Nearer, My God, to Thee is a beloved old hymn with lyrics by Sarah Fuller Adams (1805-1848), an English poet. The text has grown to be quite meaningful to Christians over the generations. The tune, Bethany, by Lowell Mason (1792-1872), is beloved even beyond Christendom. Traditionally, it is believed that this was the last tune played by the ship's band aboard the Titanic. Some sources attest that this honor goes to, Abide with me, instead. Regardless, both the text and tune are quite well known, and they will serve as a meaningful guide to our prayers this Sunday in a new setting by Georgiann H. Toole (b. 1958). As part of our music series on living composers, please find Toole's biography printed below from St. James Music Press.
"Georgiann Hinchcliffe Toole is a West Virginia native who currently resides in Sharpsburg, Maryland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Shepherd College (Shepherdstown, WV), a Master of Music in Conducting from the Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, VA), and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has taught choral and general music in public and private schools, and music education courses at Shepherd, Shenandoah, and UNCG.
A strong proponent of the value of musical performance activities for people of all ages and ability levels, she has served as singer or conductor for many church music programs and community and professional theater groups. She has served as clinician, adjudicator, conductor, and/or composer for county and regional honors choruses in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Currently, Dr. Toole is on the education faculty at Shepherd University, and is the founder and artistic director of the Antietam Women’s Ensemble."