATB)

Music: Robert Lowry arr. Sheena Phillips. Words: Pauline T.
performance time approx 4m 00s
Range S: c' – g'' / A: f – c'' / T: c – f' / B: F – c'
Price code: D
Complexity: ***

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The words of this song were printed in the New York Observer on 7 August 1868 under the title Always Rejoicing, and attributed to ‘Pauline T.’ The following year Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister and hymn-writer, published the same words (but unattributed) and a tune for them (which he wrote himself) in a song book called Bright Jewels for the Sunday School. The song became well known in the USA during the folk revival of the 1960s, and is also popular among choirs as a kind of anthem about the joy of singing.

This concert arrangement, in which the tune appears over a repeating refrain of “My life flows on in endless song”, was commissioned by Robert Trocchia, Artistic Director of the Lancaster Chorale (Ohio), to commemorate the life of Nick Jourdan, a Chorale singer and friend. The recording is by the Magpie Consort, Columbus, Ohio.


My life flows on in endless song:
Above Earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, though far off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing.
All things are mine since I am His:
How can I keep from singing?

Published in the New York Observer, August 7, 1868, under the title Always Rejoicing and attributed to “Pauline T.”

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